Learning principles are the most talked about in psychology, as they are proven to be reliable and result oriented with children. They give more insight into what makes children learn more effectively. If we go back the memory lane, what were the techniques our parents used to teach us or behave in a manner? Some must have rewarded us for good work, some would have given us punishments for an ill behavior. I feel I learnt better with rewards and appreciations, getting my favorite dress in return of good marks, I also learnt new behaviors and gestures from observing my elders. Learning principles are all about these things but as parents you will need to understand and recognize the most effective technique which helps your child learn. But how do you do that? Let’s take a look what research says.
Your child or infant can be conditioned to learn a new behavior. John B. Watson did an experiment called “LITTLE ALBERT’’ where every time the child touched a rat Watson banged a hammer on a metal bar, this made the child associate the touching of a rat to the loud sound the bang created. Eventually Albert was conditioned to not touch other furry items. Similarly John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner believed that all learning was the result of reinforcement, and thus that reinforcement could be used to educate children. Positive reinforcements are child’s best friends, they will do anything to get praised, or their favorite ice cream, or toy, or an extra 30 mins of play time. Learning to read can sometimes be a daunting experience, and they can easily lose confidence if they feel overwhelmed or are confronted with difficult words or phrases. Therefore it’s essential that you continually make an effort to praise your child for all their early attempts at reading.
Learning can become easier with these three principles repeated practice at retrieving information, spacing learning sessions, and receiving immediate feedback. Children learn fast and error less when teaching is made error less, so give little information to your child for few minutes to learn for example: if the child has 20 words in a list to learn break it into four parts as the child retrieves information correctly the first time give him positive reinforcement, then space the next learning session where in child can be given rest for few minutes before he starts to learn the new set of words. The list of words should be asked frequently after that for mastering of the list. You simply space out your practice sessions over time, and make sure that your sessions involve remembering what you learned before. The act of retrieving previously learned material when spaced out in this way powerfully impacts test performance. Immediate feedback is a must as a technique for better learning by parents.
Another very powerful way of learning is to learn (or teach) something new is to show how it is analogous to something you (or your learners) already know. Picturise the learning material for better retrieval. Children are also receptive adapters, what you show them they will learn, the behavior the parents showcase they will imbibe the same. Modeling and imitation are the primary sources of learning for the child. If you want your child to be disciplined in his routine the parents need be their role models for a disciplined life.
Children can be given scaffolding during learning, a process in which teachers or parents model or demonstrate the problem-solving process, then step back and offer support as needed. According to Jerome Bruner’s theory when students are given the support they need early on when they're learning something new, they stand a better chance of using that material independently.
Provide your child the opportunity to engage in authentic tasks which require more visuals, planning, decision making, and problem solving activities as they learn the best by exploring new ways.