The Key to Solving Learning Challenges
“Hello, The Cognitive Emporium, what’s your emergency”? Silence on the other end of the phone.
This phenomenon is new. Since the pandemic, something has changed in what we perceive as urgent, post-pandemic. There is an eerie feeling of complacency, acceptance, and lack of urgency, blanketing the country that did not use to be here. At The Cognitive Emporium, we see it affecting how we respond to problems in the classroom. We are passionate about this topic because urgency is key to solving learning challenges. Let’s discuss why.
A Learning Challenge Example
Yesterday, Kyra Minichan talked to three parents whose children were struggling. While each scenario varied in age and specifics, each individual performed well below their expected levels. The parent of the nine-year-old said that her son was unable to read, write, or spell well enough to do his schoolwork independently. The mother of the eleven-year-old said that her daughter struggled in school before the lockdown, but it had gotten worse since then. The father of the twelve-year-old said that his son was getting all F’s in school and refused to do homework or schoolwork–he just wasn’t motivated.
While these problems existed pre-pandemic, there is a difference in how we approach them post-pandemic. Kyra has been working for 30 years, and over the past six months, she has seen a change in how learning challenges are perceived. There appears to be a lack of urgency among parents and teachers, which should alarm everyone. Why? Because that is when complacency, apathy, and acceptance creep in. It often feels like we are a society that just “hopes for the best.”
Why Urgency Matters in Solving Learning Challenges
Urgency is vital in solving learning challenges. Urgency causes our brains to act, and action causes change. Without it, we are more likely to accept what is instead of doing whatever it takes to make a change. This behavior has been proven over the years and can be traced back to psychologist B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning theory. He conducted a rat experiment where a hungry rodent was placed inside a box and fed only when it pressed the lever that released the food. Initially, the rat explored the box, hoping to find nourishment. Its feelings of urgency were satisfied once it learned about the lever, and the rat eventually went straight to the lever once it was placed inside the box. Reinforcement is the crucial element in Skinner’s S-R theory. A reinforcer is anything that strengthens the desired response. But what happens when the reinforcer is negative? You guessed it, the feeling of urgency and the desire to try and get the food also goes away.
How does this relate to learning challenges in the classroom? Parents and teachers are tired. As the world bounces back to normal post-pandemic, we see that it takes a lot more mental effort than it used to just to exist–let alone figure out a problem. We want to let our foot off the gas pedal and coast for a while. We understand, and yet, it’s important you don’t fall into this trap. Parents and teachers should stay vigilant and not accept less than what kids are capable of. Their (and our) future depends on it.
Early Intervention to Learning Challenges
The idea and importance of urgency in solving learning challenges is a big reason why Kyra does what she does. Change and improvement are possible with a bit of investment and work. The key is finding someone who can solve the problem and guide you toward a solution.
Kyra Minichan can help. If you want to learn more, reach out for a free 10-minute phone consultation, and let her point you in the right direction. Kyra offers in-person and online services, so you don’t have to live near her to receive help from The Cognitive Emporium.