Why are Cognitive Skills in the Classroom so Important?

Cognitive Skills & Why They Matter

Better understand the role of Cognitive Skills in the classroom. Why are they so important? And learn 3 tips to provide better learning outcomes in your students.

Strong cognitive skills are critically important to successful learning…

What are Cognitive Skills?

The key to solving a persistent learning challenge is to strengthen the person’s basic processing or cognitive skill set. Remember, cognitive skills are not at all the same as the subjects taught in the classroom at school. Academic skills consist of knowledge about different subjects like math, history, and science.

People are often surprised that there is a difference between cognitive and academic skills. Actually, there is a BIG difference. Cognitive skills are the mental capabilities we need to successfully learn academic subjects. Underlying cognitive skills must function well for us to efficiently and easily read, think, prioritize, understand, plan, remember, and solve problems. Essentially, cognitive skills are the individual mental skills we use to learn.

When Cognitive Skills are WEAK, Academic Learning is at best, a struggle.
When Cognitive Skills are STRONG, Academic Learning is fast, easy, efficient and fun!

Mental or cognitive skills may seem mysterious because they are not easy to see or recognize by themselves, but without the underlying cognitive skills, we would not be able to process the information we receive from sources around us through our senses of sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell.

Why it Matters?

When we understand where cognitive skills fit into everyone’s learning process, we can see how truly important they are — which leads to another critically important truth: cognitive skills can change! That’s right, cognitive skills, learning skills, underlying skills, and learning tools can be improved, strengthened, and enhanced, regardless of a person’s age.

It is about how much we know as well as how effectively we process the information that we receive. Cognitive skills determine how easy, fast and well a person learns.

In other words, cognitive skills are the learning skills used to:

  • Retain information;
  • Process, analyze, store facts and feelings; and
  • Create mental pictures, read words, and understand concepts.

Tips for the Classroom

Teachers who help students grow their cognitive skill levels as well as learn new tasks will have better learning outcomes in the classroom. Here are three tips for better learning while incorporating cognitive skills in the classroom:

  1. Assess the cognitive stages of your students in order to adapt your future teaching.
  2. Provide differentiated learning strategies based on the cognitive skill levels of the students in the classroom.
  3. Teach students not only new information, but how to learn for a lifetime of learning.

Like this article for teachers?

Browse the Professional Learning Board COURSE CATALOG to find related online courses for teachers in your state. Professional Learning Board is a leading provider of online professional development classes that teachers use to renew a teaching license or renew a teaching certificate.

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