Saturday, September 22, 2012

Learning is not just about English and Math score

This American Life had an episode 474: Back to School.  It talked about how non-cognitive skills are crucial to achieving life-long success.  English, Math and Science scores don't measure a child's capability to learn and succeed.  It also has just as much to do with resilience, soft skills, and self-control.  A student with repeated traumatic childhood experience is more likely to have trouble building these non-cognitive skills, and also shows stunted brain development.

One interesting point made in the Act Two of the show was that there are ways to counteract the harmful effects of childhood abuses.  Parents and adults around the student can work with him to instill a belief that cognitive capability can be improved and there is indeed a hope.  Parents can also provide extra support by connecting with him in a meaningful relationship.  Listening to him and encouraging him can make all the differences in his capability to learn and develop invaluable non-cognitive skills.

I believe that all children are born with capabilities to learn.  It's just that we as society too often fail to inspire our children to strive to be the very best in what they are passionate about.  Unwittingly we rank them by standardized test scores, dismiss their aptitude to learn, categorize and label them as failure without giving them a hope and chance to get better.  It is entirely parents, teachers and today's system's fault for not fostering children's curiosity.

Any child can learn.  Given the right teaching methods and proper encouragements, I believe any child can succeed at what she puts her mind to.

Let's use every opportunity to give them hope.

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