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Self Learning

Developing skills for effective learning

Part I – The organized, creative problem solver

This article is the first of a two-part series that will help students develop the skills he or she needs in life.

Two broad types of skills will help students get the most out of life: ‘individual’ skills, and ‘social’ skills. Individual skills will help students do things better and more efficiently, irrespective of social contact or interaction, while social skills will help him or her be more effective in situations that require interaction with other people. This article focuses on ways students can develop three major ‘individual’ skills: organization, creativity and problem-solving.

Being organized

Learning to be organized is something every student needs to do as our education system becomes more and more competitive and demanding. Here are a few ways students can get organized:

– Using checklists and a calendar to keep track of school-related activities and household  tasks. Students can ask for support from parents and teachers for doing this on a regular basis till they learn how to do this independently

– Teachers and parents can explain how being organized can get homework done faster and better, and how it can improve performance at school. They can also turn being organized into a game by having competitions, or by giving students small rewards

Nurturing the inner creative genius

Creativity is not so much about artistic or musical ability, but more about having an active imagination and visualizing uncommon alternatives to everyday things. A student’s creativity can be fostered in these ways:

– Allowing students to explore without too many restrictions, and be tolerant of mistakes, messes and noise

– Accepting unusual ideas and encourage students to think of – and take responsibility for – new ways of solving problems

– Avoiding criticism, comparison, time restrictions and excessive observation. These hamper the creative process.

– Inspiring students by exposing him or her to diverse ideas and experiences that can act as kick-starters to creativity

Finding solutions

We are all faced with challenges at every stage of life, and the earlier students learn to find creative solutions to life’s challenges, the more confident they will be. These are some ways in which students can learn to solve problems:

– Breaking down everyday problems into smaller, more manageable parts to make the actual problem easier to identify. For example, Make problems easier to deal with using the following steps: Identify the problem; Think of solutions; Choose a solution; Try the solution; Decide if it worked

– Parents and teachers can encourage creative problem-solving by involving students often when they need to solve simple problems. They can also create problem-solving opportunities at home that are fun for students!


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