Effective Learning Strategy

Much of our discussion thus far has focused on knowledge of and beliefs about thinking and learning. But metacognition also involves controlling thinking and learning to some degree. Thanks, in part, to maturational changes in the brain, children and adolescents gradually become more capable of controlling and directing their cognitive processes in their efforts to learn something new (Eigsti et al., 2006; Kuhn & Franklin, 2006). When learners intentionally use a certain approach to learning and remembering something, they are using a learning strategy.

a long established fact that a child will be distracted

We identified several long-term memory storage processes: rehearsal, meaningful learning, organization, elaboration, and visual imagery. As children grow older, they increasingly discover the benefits of these processes and use them more frequently (see Table 6.3). Children gradually acquire additional strategies as well. For example, consider the simple idea that when you don’t learn something the first time you try, you need to study it again. This is a strategy that 8-year-olds use but 6-year-olds do not (Masur, McIntyre, & Flavell, 1973). With age and experience, children also become more aware of which strategies are effective in different situations (Lovett & Flavell, 1990; Schneider & Lockl, 2002; Short et al., 1993).

The importance of reading

One of the keys to passing the verbal reasoning and English sections of the 11+ is having a good vocabulary. Many of the questions will ask the student to explain a word in the context given, solve anagrams or give an antonym or synonym to a word. If a student does not possess a sound vocabulary, they will struggle with these.

I wish there was a quick fix for expanding a child's vocabulary; it would make my lessons so much easier! However, by far the best way to improve is by extensive reading. Whether fiction or non-fiction, books, magazines or newspapers, it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that through frequent reading a child will absorb new words and expressions and see how they are used in everyday English. It is also a good idea for a child to keep a vocabulary journal where they note down any new words they have encountered and their meaning.