Rohan Parikh, Managing Director, The Green Acres Academy – Schools by The Acres Foundation

Rohan Parikh has attained a BSc in Economics from Wharton Business School, an MBA from INSEAD, and has more than 10 years of experience in the Real Estate and Hospitality industries. In 2013 Mr. Parikh entered the field of education by founding The Green Acres Academy in Chembur, and simultaneously pursuing a Master’s degree in Education through Johns Hopkins University. His aim is to provide affordable yet holistic, and well-rounded education by adapting the latest research in teaching and learning techniques within the Indian context. What started as one campus of The Green Acres Academy in Chembur, Mumbai, has grown to a total of 3 campuses across Mumbai and Pune, as well as the latest Seven Rivers International School (an IGCSE affiliate school).

 

Absorbing information. Comprehending situations.

Solving problems. Remembering tasks.

Making decisions. Paying attention.

 

Big or small, simple or complex, ordinary or extraordinary; ever wondered what wires the human brain to carry out any task at all?

It is the brain’s cognitive ability. This ability allows the human mind to understand the relationships between ideas and grasp the process of cause and effect. It is supported by specific neuronal networks in the human mind.

This cognitive ability fuels human beings with the aptitude to think and understand the world around them and be an active part of the same.

When it comes to young minds, the cognitive ability becomes even more important as it enables children to think, explore and figure things out.

Students need to acquire the right set of cognitive skills which can help them live a fulfilling life. Since these skills occupy a vital role in an individual’s overall development, let’s find out what they are.

What are cognitive skills?

Cognitive skills are a person’s tool for learning. Simply put they are core skills your brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason and pay attention.

It is a proven fact that the mind understands facts best when they are woven into a conceptual fabric. These include mental maps, chronicles, intuitive theories and more.

This is where cognitive skills come in. It trains young minds and helps them in processing new information by connecting the dots.

What are the various types of cognitive skills?

Cognitive skills make it possible to effectively and productively perform tasks and activities in our daily lives.

These skills are mainly divided into four broad categories:

  • Perception:

Perception is the interpretation of what is sensed, with the ability to process information to formulate a response.

For E.g.- decoding diagrams, sounds, touch and smell.

It involves:

– Visual Perception

– Auditory perception

  • Attention:

Attention is all about filtering incoming stimuli or the ability to choose what to care about and what to ignore.

For E.g.- choosing to focus on writing something while blocking out music in the background.

It involves:

– Focussed Attention

– Sustained Attention

– Divided Attention

  • Memory:

Memory is the process by which knowledge is ciphered, stored away, and then retrieved as per requirement.

For E.g.- remembering a piece of information from long ago and using it in the present scenario to answer a question.

It involves:

– Short-term Memory

– Working Memory

– Long-term Memory

– Visual Memory

– Auditory Memory

  • Reasoning:

Reasoning is the process by which the brain arrives at a conclusion using an intelligible and methodical series of steps.

For E.g.- assessing, prioritising, and taking important calls to solve a puzzle.

It involves:

– Deductive Reasoning

– Inductive Reasoning

How are cognitive skills helpful for effective learning in students?

Learning is a complex process, especially when the brain is developing. Cognitive skills aid this process of learning in children. These skills bring academic success to students and enable them to efficiently read, think, prioritize, understand, plan, remember, and solve problems. When cognitive skills are strong, students pick up things faster, more easily, and find it fun. However, weak skills make grasping new things and logical thinking a real challenge.

How can cognitive skills be developed in students?

The development of cognitive skills makes students understand concepts and gives them the ability to think and reason. The same can be sharpened in young minds, through the means of conscious practice and training. Here are five tips to achieve the same:

  • Tip 1: Engage students in physical activities as it has a positive effect on memory functions.
  • Tip 2: Encourage students to be more creative as it increases brain volume and strengthens areas of communication.
  • Tip 3: Keep students curious and engaged in stimulating activities as it increases brain function and connectivity.
  • Tip 4: Get students to take enough sleep as it manages and consolidates memory and learning.
  • Tip 5: Introduce students to unfamiliar and mentally challenging things as it sharpens brain functions and develops personality traits.

Cognitive skills are essential to growth and success, especially in children. A safe and loving environment, proper nutrition and balanced stimulation and rest is the perfect formula to make a child’s mind ready to imbibe cognitive skills and take on the world!

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