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The Healthy Learning Pyramid

Monday, Mar. 11th 2013 1:00 AM

For many years, most of us have struggled to understand why many people especially some of our own children, simply don’t ‘get’ or haven’t ‘gotten’ school. Despite our obvious intelligence and willingness to learn, school-based learning, for many, remains difficult at worst and hard work at best.

Many of us don’t have any discernable learning challenges and often neither do our children, yet we continue to struggle with remembering much of what we need to learn.

Our children enter school as enthusiastic, capable learners and somewhere around middle primary; many of them hit the learning ‘wall’. They start not to get things! They begin to get frustrated. Maybe it’s Spelling that starts to challenge them. Perhaps, they start to get exacerbated by the Times Tables. Maybe even remembering how to do subtraction or division becomes their learning nemesis.

Children want to learn. It’s what they are hard-wired to do. Between the ages of 0-4, children learn the most amazing things, almost without effort. They can walk, run, talk, sing, skip, make things, pretend, imagine, create and relate to their world with enthusiasm and ease. So, what happens to many of them soon after they start school? Why does learning and more importantly, remembering what they learn, prove so challenging for so many? We all want to truly embody and understand the learning that we undertake, yet something, somehow, seems to either inhibit our understandings, or make it just plain hard work to remember things.

For many of us, The Healthy Learning Pyramid, might be the answer. We have a Healthy Eating Pyramid, so why not a Healthy Learning Pyramid.  This is a simple tool that is a structure guide that helps us make better choices when it comes to how we, and our children, best learn. Researchers have made some startling discoveries in recent times, especially around how we humans best learn. More importantly, how we remember more of what we try (and need) to learn.

Simply, The Healthy Learning Pyramid states that we only retain around 10% of what we READ (reading), 20% of what we HEAR (hearing words), 30% of what we SEE (looking at pictures), 50% of what we HEAR AND SEE (eg. watching a movie), 70% of what we SAY (giving a talk) and a whopping 90% of what we SAY AND DO (giving a dramatic presentation). What this means is that, if we really wish to embody our learning, we need to TEACH someone what we are trying to learn! We can do a dramatic presentation, we can simulate the real experience or we can actually do the real thing.

So, the next time your child is brushing up for a test, in say, long division, ensure they have the correct understandings of the concept. Get them to practice at least five examples and then take the time and GET THEM TO TEACH IT TO YOU!

Now, which part of the Healthy Learning Pyramid are you going to choose? Bon (learning) Appetite!!