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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Get Back to Basics to Teach Basic Skills

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To teach or reinforce basics, get back to basics! In this day of ever increasing technology, it is still beneficial to give it all up for at least a few minutes and get back to basics.

I'm sure you have observed that in schools these days, as in other parts of the world, technology is king. Our kids are constantly bombarded with ever more technology to complete simple tasks that we somehow accomplished without technology. There are computer and hand held video games and systems and even television programs dedicated to teaching and reinforcing math, english, social studies and science facts. Not that I am against any of these, I'm NOT! But there is a time for everything. And if the use of these advanced technologies has not helped your child learn or improve basic skills, then it should not be more of the same.

If technology has yet to yield the results you crave, do something different! Consider going back to the basics. Turn off the television, computer, and video games. Sit your child down in a quiet area with (dare I say it?) paper and pencil, and maybe a textbook (what is that?) and have him say and write the particular basic fact that you want him to learn. Have him do this 10 times, alternating sitting and standing while speaking (and writing, if he is able). After 10 times on a particular fact, say the Pythagorean Theorem, then and only then should he do the same with another fact. Limit his practice of this type to 4 different facts per day.

Tell him that you (or your designee) will quiz him either orally or in writing on his knowledge when he is finished. Quiz him and reward him for his successes with verbal praise. If he doesn't do so well, praise him for the effort, and work on the same facts the next day. Even if he does well and you move on to another set of 4 facts the next day, quiz him on the previous days' facts. You and your child can come up with a reward, if you so choose, after he receives a satisfactory "grade" on a quiz after at least 6 days of such quizzing. Since he is working daily and receiving daily feedback, his confidence is improving even if he is still not performing as well as you would like. As his confidence continues to improve, so will his performance, and with more work, he will work to achieve his potential.

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