The importance of these techniques and strategies is directly proportional to how useful they are for each student’s learning. Having good learning tools is essential, in the same way that it is essential to master certain concepts, use appropriate work processes and procedures, have certain capacities, skills and abilities and have certain attitudes and values linked to the learning-teaching process.
Each person needs a different learning strategy. Depending on your personal characteristics, skills and aptitudes, the strategies determine the most appropriate study techniques. Do you think that students should develop their own learning strategies and study techniques on their own? Or, on the contrary, should it be directed and guided?
Neither one thing nor the other. Learning mediators must present a range of options, we must also allow new rods to appear in that range and also for the student to make combinations of the rods available to him. Subsequently, the student has to start their metacognition strategies to select those strategies that are meaningful to them.
What variables (interest in learning, aptitude and attitudinal competence) do you think are necessary to promote the learning of study strategies and techniques?
The same as in any learning process. Previous knowledge, work procedures, skills and attitudes.
The mediating variable and the value that the learner gives them will also be essential.
Do you consider that study techniques and learning strategies have application beyond academic life?
Of course, I continue to this day preparing my presentations through concept maps. They will be useful whenever you are learning or teaching.
On its website, it states that Kumon is an after-school activity designed to develop each child’s potential to the fullest through mathematics. What happens if a child is not good at math? How do you get him interested in this discipline?
On the page it is clear that mathematics (it is really a part of it, the one most linked to calculation) is an instrument or a means to develop the learning potential of each child. Starting in January of this year in Kumon we also have a new program, it is the reading program that in the same way uses reading as a means to achieve other objectives if possible more interesting and important.
What we want is to develop the potential (concepts, procedures, attitudes and capacities) through daily work with calculation and reading booklets. When a child is not skilled with something, it may be due to a deficit in all these fields, three of them, two or one. What we do at Kumon is work on all of them.
Sometimes they are not skilled because they do not have the prior knowledge that allows them to easily and significantly assimilate new procedures. Sometimes they are not skilled because the solution processes and procedures are not adequate or not optimal. Sometimes because they do not have the basic capacities, skills and abilities that allow them to learn, or sometimes they lack a positive attitude towards learning, etc …
It should also be taken into account that at Kumon we involve parents or guardians in the learning process, an essential issue for the improvement of the learning-teaching process.
If you work on these four plots, it will be very difficult for the student to be unskilled, and therefore it will be easier for him to show interest. From there, each child will show interest for different reasons, it is the mediator’s art to find the ways.
What actions are carried out to improve reading ability and habit?
The most important action we take is not to meet the needs of the students, to put them in a situation of autonomous learning, so that they have a need to cover and therefore have to develop capacities, skills, procedures, attitudes, etc … to meet those needs .
The most important action is precisely to give them infinite learning opportunities.
One of Kumon’s methodological principles is that results should be expected in the long term. What would you say to parents who want to reinforce their child’s learning strategies for an upcoming test??
I would tell you that it doesn’t make sense. That it is a priority to work on the basics and that learning strategies are part of a later stage. In addition, these strategies require training and practice and therefore it is necessary to have time to train, practice and perfect.
At what age do you recommend starting to work on learning strategies? Do you have college students interested in developing learning strategies?
In my opinion it is difficult to separate learning strategies from the natural learning process. Therefore I recommend starting as soon as possible, respecting and taking into account the maturity of the apprentice.
In what way have study techniques or learning strategies been adapted to new technologies or new teaching modalities?
I believe that new technologies open a new paradigm linked to the learning-teaching process. Therefore, it affects study techniques in the same way that it affects other issues related to the apprentice. It will affect motivational level, functionality level, effectiveness level, etc …
How has the Kumon method evolved throughout its history?
In itself, Kumon essentially preserves the same principles on which its creator, Toru Kumon, based his program.
What Kumon has done is to enrich itself from the different contexts and experiences that have been had throughout the 50 years of experience, in more than 40 different countries, working with more than 10 million students. Some examples are the following:
The materials are periodically reviewed for the maximum benefit for the students. Class dynamics have been enriched thanks to trends from South America that enhance direct communication between students and teachers.