Help! My Child Can’t Study?!

Presentation Lee McKing and child studying

Especially with examinations such as the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) or even the Ordinary Level (O Levels) round the corner

Today I want to share some stuff about studying, children, and exams

And hopefully I manage to cover everything today, otherwise, look out for a Part 2

Now first of all, yes, exams are really just round the corner (at the time of this posting), but it doesn’t mean this is only for them

I will be sharing about learning in general, so it’s good all year round

Though honestly, between you and me, if you are looking for a last minute quick fix, you got some stuff going on

And it will probably be fastest to have a chat with me here to see how I can help you

Anyway, here’s the main thing about learning

We all learn differently!

Well, yea some learn faster and some learn slower, but I mean something else

You see, we have the 5 senses and we learn through these 5 senses as well

While sight and hearing might be more obvious, we use the sense of smell and taste to learn about cooking

We definitely got to know if it tastes good!

So how does this affect learning for exams?

It’s something called VAK learning styles

We essentially break up into these 3 main learning styles; Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic

Visual learners learn by seeing, reading, imagining

They will watch you do the activity, or the task, and replicate what they saw

In a way, these visual learners are among the fastest learners because what they see or read, they capture the information in their mind

When an older student is studying, you might see lots of notes, highlighted, mindmaps and stuff which aid the visual learner

By the way, I’m just giving a brief overview of these learning styles, so you can Google if you want to know more 🙂

The really cool thing about learning styles, is that its essentially how we process information around us, or the world

So one characteristic of a visual learner is that they prefer to see or watch, prefer little to no touch, and they tend to keep a distance when they are talking to someone especially when the 2 persons are standing while conversing

Here’s an interesting fact about Singapore’s education system

Lee McKing nature thinking

It has been a mostly visual based learning system for the longest time

Hence, the visual learners learn fastest in a visual based learning environment, and thus can put into the express stream

While auditory and kinaesthetic learners learn slower in such an environment and thus can put into the academic or normal stream

Thankfully, the education system is now evolving to include these 2 learning styles

So the above info is really just something in the past

Now why are the auditory learners and kinaesthetic learners the slower learners in a visual based learning environment?

The obvious point is that they don’t match up

Let me explain the other two in more detail, and perhaps you will get the picture a little later on

And if anything doesn’t sit right with you, you can drop me a question too

Auditory learners learn by listening to instructions or explanations, sometimes they may even speak to themselves

They require someone (or themselves) to give the step by step method to answer a mathematics question

They learn best through listening to stories, music, explanations, podcasts etc

A younger student might require someone to chat throughout the homework or studying process, whether it’s beside them or across the room

They might also listen to music, which an older student might do

There are an exceptional few who cannot have auditory distractions when studying though

One characteristic of an auditory learner is that they might move their head nearer to you when you speak, and you will find them closing the distance quite a bit

The kinaesthetic learner learns through hands on activity, touch and sensations

Unfortunately, regardless of how much they see an example or hear the instructions, they learn best by repeatedly doing similar problems or questions

A younger student might be more in touch with his or her feelings and things can be emotional at times

They may also require a parent to sit with them while they do their work, occasionally, touching the parent’s arm or so

One characteristic of kinaesthetic learners is that you may find them gesturing a lot, and even touch your arm or hand once a while during conversation

They will be much closer in terms of personal space too

Ok so now what?

children playing

Well, different kids will have different learning preferences

They learn better through one way but learn less effectively through another way

Which means if your child is an auditory learner, don’t expect your child to read and learn on the spot ; they need to hear your explanation

Or if your child is a visual learner, don’t expect your child to understand what you are saying, they need to read it

And so on

That’s the other thing

You see, you have your own preferred learning style too

By the way, we have all 3, it’s just that we prefer one main learning style over the others

So if you know the main, just go with what works best right?

Anyway, you have your own preferred learning style too

What does this mean?

Well, if you find yourself having huge difficulties teaching your children

That’s because both your learning styles are different

As mentioned earlier, if your child is an auditory learner, don’t expect him or her to understand and do immediately without any verbal guidance

And if you are a visual learner, imagine you expecting your child to read and learn on the spot when he or she requires the verbal instructions, and you can see how this miscommunication will hinder his or her learning

And also give you a really bad headache

Making you stressed, vexed, and frustrated

That’s the first key point

Presentation client chat

Understand everyone has different learning styles and find out what your child’s learning style is

Now let’s say you already figured it out

And yet your child still cannot study well?!

Ok, I’m going to assume by now that you will have known whether your child has any special needs or not

Cause if you are not sure, you might want to read up on several special needs and see if it fits

Some special needs that could affect learning are as follows

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder or ADHD for short has 3 sub types, inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsive

The inattention sub type can get distracted easily, they cannot focus well and thus hinder learning and studying

The hyperactive sub type is interesting, as while they may fidget and move, if they only have this sub type, there is a possibility they still can learn, sometimes even better than the others

The impulsive sub type needs to do what he wants, what he feels like doing, generally speaking, which may hinder learning too

They can be by themselves or have 2 or even 3 of the sub types

Dyslexia or Dyscalculia is a learning condition

Dyslexia affects words or text while Dyscalculia affects numbers (yes got such thing)

Naturally, either of this or both will affect learning for most subjects

Another one is autism but I won’t share about that in this article cause there are certain good and bad points depending on where you are on the spectrum

Also cause the article is getting a bit long hahahah

Now if your child has such needs, then you need to cater to them

And because each child is so unique, you need to check with your allied educator or therapist what else can be done to aid learning

This is of course, if there are such needs present

Ok, so what else can be an issue if you’ve realigned the learning styles, and there are no special needs or learning disabilities?

Well, your child might have other issues

physical wounds

For example, exam anxiety, which I covered here so I won’t go into too much here

Essentially it’s a form of anxiety that affects people or children when it comes to exams, meeting expectations or performing

Other issues can be regarding school, like bullying, fighting etc

Which naturally relate to a fear of going to school, and wanting to avoid school

And there could be other annoyances such as the below case

I once had a client bring her 5 year old son and she said he cannot focus well

I did a check and found out he could hear a constant sharp sound which interfered with his concentration

I told the mum that’s the real issue bothering him, and that he should see a ear specialist

Now you may have realized that what I shared today is helpful in the long run

So what if your exams or your child’s exams are less than 2 to 3 months away and you still don’t know what’s preventing your child from learning properly?

If it’s exam anxiety, or other emotional issues that are bothering your child, sure I might be able to help

Just contact me here and we’ll arrange a chat to figure things out

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