Generalize Learning Skills

The brain is an amazing thing. It will figure out extremely efficient ways to get things done. Without our input.


Generally, this is a good thing. It's why us humans can do so many varied things. 


Unfortunately, this efficiency of the mind can backfire on us. And when it comes to educational therapy systems this often happens for one simple reason. Lack of variety.


You've probably already read about the learning micro-skills. A common assumption is that if there is a problem you should diagnose the exact micro-skill that is at issue and work only on that one skill. This simply is not true. It is a recipe for failure. Yet, despite this, many programs try to sell "The One Solution". There is no ONE thing you should do to help your child. The answer actually consists of several steps. you have to handle each aspect of the problem and you need to do it in a strategic way. Don't take this to mean it's difficult. It's not. The process is actually quite easy. Just varied.


Here's why


When we think, we use all the learning micro-skills in combination. For each individual, this combination is a little different. Some people like to categorize students into different types of learners. Kinesthetic, auditory, and visual. This is somewhat true but doing so can lead to problems. The reality is that each of us uses all three categories. We just may be dominant in one.


Because we are usually dominant in one type of learning we may "forget" that we can also use the others. And the reality is that our intelligence emerges from the combination. If we only use one category of micro-skill we will be severely limited.


For example


Think about the task of memorizing a string of letters and numbers. Some of the letters are capitalized. Like this


To memorize this using auditory memory would be difficult. The capital letters add a lot more information if processed auditorily. If you have a photographic memory you could do it that way but it's actually inneficient when doing a task such as transcribing. this is because the mind has to reference back and forth from the visualization to the task.


A better method for remembering would be to combine visual memory and auditory memory. You can store the extra information of the capitals visually and sequence auditorily. The fact is you probably already do this. It's just at a subconscious level so you don't realize the skill is there.


It is this combining of skills that make our brains human and not computers. We operate in a different way than a machine and that gives us the ability to learn and do amazing things.


Unfortunately, it is very common to try to silo these skills. And that doesn't work. Many popular programs enlist the student in memory tasks such as memorizing a string of numbers. This makes the student better at memorizing more numbers but does not raise intelligence. Despite this, some of these products bring in billions in revenue, yet probably don't help at all.


So said another way. If you practice a lot of crossword puzzles you'll get really good at crossword puzzles. You probably won't get more intelligent though.


There is a better way. It involves variety. 


If you practice all of these micro-skills with massive variety then the outcome is much better. The variety forces the brain to generalize the skills. Remember, the brain is efficient. If you tell it to get good at something by practicing that thing, it will. It just won't generalize the skill. So the skill won't be useful in other learning tasks.


If you use variety, mixing in exercises that use the auditory skills, the kinesthetic skills, and the visual skills in lots of different combinations then you get all these skills working together. Those skills in combination are what make up intelligence.


A lack of variety is the downfall of many systems. That's why we strived so hard to build so many unique exercises. You need the variety to build the skills in the right way.


So remember, when working to build up all of those micro-skills add as much variety as you can. Or you can just use the program used by thousands of parents. It's all put together for you and very simple to use. 

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