The Secret to Teaching Children How to Think


One of the biggest difficulties for teachers is encouraging children to think. It is one thing to have children in a class doing lessons and appearing to complete the lessons satisfactorily by writing in the answers taught as fact. This method of regurgitation is not thinking.
One of the saddest things today that is missing in schools is learning some of the basics by rote. For instance, basic arithmetic and English needs to be learned by rote so children can be given some intellectual tools with which to think. This may seem boring, but every child gets a kick out of knowing that they can recite their times tables. Every child also gets a thrill from being able to pronounce the words they can see on the page of a book, because they have learnt the key syllables of the language.

New teaching methods introduced in the sixties tried to do away with the idea that it was necessary to learn the basics by rote. Yet at the same time it was expected that students learn to memorize. The students that succeeded within the education system were mostly taught these key concepts at home and consequently schooling was easy for them. Those who didn't learn the basics outside of school had no hope of learning them in school, and thus they fell behind those who did have the good fortune of getting the additional home tuition.

The idea was that people didn't need to learn syllables to understand the meaning of words. While it is true a person does not need to learn syllables to understand the meaning of a word, what has become evident is spelling standards have dropped as a result of not learning syllables. Learning syllables enables children to have more confidence pronouncing words and more confidence in reading and using more learned words.

Marva Collins is a renown educationalist who has taught the unteachable to become excellent students; showing students how to progress five grades in a year. She believes that a teacher needs to read the material that is being taught to the students and every new word should be discussed and taught for pronunciation, usage and spelling before the students actually read the lesson for themselves. Her approach is basically common sense.

Marva Collins is often quoted: "I have discovered few learning disabled students in my three decades of teaching. I have, however, discovered many, many victims of teaching inabilities."

One of the things that impressed me when I first read of Marva Collins, back in Ronald Regan's Presidency, was that she encouraged the more advanced students to teach what they have learnt to those who have yet to learn the lesson.

When someone, who has learnt something, has to teach what they have learnt to another, the need to understand what was taught suddenly becomes greater, because the student is now the teacher. This reinforces the learning experience and provides a form of self-discipline for the student, who is now the teacher.

If all teachers took the Marva Collins approach to teaching, every child would hardly need to be encouraged to think. It would just be like a lightning bolt starting a forest fire.

Understanding the learning process is not that difficult. Even adults can be transformed by the renewal of their own minds, to once more have a refreshed outlook to life and be shown how they can overcome many of the perceived difficulties that plague them; even those that prevent them from obtaining the treasures life has for them..

About the Author:
Happy Riches

Happy Riches knows how to show you how. Happy Riches also runs an educational membership club which has a focus on people becoming healthy, wealthy and wise. Happy Riches can be found at