How Kids Learn: The Sensitive Period
There is a certain age in children, known as the sensitive period, where they are able to learn at an accelerated rate. The brain's neural systems are extremely responsive to change. That is why kids learn languages, music, chess or even coding as a ‘first language’.
Kids are also having fewer responsibilities, are protected and supported, and their lives tend to be built around learning new things by default.
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Experts, who are skilled and are aware of their knowledge, tend to be more efficient in their handling of problems.
However, the skills, knowledge and expertise often turn into a handicap, a blindspot that makes the expert commit errors in certain situations where a more agile, fresh and innovative solution is required.
As we struggle in the settings of our laptop/phone/iPad, we see that children conquer these gadgets almost instantaneously. This is because everything is new for them, and they have a true beginner's mindset.
Children see the world with no burden of past experience, and less junk knowledge inside their heads, which are mostly restrictions. They are not worried about sounding foolish, so they ask questions that most of us wouldn’t.
It is a myth that experts commit fewer errors than beginners. The Dunning-Kruger Effect states that people who are bad at something are often unaware of the fact, and are overestimating their performance.
There is an advantage in having a beginner’s mindset even as our skills and knowledge develop, something that is not available even to the experts.
Many adults make a mistake of letting their kids learn new things but not patronizing the learning mentality among themselves. They subtly give out a negative message to the kids: Learning is only for young people.
Adult Beginners, the people who are not young but are trying to learn something new, almost have a failed tone to it, like the person is already late. They become a ‘stereotype threat’ just by being adults and beginners.
Children are very good at picking up patterns implicitly. But after age 12, we lose some of that capacity to absorb new information.
This does not mean that adults can't learn. We still have "neuroplasticity" - the ability for the brain to rewire itself in response to new challenges.
Beginner's luck does not actually exist. Most of the time the beginner has a similar skill that aids them.
Or the novice could be new to the task, but have tried it before and failed repeatedly.
As we get educated and become adults, we get tied up in our accomplishments and careers, following the generally accepted ways of living and behaving in society. We become stuck in a self-made routine and rigidity, taking life too seriously.
Ultimately, in this routine of work, responsibility and life's affairs, misery sets in, giving rise to boredom, depression, and stale relationships.
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