Being Slow


Sometimes slow is good. No, this is not about food or cool running, let alone about slow management. It is about learning and the benefits of taking time to come to understand and apprehend. Schools, programs, even expectations tend to rush to outcomes, pupils too. But learning is a verb, an activity to be sustained. Fast learning is an oxymoron. Time to learn is often hindered tough by a widely accepted belief that those who complete a track, or course fast are better, smarter, and successful at learning. Not so.  The notion of deep learning (1) captures that nicely. Fast stays on the surface; in depth and inquiry oriented allows to go deep, but it takes also time, and therefore accused of being slow. But that should bother only those who consider the short run.

A study on science learning may have given some evidence on the apparent contraction that slow is better. Students ranging in reading ability and science orientation were given a text that varied in connectivity or coherence. This was arranged by using conjunctions like: because, and, or no connection. The overall finding was that reading ability was the best predictor of speed in test completion. However, the point to be made here is, that student high in science orientation were slower in text comprehension that used ‘because’ statements.

Be-cause? The key is: A causal relation ignites thinking; by probing: what caused what; is that so; how does that came about? “And” is just an enumerator. Some texts put you to think – and/because-  only if you have oriented yourself to it. Allowing time for comprehension (2) may on the surface seems a bit slow but essentially it will bear success – you only may have to wait a while to see it happen.


Sophie Susannah Hall, John Malt, Ruth Filik & Kevin B. Paterson (2016). Key skills for science learning: the importance of text cohesion and reading ability, Educational Psychology, 36:2, 191-215,

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