Help Kids Learn by Making Them Pretend They Are Participating in a YouTube Show

If it is difficult for a child to assimilate school material, it is difficult to know how to help him. Parents try to give advice by saying, “Make flashcards,” “Listen to classical music,” or “Ask Google.” However, their role changes may have the greatest impact.

Nate Cornell, an associate professor at Williams College who studies how learning works, writes in Psychology Today that his own 13-year-old daughter, Juliet, has been able to learn more effectively with one phrase: “Prepare to teach.” When she tries to understand something new, he asks her to review the material as if she were the instructor preparing the lesson. This technique is not new – the Feynman technique , invented by Nobel laureate physicist Richard Feynman, is well known for its basic philosophy: “If you want to understand something well, try to explain it simply.” This is how we did our group study in college, taking turns standing in front of a whiteboard and trying to describe Explicit Destiny or cellular respiration in plain English. What makes this phrase workable is that we all naturally know the steps to take to teach others, and this helps us narrow down the most important points in what may seem like a huge amount of information.

“If I said to Juliet:“ Focus on the meaning, think about why everything is as it is, organize your thoughts and be ready to answer questions, ”- it will not help her,” writes Cornell. “She didn’t know what concrete steps to take. So do I.

You can ask your child to teach you this material, but you may lose a little efficiency if, say, you are a plant biologist and your child is trying to teach you about photosynthesis. They know that you know . The good news is that today’s kids understand how to talk to a wider audience thanks to all those hours of kids watching YouTube. They saw people their own age explain math and art to other children, and how to make shiny goo. Ask them to pretend they are explaining the topic on their own show. They will know what to do.

Don’t worry if at the end of the lesson they smile and say, “Don’t forget to click and subscribe!” (You don’t need to click and subscribe.)


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