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Do children still need strong mental agility when then can rely on technology?

15 October, 2017

With practice, a child’s mental agility will improve.

With calculators, spell-checkers and predictive text now being a common feature on computers and mobile phones, will today’s children still need strong mental skills to get by?

Using technological software may be quick and easy, but there are real disadvantages that come when a child is so dependent on online assistance; namely, they will lack mental agility, fluency and accuracy, and they probably won’t be using their brain to its full capacity.

Everyday tasks as simple as checking they’ve received the right change, or working out ratios of ingredients when preparing meals, require mental calculations which a child reliant on technology could struggle with.

A student who looks to spell-checker to ensure the accuracy of their work will struggle when completing it offline; they’ll be marked down for inaccuracy during handwritten exams, or perhaps they know an answer but their poor spelling lets them down because the examiner is unable to understand their intention.

Looking to the future, strong mental arithmetic and literacy skills are important in whatever career a child chooses to pursue, and are still noticed and sought after by most employers. A child who has these abilities will feel more confident and at ease in the workplace.

These skills do take time to develop and improve but through practice they will make all the difference!

How can you encourage the development of these skills in your child?

• Turn everyday experiences into learning opportunities – ask your child to work out how much your bill will cost before you get to the checkout, and have them count out your change afterwards to check it’s correct

• Have a weekly spelling bee at home or a times tables challenge – competitions and rewards are good incentives to encourage children to learn and make learning fun

• When reading with your child, ensure they are familiar with all the words on the page and get them to write and spell out new words

• Encourage your child to write regularly as this offers opportunities to spell. Through this you’ll be able to see spellings they struggle with, and employ tracing, mnemonics and/or other strategies to help them improve

At Kumon, we aim to foster independent learners through our maths and English programmes. Our students do not rely on calculators, dictionaries or coping strategies to advance through their study; instead they are encouraged to become self-learners who develop in academic ability and skill with each worksheet they complete. Through daily practice our students develop in understanding, fluency and pace, allowing them to advance to more complexed work.

If you would like to try Kumon for your child, many of our study centres across the UK and Ireland are running a two-week Free Trial for new students until 20 November. Click here to request a call from one of our team.