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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Self Improvement

theguardian.com

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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.

  • We all have a linear, logical approach to learning something. We believe that learning something like singing or drawing, will help us be better singers or artists.
  • Learning has advantages that are less obvious to anyone. It is termed as an effective response to stress.
  • Learning something puts one in the zone where the body and mind are tuned to absorb more of the outside world.
  • Learning something new and challenging with other people improves our cognitive behaviour, providing us with skills far beyond what the subject of learning is.
  • Learners feel confident in areas unrelated to the main subject and experience internal growth, which makes the world outside a lot bigger and richer than before.

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.

Keep Learning: Adult Beginners

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.

“Before you make your move, look at the position as if you were a beginner.”

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RELATED IDEAS

Learning new information as an adult

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

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.

Growing Up

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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