How to learn effectively

To survive in the future in an ever-changing world, we need to be able to think and learn in the best possible ways. We need to continually relearn, rethink and re-evaluate the way we work and live. To cope with accelerating change, danger and complexity we need the intellectual ability to reason through complex problems and find solutions by using creative and critical thinking (Paul, 2014).

Many schools, worldwide and in South Africa, have embarked on journeys to develop ‘thinking communities’ and ‘thinking schools’ to teach their learners how to think and learn effectively. The International Association for Cognitive Education (IACESA – until 2019), Thinking Schools South Africa (TSSA) and The Institute for the Advancement of Cognitive Education (IACE) have been influential regarding these developments in South Africa. Unfortunately, many schools still ignore or are totally unaware of the crucial need to promote and develop growth-oriented mindsets, thinking and learning skills. Most parents are uninformed about how to promote these skills effectively.

All children must go to school, which means that parents and schools are responsible for empowering the leaders of the future and future generations with the skills that they will need to survive and to flourish. Many learners still do not possess or acquire the skills required to achieve their full academic potential and this may also influence them later in life, at university or even in their working environment.

“To live is to act. To act is to decide. Every day is an endless sequence of decisions. The most important decision we can make is how and what to think about things.” – Paul and Elder (2014)




I have learned the following from

Despite all the advancements in life (like technological developments) there are a growing number of learners that lack effective skills to cope with the ongoing academic demands;

Many learners (even top students) receive extra lessons, have tutors, take medication, and/or require professional interventions;

Parents spend large sums of money on “extra help” but many parents cannot afford this;

Learners often depend on extra lessons/tutors and become passive learners instead of developing a growth-oriented mindset, better thinking skills, independent learning skills, social and emotional skills and strategies (tools) to cope in life;

Children are often involved in too many extra mural activities, which means that they do not have open afternoons and parents lead very busy and full lifestyles too.

Many educators and parents do not have growth-oriented mindsets, knowledge or skills to support children. They do not always believe that they can make a difference, they do not have the time (and energy) and often do not have the expertise to equip learners with the ‘right’ skills that are required to cope in the future;

There are many hidden contexts, curriculum, task and learning material barriers that block thinking and learning;

Limited attention is given by parents, educators, tutors, and even professional practitioners, to the development of processes and strategies for effective thinking and learning to occur, but these skills are expected daily at school and are part of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) Document.

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Contact Info

Estelle Brettenny

For Intervention, assessment or training


082 430 7956


1 A Stepping Stone Street,


There are many stakeholders that can play a role regarding these problems and needs, and I strive to do my part to equip learners of all generations with the necessary skills with the BE MORE Approach.
With my services, individuals or groups (Grade 4 – 12 and adults) can acquire the necessary skills and a better understanding of how to learn effectively, which may improve their abilities in school, university, or at work. I also work with educators to help them teach their learners more effectively. Feel free to contact me directly should you require any additional information.