National Edu News: Specialised Training Required for Implementing ECCE: Dr Venita Kaul  |  Cover Story: Elimination Round or Aptitude Test- How to Align CUET with NEP 2020 Goals  |  Life Inspirations: Master of a Dog House  |  Education Information: Climate Predictions: Is it all a Piffle!  |  Leadership Instincts: Raj Mashruwala Establishes CfHE Vagbhata Chair in Medical Devices at IITH   |  Parent Interventions: What Books Children Must Read this Summer Vacation   |  Rajagiri Round Table: Is Time Ripe for Entrepreneurial Universities in India?  |  Life Inspirations: How to Overcome Fear of Public Speaking  |  Teacher Insights: Guided Play Effective for Children  |  Teacher Insights: Doing Calculations Boosts Mental Strength  |  Best Practices: Hugging for Happiness  |  Parent Interventions: Is Frequent Childcare Outside of the Family Beneficial for a Child's Development  |  Health Monitor: How to Measure Attention?  |  Life Inspirations: From BC to AC: What Has Changed in Pandemic and What Has Not  |  Guest Column: The Biting Army  |  
February 14, 2020 Friday 12:14:06 PM IST

Brain training does not improve early number skills, say researchers

Teacher Insights

Psychologists at the University of Sheffield have identified that core thinking skills are crucial in developing early number skills, and why children might differ widely in their early maths ability. Research from the University of Sheffield, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, investigated why children differ so much in their early maths skills, to try and identify how they can be best supported. The study concluded that using brain training exercises to improve core thinking skills does not in turn boost maths ability. Instead, the researchers found that core thinking skills, including memory and attention, are key skills that support early maths learning.

The research is some of the first to identify what is causing an attainment gap in early maths skills by studying a sample of four-year-olds from socially diverse backgrounds on their core thinking skills and early maths skills. The findings showed that on average, the children from disadvantaged backgrounds had lower maths skills than their more advantaged peers. The study showed one way to support children who may be struggling with early maths is to support these core thinking skills. The researchers tried an intervention technique to improve the children’s cognitive skills directly to see if this had a knock-on effect on their maths ability.

The intervention involved simple brain training challenges which the children completed once a week. Although the children improved their performance on the brain training tasks, there was no improvement in their maths skills. It is hoped the findings will inform new research to test different types of interventions in order to narrow the differences in early numeracy skills and help disadvantaged children who might be at risk of falling behind in maths. Interventions could include promoting teaching strategies which are less demanding on children’s attention.

The full paper, The role of executive functions in socioeconomic attainment Gaps: results from a randomized controlled trial, is available online: https://srcd.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cdev.13358


(Content Courtesy: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/nr/brain-training-maths-attainment-gap-study-psychology-1.880803)

Comments