Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Benefit Of Struggle

Dear Parent,
This time of year seems to pick up momentum like a snowball on a steep downhill slope! School projects, exams, events and holiday preparation culminate with vacation and busy time with friends and family.
Students may feel weary, especially in the face of additional school tasks and activities. It can cause parents to wonder, "Am I pushing too hard?" Only individual parents can answer that question, according to their family priorities and individual child.
It's almost always hard to watch your child struggle - in sports, relationships or, school. We all have experienced, and likely told our children, that facing and overcoming difficulty produces character. Yet when it comes to seeing our children having a hard time, many parents' first instinct is to eliminate the struggle.

But is that right?
Kevin Washburn, in his article "A necessary struggle: Deep practice and skill mastery," says parents shouldn't be so quick to remove struggle, especially when it comes to learning. In fact, he asserts, it is struggle that leads to real, permanent learning.

Click here ( to read his full article. He cites the work of author Daniel Coyle from his book "The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's grown. Here's how." Coyle's conclusion is that "deep practice" is key to top performance.
The Kumon method supports this theory of learning. What I find most interesting is his idea of how to apply this theory in the classroom. He notes that slowing down initial practice, increasing challenge to the point of struggle, and then broadening the context - helping kids see the bigger picture of applying knowledge - are the means to long-term mastery.
Isn't the same true in sports? Ongoing practice builds stamina and skill which leads to muscle memory and an innate sense for the game. That's how players excel and teams win.
In the same way, the Kumon method builds discipline and "learning muscles," leading to permanent knowledge. It develops the skills and stamina to succeed in school and meet challenges head-on, both in and outside the classroom.

Keep up the effort and good work! Kumon, even when it's a struggle, is helping to "grow greatness" as your children progress.
Warm regards,
Ms. Sanjit Kaur
Kumon of Kanata North

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