Words By John Burchell – Naturopath @ The Medical Sanctuary
Is intelligence, or the ability to grasp concepts easily during our journey of being educated a matter of ‘luck or the draw’, or is it something that we can influence through various means? Following are some of the basic principals of learning. These are essential in understanding how to access our children’s innate learning capacity.
- Repetition. Remember the class room prior to the 90 s? Half an hour of repeating the multiplication tables. Every day, from 9.00 to 9.30. Do, do and do again. A tried and true principal, however in certain nutritional deficiencies and behavioral disorders, the ability to maintain focus and mediate boredom will compromise this principal.
Effect is a term applied to the emotional relationship that a child has with a subject. Using a puppy as part of a demonstration or the image of a rocket blasting off into space will give strong emotional connection to the subject being learned. For children who have suffered emotional traumas or have emotion processing disorders, this principal may be compromised. This can be overcome by giving a subject meaning, something that the child can relate to.
First impression is the principal of the first thing seen or learned about a subject sets the precedent. This is especially relevant for many of the spectrum disorders where the first impression can be intractable and can make learning beyond or contrary to that point challenging. The experience of ‘what is’ can be a great tool to apply here. As an exercise, if a child has it in there head that something is a certain way, (when in fact it isn’t, try giving a practical demonstration of ‘what is’ through cause and affect. Gut and central nervous system health problems often underlay such conditions.
- Priority. The most recent prominent impression will often dominate in the process of learning. If you ask a child what they learned today, you may have a very big insight into how they learn by their answer!
Intensity, some children learn through intensity, through the information being engaging and exciting and factual, others learn through passive application, in other words the need to sit quietly with something, feel it out and find their own connection with it. Discipline runs along the same lines!!
Freedom to learn, or in other words, learning what you have interest in or a passion for is perhaps the greatest principal to embrace. Incorporating points of interest into other subjects increases the learning experience. So to the opposite can be demonstrated in pressuring or coercing a child to a certain subject can result in a very low retention.
Requirement is a great tool. This is where something must be learned to achieve something else or to progress to something greater. The student can perceive an actual purpose to the process of learning. A good example would be obtaining a drivers license. It is a requirement for the student to learn the basic functions of a car, the road rules, learn to drive and then pass the requirements to obtain a license.
Lifestyles, relationships, emotional status, nutrition, music, arts, play time etc all have the potential to aid learning. Understanding the emotional, neurological and nutritional aspects in relation to the principals of learning is essential in aiding the treatment of children with learning disabilities. These tools apply just as well to those wanting to increase their learning experience.
It is possible to access learning capacity in all children. Nutritional influence is perhaps one of the most accessible means to improving your child’s ability. Incorporating other specific therapies through the guidance of a practitioner experienced in the field may have phenomenal results!