Thursday, March 21, 2019

How To Help Your Child Understand Their Developing Brain

(The following blog post, written by Marcus and me, appears on the Parent Toolkit website, produced by NBC News Learn and supported by Pearson)

Did you know learning actually changes your child’s brain as it’s developing? What if they understood this concept? Helping kids understand their brains can contribute to the development of a “growth mindset,” which enables kids to overcome obstacles and believe they can improve. That mindset leads to higher levels of motivation and academic achievement—and it starts with metacognition.

Metacognition is thinking about thinking. When kids learn metacognitive skills, they can benefit academically. In fact, research suggests that metacognition is a crucial characteristic for high academic achievers. The Education Endowment Foundation reports that students can gain almost a full school year of progress—about an average of seven months of additional progress—compared with those not taught this skillset.

Beyond academics, research has shown that this vital skill is an essential key to high performance across careers. While metacognition has great potential for increasing student learning, there is little evidence that it is explicitly taught in most schools.

In their first 18 years of life, kids spend only 13 percent of their waking hours in school. Using a portion of the remaining 87 percent, parents have an opportunity to support the development of growth mindsets and metacognition.

Parents who encourage kids to use metacognition at home help their kids think more about their own learning. We like to use the metaphor “learn to drive your brain.” Parents can support kids to drive their brains with these five strategies and questions.

Read the rest of the blog post at the Parent Toolkit link.

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