Thursday, November 14, 2013

All children should be able to verbally reason things out

Whether your child is sitting the 11+ or not, for a child to develop as wholly as possible, the skills found in Verbal Reasoning and Non-verbal Reasoning are important skills opening  up as many potential avenues as possible in their brain development.


Let's think about this using an analogy; in new civic buildings it is becoming customary not to lay in footpaths, apart from the basic few, but to lay the rest to grass. There is a reason behind this, the developers are watching where the short cuts are being taken by the greatest number of feet. Once these well worn tracks are established and muddy, very often the landscapers will come along and insert paths following the lines laid out in the now well worn grass.
Brains are very similar, if the same methods are used over and over again, they too get worn into the 'grass' of the brain and these become the main way of solving the problem. But what if those methods are of no use to solving a particular problem? What happens if the child does not have a pathway established which could open up a possible solution? The child gets stuck, it has to look outside of itself, it learns a new strategy, 'rely on others to solve your problem', a well worn pathway in some. It maybe successful, but will it teach them?> Will it support them later on?

I suggest the answer to this one is, no.


So, where can we extend and create a greater network of pathways? That comes form the skills they learn through solving verbal and non-verbal puzzles, and this is where a group of people who have put a You Tube channel together, come into the equation. Their videos on how to do the various types of problems, together with a suitable verbal reasoning book, give the opportunity for the child to learn new ways of thinking and new skills which they can take into the classroom.
Chuckra Verbal Reasoning Practice has 15 videos each covering a different VR skill. The way they present the information is clear and concise and in language which is understandable by years 4, 5 and 6; although I would suggest a parent accompanies them as they learn so as to be able to re-inforce any work they do later.
I mentioned a book, and the best I have ever come across is one by Susan J Daughtrey M.Ed. She has produced a series of 4 books which include, how to do each type [a useful back up for the work they have watched on video] and a page of examples to try. I am not saying you HAVE to buy these books because they do not come cheap [about £5.50 each] but they are well worth exploring and if you can get them from Amazon then all the better.

OK, that's the verbal but what about the non-verbal?

That comes from puzzles and problems you find in many puzzle books, such as word searches, mazes, spot the difference, what is the next shape in a sequence and so on. They best way to extend their non-verbal skills? Buy some puzzle books and take them away when you go one holiday or get some in so on a wet and cold day when its no good to go outside, get out the puzzles and have a go at cracking them together. As you work with them they will be learning your strategies as well as their own; in the end they will be off on their own, and sometimes, just sometimes, they will be beating you.

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