Bad grade justified by a surprising form of test? Or maybe the so-called “Overwhelming” as the main culprit for the weakening of motivation and, as a result, low results? These can be the consequences of incorrect selection of learning strategies and lack of knowledge on how to effectively absorb knowledge. It’s worth knowing how to talk to a child who is less and less eager to learn.

Learning at school is focused on acquiring knowledge and acquiring skills – but often students do not know what tools to use while learning. So, they use very inefficient methods. They can lead to reduced motivation or learned helplessness, ultimately extend the time of learning and take away the chance to pursue a hobby or meeting with friends. A parent who knows the basics of the learning process can be a great consultant on effective learning.


Individual approach to learning

This time it is not about an individual approach to the child, but to the material to be assimilated. It is worth teaching a child the habit of assessing the content they intend to learn. Depending on the specific material, choose the right method. The fact that most of the time should be reserved for long and difficult material should not surprise anyone. Longer working hours, however, do not mean longer breaks, quite the opposite – the more difficult the content to master, the shorter the breaks should be. If your child plans to study intricate subjects in several turns, the first should be longer than the others.


How to remember better?

Just because a child has trouble remembering may mean using an ineffective strategy. Repetition alone can prove itself at the very beginning of a career in elementary school, then the amount of material requires more sophisticated techniques. When looking for a good strategy, it’s important to know what improves the memory process. First of all, it is self-reliance – completing a task by yourself greatly increases memory performance compared to watching someone else’s task perform. Instead of showing you how to solve a math problem, support your child to do it himself. The child should be praised for his involvement, asking support questions, helping to organize work or indicating the sources in which he will find help. Independence in finding information also favors better remembering – a child who puts a little effort into finding information or coming up with a solution will remember it better than his colleague to whom the same information was simply given.


Different methods for different tests

For many students, information about the form of checking knowledge is very important – especially older people know that you have to learn differently for the test with open questions, and differently for those with answers to choose from. What is the difference? Even if the child only reads his notes, during the closed text he will probably recognize among the mismatched answers those that he saw in the read texts. It may, however, have difficulty extracting unfixed content from memory and fail on tasks that require reproduction – that is, answering an open question. It is worth making your child aware that reading (i.e. relying on pictorial traces) is not synonymous with learning (creating verbal traces). He can use this knowledge by assessing which parts of the material he will acquire accurately, and which are less important, superficially.


So, what to do to learn efficiently?

First of all, the student should do homework and learn at fixed times, so that there is still time for pleasure, rest or hobby realization. In case of tests from a larger material, it is worth planning the time to study well in advance to calmly acquire knowledge. It should be remembered that a parent, aunt, grandmother or sister cannot give a ready solution to a task. Then we take away the child’s possibilities of thinking, trying to solve the task, and finally analyzing what field it is worth devoting time to. The parent is meant to be help but not the answer. Let’s teach children independence!



Jagodzińska, M. (2013). Psychologia pamięci: badania, teorie, zastosowania.

Gliwice: Wydawnictwo Helion.