How do we learn? Part II

Sebastian Kotur

December 13, 2013

Ok, so now you know how to analyse the stage of learning that your child is at when they are learning a new skills (If not see How do we learn? – Part I for a description of the 4 stages).

We will now look at ways to use this theory, and put it into practice.

Below is an example of how a child can learn to read (remember to read from the bottom up as you move through the hierarchy!)

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We can highlight this further with another example of what to do if learning a new science concept:

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Key take home message:




  • Little and often – better to do 10 minutes a day that 1 hour once a week

  • PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE – we only learn what we SHOULD be doing if we are told.


Jargon buster


Constructive Feedback: even if it sounds disastrous, find the things they did well and praise them! Then sandwich the thing they could do better in between what they are doing well - we call it sandwich feedback

Explicit teaching: sit down and teach them the skill

Modeling: perform the skill for the child, not just in the teaching context but all the time!

Multi-sensory learning: encourage them to use as many of the 5 senses as possible. think some of the most strongest memories we have are associated with a sound, smell or touch.

Praise: praise should be specific! Rather than “well done” – “well done for X” or “ you did X so well!”. It should also be constant.

Think aloud strategy: While you are doing the skill (either while teaching or in different contexts) think aloud so as to model the steps and thinking skills required.

Hope you’ve enjoyed these posts on how we learn. Have a look around at other educational blogs that we’ll be publishing