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  • Writer's pictureThings Education

Accessing an untapped mind...

…is important and not straightforward.

Hello! Welcome to the 21st edition of Things in Education, the fortnightly newsletter through which we hope to share the latest in education research and developments in the form of accessible summaries and stories to help you in the classroom and at home.

We started our Foundational Learning series a month ago, and we hope that you’ve found it useful. The first edition in the series suggested reasons why handwriting is not as redundant as it may seem in the present times. And the second edition was a deep dive into what actually constitutes writing at the Kindergarten level.

In today’s edition we highlight points to understand to ensure student learning happens and the student is motivated to learn. We have written about these earlier in our newsletter.

How do we ensure that students learn?

“Learning is a whole-brain issue.” This means that efficient learning requires different regions of the brain to work together. We all know how difficult it is to get students to stay engaged or sometimes even pay attention to what we are teaching – so how can we get them to not only do that but also use different regions of their brain at the same time?

In the 10th edition of our newsletter, we explain the 5 components of the MARGE approach – a whole-brain approach to making student learning more efficient.

The MARGE approach can be used in early and foundational learning settings as well. In fact, it is all the more important to use a whole-brain approach with this age group as 1) little children’s attention span (working memory capacity) is quite small and 2) the period of age 2 to 7 is known as a critical period for brain development (connections in long-term memory). For example, while teaching a new letter of the alphabet – motivate them by asking where letters and words are used; help them connect the letter to their ability to write stories or cards to their friends; relate the letter to common signs or story names they are familiar with; have them write the letter independently and read decodable texts with the letter; and evaluate their ability to say, read and write the letter regularly.

You can read the detailed post at this link: How we remember things… and how we learn.

“Compliments again for coming out with another brilliant analysis, this time on how to remember things. A must for teachers of students of the new generation and an informative guide for parents.” – Dr. Jayant Sastry

At the same time, we may notice that some students, in spite of active learning experiences and whole-brain approaches, seem to struggle. Often, we label struggling students as unmotivated, as no amount of encouragement and support seems to help.

In the 14th edition of our newsletter, we explain why motivation is not as straightforward as that. We must identify the root of the issue by understanding what students attribute their successes and struggles to, and whether they consider these factors to be stable or unstable.

Students develop these notions about their abilities and luck at a very early age. In the foundational years, it is important to help students develop a growth mindset – to help them understand that their abilities and talents (internal factors) can be developed (as they are unstable) through effort, experience and help. We must show little children that struggles and even failures are learning experiences and not permanent symbols of ability. This approach will set the foundation for a lifelong love for learning!

It is not enough for schools to ensure learning at a surface level – learning must go deeper, enabling students to think critically. In fact, education boards all over the world have made the teaching of critical thinking skills compulsory in school. Yet, there is no set definition of critical thinking, and no set process to teach it either.

In the 8th edition of our newsletter, we explain that with some understanding of how the mind likes to think and what thinking critically really requires, we can begin to build these skills in ourselves and in our students.

Critical thinking is not a skill that only older students and adults can apply. Little children show an immense ability to think critically, and it is important to nurture these skills by keeping in mind the two essentials of critical thinking. For example, while talking about stories, it isn’t enough to just ask them what the name of the story is. Go down to the deep structure by asking them where the name of the story is always found, how the name relates to what happens in the story, and if they can come up with a more fitting name. Build their background knowledge by telling them about who an author is, how authors think when they write the story, and by exposing them to a lot of different genres of stories.

You can read the detailed post at this link: Why is critical thinking so hard? …and how we can teach it.

“This is such a well written and thought-provoking article... I really enjoyed reading it.”– Anustup Nayak


We have a course on Online course on Early Writing and Phonics coming up.

This 12-hour course is ideal for preschool teachers, content creators and parents of toddlers. It will cover 4 main topics: building fine motor and pre-writing skills, building phonemic awareness, building phonics and handwriting skills, and building reading and writing fluency.

The course is structured around a systematic approach to reading and writing and will help participants understand how pre-reading, pre-writing, reading and writing skills develop in children between the ages of 2.5 and 6. Participants will create a progression of skills as well as come up with activities to build the various skills in children. Each participant will receive course notes and an e-certificate on successful completion of the course.

Sign up for the course!


The Early Writing Programme by Things Education

Our Early Writing Programme takes into consideration all the relevant research around handwriting and how children learn this skill, to make them fluent and confident readers and writers. Here are its key features:

  • Created for Pre-K, Lower KG and Upper KG

  • Provides fine motor activities for all classes

  • Recommends the right writing instruments for different stages

  • Includes practice of the right writing grips

  • Includes ample multi-sensory pre-writing activities for Pre-K

  • Aligned with systematic phonics instruction for LKG and UKG

  • Complemented by weekly Holistic Progress Cards for progress tracking

  • Comes with teacher support

Reply to this email or call us at +91 9898469961 to find out how you can implement this programme in your school.


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Edition: 1.21

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