You may think that a “good memory” is something that your child either has or does not have. If that were the case, there would be little you could do to help your child become a better learner. But fortunately, this isn’t the case! You CAN help your child with her memory if you begin with an understanding of something I call the funnel concept.
When explaining new concepts and teaching your child, it’s easy to assume that there is an unobstructed pipeline between you.
You explain something—like the concept that every word has a vowel—and you expect that your child will automatically file that nugget of information away and remember it in the future. You assume that since you taught it, your child will “get it” and your work will be done.
For many parents, this picture is far from reality. Too often, it seems that lessons go right over the child’s head … that nothing sticks.
Instead of picturing information going through an unobstructed pipeline, it’s more accurate to picture information passing through a funnel, like this:
If you pour too much water into a funnel too quickly, what happens? The water overflows the top of the funnel, right?
A similar thing happens when we try to teach too much at a time. You can pour a lot of information in, but your child’s memory becomes overloaded and dumps the excess. You lose control over what actually makes it through the funnel.
This is what we call the funnel concept.
Now that you understand what the funnel concept is, let’s look at how to apply it to your teaching.
When you teach, there are three possible outcomes:
To reach the goal of meaningful learning, you need to avoid overwhelming your child’s funnel.
To apply this concept in a practical way, let’s take a look at a common spelling test that focuses on the sound of long I.
Getting confused yet? Has this list given you information overload? Wait—there’s even more!
That’s a lot of information for just one spelling list!
This is an example of the kind of list used in the All About Spelling program. Only one concept is introduced in this spelling list—long I spelled IGH. And that single concept is practiced using multisensory methods—auditory, visual, and kinesthetic.
Now ask yourself: Which spelling list is more likely to get through your child’s funnel and result in lasting learning? It may look better on paper to be covering twenty words at once, but the truth is that your child will achieve more permanent learning when you teach only the amount of information that she can process at one time.
So next time you’re teaching your child, think about teaching through a funnel and introduce just one main concept at a time. You’ll be pleased with the amount of meaningful learning that can occur!
Another great way to help your child learn faster is by using schemas. In this free e-book, “Help Your Child’s Memory,” you will discover…
Let me know if this post was helpful to you! Have you experienced “funnel overload” with your kids?