Children Learn by Practicing

Children Learn by Practicing

That comes as no surprise to most parents.  But trends in education in the last 15 years, especially in math, demonstrate that this statement is nothing short of astonishing.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Over thousands of years, humans have evolved to naturally understand things like facial expressions and social interactions. But a University of Missouri researcher has found there is an ever-widening gap between what humans can naturally learn and what they need to learn to be successful adults in today’s modern society. Schools have traditionally helped bridge the gap between evolution and new knowledge, but in the U.S. more may need to be done.

“Schools need to push children to learn things that they do not do naturally, which is more important as our knowledge of the world continues to expand,” said David Geary, Curators’ Professor of Psychological Sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science. “Learning is not always going to be fun and children should not expect it to be. Attempting to engage children by making activities fun, causes those activities to become more similar to what students are already doing naturally and can limit new learning.”

Geary found that one reason U.S. students may be behind students in other countries in subjects like science and math is because American schools have moved away from traditional practices where students learn information through repetition. Instead, U.S. schools often use more group and social interactions to teach topics that can be challenging.

Dr Geary in part of a 10 year program of study on Mathematics and Science Cognition and Learning, Development, and Disorders through the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.  According to his biography, The objectives of this program are to explore the critical genetic, neurobioligical, cognitive, linguistic, socio- cultural, and instructional factors that influence normal and atypical development in math and science.”  The study is in it’s sixth year identifying the mechanisms that contribute to mathematical learning through algebra and the mechanisms that underlie learning disabilities in mathematics.  

I guess drill and kill wasn’t so bad, after all …..

You can read the full article here (H/T to NYHOLD).

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