Guided Growth book club with Dr. Ira J. Chasnoff.
Topic: Chapter 1: How Does Learning Take Place?
Synopsis: Most of us pay little attention to how we learn. When we do think of it, we tend to think of learning in terms of the acquisition of a new skill by trial and error or acquiring a new competency by concentration, memorization and practice. For many children with prenatal exposures to alcohol or drugs, however, learning is often very difficult. Concepts learned in one moment are often forgotten in the next. Thinking tends to be concrete, and abstract concepts are often a complete mystery. In addition, limited attention span and poor impulse control divert cognitive resources away from the task of acquiring new skills. Many times, these behaviors are misinterpreted in the classroom as a lack of motivation or “just not trying.” And, indeed, faced with repeated failures while classmates seem to acquire new skills with ease, many children with prenatal exposures simply give up or refuse to try anything new at all. The question for parents and educators is whether this trajectory can be changed. While structural damage cannot be changed, the most recent research from psychology and neuroscience about how learning takes place gives us a better understanding of how we can use these findings to increase the efficiency of the learning process for children with learning deficits.