Toddlers Unlimited

Manila's Premiere Preschool & Toddler Center

Learning Smarter

on October 22, 2012

On September 14, 2012 Teachers Michelle, Joy and I attended a Beacon Talk by Mr. John Joseph entitled, Learning Smarter: Lessons in Teaching and Learning.

I just have to say, it was such an enlightening talk. Even though the topic was not specifically geared to preschoolers, there were so many things I picked up. Personally, if I come out of a seminar or lecture excited to share what I learned – that means it was a good one. And this was definitely one of those good ones…wait, let me re-phrase…GREAT ONES.

Believe me, I was passionately talking about some key points with anyone who would give me 15 minutes of their time (yup, my husband and mom).

Mr. Joseph was an engaging speaker – he gave concrete examples, used humor and visuals to keep the audience glued. But more importantly, his message was backed by studies, research and actual people.

While there was a lot of information to sift through, these are some of the things that I remember the most:

1. Brains need to be challenged to continue to grow. He cited an important study that showed how stimulated brains continued to develop dendrites.

To me: this meant that no matter what teachers think of their students (smart, slow, average, etc) they need to continue to challenge them.

2. We need to sleep well to be able to absorb or properly use the information we are taught.

I saw this as a very important message to my high-school and college level nieces. Who work so hard studying and sometimes give up much needed hours of sleep.

3. Teachers need to sit students down and make life plans with them. But before doing that, they must realize and learn about the different types of learners there are (based on skills and attitudes).

Not everyone is born to learn and love studying the same way. Recognizing which type of learners different students are can help teachers when they meet to work on their plans. One important way to get children interested in their schoolwork is for them to realize the importance of it in their own personal lives. By working on a life plan with each child, they get to see which subjects they’ll need to pay more attention to, why school is important, and what the impact of developing a good work ethic will mean in the future.

4. How video games affect sleep.

He showed us videos of a student who they studied and how his sleep patterns changed when he grew older and started playing video games. From the talk, I learned how playing these games fire up our brains and keep them on play mode even though we are asleep. We never get to that deep sleep state and hence end up tired – which is of course not a good state for a student. The change that his study did in one school was inspiring the students to make their own decision and choose to play video games only on weekends so that they could rest and do better in school.

5. In the end I came away with the thought that all children can be smart – they just need the stimulation and motivation. And also, that SMART did not always have to equate to straight A’s.

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