Are your kids careless at school?

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Recently, we were invited to Thinkersbox, and we learnt how to help our kids better in their learning skills. My wife wrote a great article about it, and I thought that I will share it here: 

When I was a kid, I remember when test papers were returned to us, I would get scolded for being “careless” and “lazy”. As my mum looked at the paper, it’s always a case of “why so forgetful?” “why didn’t you read the question carefully?” “did you pay attention?”. I would check with some of my friends, and realised our parents said the same things!

Now I’m a parent. Guess what? These same words are used! hahaha…


Well, recently I learnt something that totally changed my mind! A child/adult learns through various cognitive skills. These include Comprehension, Memory, Logic, Processing etc. Let me give you an example:


Which picture A-B-C-D best match the top picture?

The skills you use to pick out Picture D has nothing to do with being careless, or being lazy to check or not paying attention. Rather, the cognitive skill used is Visual Discrimination. With this skill, you are able to observe keenly and have attention to details. This is the skill we use when we copy the figures for problem sums in Math papers or transferring the answer for comprehension questions.

Nicole and Nathan did this question. She got the answer wrong despite looking keenly at the pictures. Nathan got the answer in a few seconds. Does this mean Nicole is more careless or less conscientious in her work? No No No! It showed that her Visual Discrimination skill is undeveloped, and Nathan is naturally more inept for this.

What a revelation! It’s not about her study attitude. And looking at this, you may think it’s about those IQ tests. It’s not about IQ. It’s about exposure to a certain skill and developing that skill. So Nicole has to learn how to observe before she can copy that right phrase from the comprehension passage in her test papers. Her super super careless mistakes when doing math was not about her care-less attitude! She just never learnt how to observe well!

So where did we learn this? We were at Thinkersbox, a cognitive skills learning centre. The kids received a short assessment of three basic skills while I went through a brief introductory session on what the centre does. Based on the results, a customised programme will be planned for each kid to hone their strengths & weaknesses.


The programme is 10 month long, and during that period, NO CONTENT will be taught. The trainers will only focus on learning skills. There are 27 skills identified and at the start of the programme, the child will go through a more detailed assessment for these skills. At the end of the programme, another assessment will be done. And from Thinkersbox research and experience in several primary schools over the past few years, there is significant improvement to each child’s learning ability.

Common Scenarios we parents face:

  • Child cannot follow the teacher’s instructions despite listening attentively
  • Child cannot remember simple information e.g. what he had for lunch, when is spelling test
  • Child reads a passage but reads it wrong—names mixed up, info jumbled
  • Doing a math sum but copied the number wrongly in the working sheet

These are some signs of undeveloped cognitive skills! It’s not necessarily a learning disability, a bad attitude! Isn’t that good news?

Important question: How much does it cost? The 10-month programme costs $2,000. This is for a weekly 2 hour session, which would work out to $25 per hour. That’s not too bad, if you compare with the various enrichment courses and tuition schools.

Isn’t that great? It was comforting to know that content plays the least important role in our exam-crazed society. Such life-long learning skills make a tremendous difference to that much dreaded PSLE!

If your child is between 5-12year old, click here for more information

I really would recommend you signing up for a complimentary 3 Learning Skills assessment. It’s FREE!

Find out if the results tally with what you’ve been nagging complaining saying about your child. clip_image004clip_image004[1]

SPECIALLY for Mumseword readers: if you sign up before December 2012 for the customised programme, you get $100 off the total price. Just mention Mumseword when you sign up to get your discount!

Thinkersbox is located at 420 North Bridge Road, North Bridge Centre #03-02/03, Singapore 188727. (Directly opposite the National Library)

DISCLAIMER: Ed Unloaded was invited to Thinkersbox Development Centre, but all opinions are 100% my own.

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