School of Social Sciences

Clinical Sociologist involved in Community Outreach on Critical Thinking and Reading Skills

UKZN Sociologist Dr Mariam Seedat-Khan was invited by the eThekwini Municipality to be part of their programme on Critical Thinking and Reading Skills at the Bayview Library in Chatsworth.
Dr Mariam Seedat-Khan with Grade 7 learners at Bayview Library.
Dr Mariam Seedat-Khan with Grade 7 learners at Bayview Library.

She facilitated a session with 80 Grade 7 learners from schools across the Bayview area that aimed to develop such skills. ‘Every learner understands that formal learning environments favour the visual learning style over others,’ said Seedat-Khan.

Learners were taught to manage their time and tasks by applying 60-minute reinforcing SMART (Simply Managing Academic Related Tasks) techniques. Seedat-Khan advised them to use the thinking styles adopted by creative geniuses.

‘Find perspectives that no one else has taken. Form relationships between unlikely subjects. Make use of diagrams and images to analyse dilemmas. Be productive. Make novel combinations. Think in opposites. Get outside of your comfort zone. Failure can be productive only if we do not focus on it as an unproductive result,’ said Seedat-Khan.

She also shared with learners the eight different types of intelligence: Linguistic; Logical and Mathematical; Visual and Spatial, Musical; Bodily and Kinesthetic; Interpersonal; Intrapersonal and Naturalist.

Seedat-Khan noted that learners’ average attention span is between six and twenty minutes. It varies depending on initial interest in the topic, the room temperature, the time of day, and the learner’s energy level. ‘A change of pace at least every six to ten minutes can give participants the chance to refocus and renew their interest in the topic. It is important that the pace of the teaching corresponds with the attention span of the learners,’ she said.

Seedat-Khan also spoke on downloading time, which is time set aside every day before homework for anything that worries or distracts learners at school.  She suggested the use of music, visual, auditory, kinesthetic and read-write learning in classrooms. Finally, she advised learners to set goals for themselves and outline the steps required to achieve each goal.

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