I’ve signed my kids up for various programmes and classes. Some of these classes are mediocre, covering only very basic concepts, while some are very successful in honing the children’s abilities and skills. How does one assess and measure the effectiveness of such classes? How do we know if the time and money put in has been well-spent?
One of the most valuable tool around is an assessment the child does at the start of the programme. You see, with this initial assessment, you have a basis of comparison for your child’s abilities. Recently, I had the opportunity to do my own comparison of Nicole before and after her Personalised Cognitive Training classes at Thinkersbox.
The programme is 10-month long and you can read a review of what the cognitive lessons are like each time. Before I do the comparison, I must say that I already knew there is an improvement in Nicole’s studying habits. Just based on how she can concentrate in class longer without shifting her eyes around, and how she can memorise those “Good Phrases” for composition writing and definitely how she has been having lesser incidences of forgetting her homework or spelling test dates. Most importantly, her attitude towards learning is very positive now, she exhibits a whole lot more confidence when she’s tackling a new topic, and she is very focused now when she is at school .
Now for some results proper:
One of the struggles Nicole had before she embarked on this programme was she struggled with understanding what she’s reading. You see, she can read every word in the passage, but she tended to miss out key words as she read. For example:
Sentence: George was looking forward to the zoo trip. He woke up early and got ready before Mum was up. He gobbled down his breakfast while his eyes never left the clock.
What Nicole reads: George was looking to the zoo trip. He woke up and got ready and gobbled down his breakfast while his eyes left the clock.
It was incredibly frustrating as it affected her comprehension of Math problems (they always have a short 2-line story to explain the problem sum), her ability to answer questions correctly as she tended to read them wrong! I knew that if she could read every single word, she would be able to understand the passage totally!
So Thinkersbox identified this area in her cognitive development. During the 10 months, she did activities, completed worksheets and played games that helped her in this area (among other ‘weak’ areas). I must stress that the goal of this programme is NOT to clone each child to have perfect cognitive skills. Rather, it will identify the weak areas and train them to exercise and practice key skills to improve their overall intellectual capability.
Fast forward to the final assessment, look at what the report says:
Wow! She improved in her comprehension skills. She is just slightly above average. HOWEVER, the assessment picked up the fact that she has excellent problem solving skills. Felicia Hoo, the Programme Director, at Thinkersbox explained it very clearly. When Nicole reads a passage, she now reads every single word. However, she needs time to digest what she has read.
In the above example, after reading the sentence, Nicole has to digest that George woke up early, got ready very quickly, ate his breakfast very quickly and kept looking at the time. Once she registers these facts, she is able to answer questions like, Why did George gobble down his breakfast? Or even Which phrase tells you that George didn’t want to be late for the zoo trip?
When the assessment explained Nicole’s cognitive skills this way, it helped me understand that when she cannot answer questions correctly, it is not because she’s is not reading every word. Rather, I need to ask her simple pointed questions to help her digest the passage. After that, she’s ready to conquer all other comprehension questions.
This certainly opened my eyes to her learning abilities! Thinkersbox’s programme is based on the ‘Structure of Intellect’ (SOI) theory and approach by Dr. Robert Meeker (co-founder of SOI Systems). The programme aims to guide us to understand each child’s intellectual strengths and weaknesses and provide targeted solutions to improve their overall profile.
I learnt something very valuable in the post assessment session with Felicia. She reminded me that while we can improve each child’s weak cognitive area, we must build on the child’s cognitive strengths. Understanding Nicole’s abilities helped me to be patient with her (when she’s struggling with that area), and push her (when she’s doing activities that require her strong processing abilities).
It may shock you, the entire 10 months had ZERO academic syllabus. They do not teach Grammar, Mathematical concepts, Science Theories or Mandarin Writing skills. Each 2 hour class is focused on a very customised programme for your child to develop his/her cognitive skills. So what Nicole does in class is completely different from the girl in the next table, or the boy in front of her. The class ratio is small (1 trainer to 6 children) so every child gets personalised attention as they complete their tasks. It’s amazing!
You can find out more with a free Cognitive Assessment at the centre. With this assessment, three basic skills are tested:
(i) Visual Discrimination: Being able to observe environmental stimulus and being careful with details
(ii) Visual Memory: Being able to retain and retrieve visual information previously seen or read
(iii) Auditory Attention: Being able to focus and concentrate on tasks given
When the trainers explain the results, you get a deeper understanding of your child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Trust me, it is so obvious, yet it can be such a revelation! Call 6773 4886 or visit Thinkersbox now to arrange for the Assessment!
Thinkersbox has kindly sponsored Nicole’s Cognitive Training Programme. However, all opinions are 100% my own.