Four Easy Steps to FAST Learning

Monday, 3 September 2018

Tags: Fast, "How to", Learn

‘I just can’t do it!’ 
‘I’m not good at maths.’ 
‘This is too hard.’
‘Science is boring.’

These statements may sound familiar. Perhaps you have even uttered sentiments like these in the past. We watch our kids come up against barriers or obstacles and give up, labelling themselves, containing and restricting their potential. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. 

Jim Kwik is an incredibly successful educator and coach, working with adults all over the world to unleash their brain’s full potential. His mission or passion in life is to ‘create a smarter and more caring world by giving you your power back.’ He can read with incredible speed and has the ability to stand in front of a crowd and memorise the names of one hundred people on the spot.  

Now let me tell you about a boy. He’s five years old with significant head injury, everyone says he has a ‘broken brain’. While others around him are reading and moving ahead in their learning, he is struggling to put the letters together at all. After limping his way through school he decides to give university a go, to please his family. It is a disaster. On the verge of quitting forever he has a serendipitous moment with a friend’s father who speaks into his life and tells him he can do anything he wants, he just has to learn to use his brain’s full potential. 

That boy was Jim Kwik. 

By deep diving into learning about neuroscience and the functionality of the brain, Jim began to break it down into bite-size pieces and unlock the true ability that he possessed - that we all possess. He has an informative and inspiring podcast with plenty of helpful tips about wiping out negative thoughts, sleeping better, fixing a broken brain and using food as a source of power for optimal learning. 

Learning is a huge focus of all that Jim does and his very first episode unlocks how to ‘Learn ANYTHING Faster’. Here are his four tips, based around the acronym of FAST. While Jim’s lessons are targeted at adults, they can easily be applied in the classroom and his podcasts are bite-sized, perfect for kids who are struggling to move to the next level of their learning. 

I shared this podcast with my seven year old son when he was struggling with mastering a skill and he embraced the advice wholeheartedly. The accessible framing of the tips in an acronym also means that we can easily refer back to it and he immediately knows which part he needs to focus in on. 

1. Forget (F in FAST)

Forget what you know about the topic, come in with an open mind, ready to learn. So often preconceived ideas about an area of learning can prevent our kids from soaking up what they need to know. Focus in on the task, forgetting everything else and channeling full attention onto the subject. Also, forget your limitations. A famous line of Kwik’s is ‘if you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them.’ As long as he believed he had a broken brain, his learning ability was restricted. It was only the process of letting that go that allowed Kwik to believe he could truly be smart. 

2. Active (A in FAST)

How can your child become a participator in their learning? Is it by asking questions? Taking notes? Acting out key lessons so that they can understand them better? By remaining active, we greatly increase our brain’s potential to absorb information. 

3. State (S in FAST)

What emotional state is your child in when learning? Is it a state of frustration or openness? Often kids can miss out on so much learning because they are in a mindset of boredom rather than a posture of curiosity. If they can situate their emotional wellbeing (with a focus on breathing and posture) and remind themselves that this is actually an important part of learning, students will be stunned at how much they can retain. 

4. Teach (T in FAST)

Another famous Kwik line is that ‘when you teach something you get to learn it twice’. When we have to transfer our knowledge to someone else, suddenly we take it in with far more focus. If your child is struggling with a concept, ask them to teach it to you. You might find that they emerge with a greater understanding and you both learn something new. 

When your child is tempted to feel frustrated because learning isn’t coming easily, use this helpful acronym to encourage them. Learning can be fun and interactive and our approach can have a great impact on how effective the process can be. 

If you have any tips for learning, feel free to share them with us! At Belgrave Heights Christian School we are convinced that learning is best when done together.