In 2004, a ‘Nature’ article brought to light this stunning fact that people who learned how to juggle or engaged themselves in creative activities (like learning and practicing a new language or a new skill) increased the amount of gray matter in their occipital lobes: the area of the brain associated with visual memory. When these individuals stopped practicing their new skill, it was noticed that this gray matter vanished!
All our thoughts, ideas, feelings, notions, plans, schemes, conversations etc are part of our memory bank. We are constantly flooded with information. When we walk on the road, talk to someone on the phone, watch a movie or do anything for that matter, we are consistently engaged in feeding our brain information through our five senses. After all this common stuff, we have the added responsibility to LEARN!
Now, some children learn easily and many don’t. So how do we solve that?
How do we decide what’s the best learning style for you or your child?
In our last article, we addressed the issue of learning disabilities and difficulties. Today, we are going to talk about measures to better our learning skills with ten easy steps.
Employ the following steps to give a positive and effective push to your brain.
Yup! It’s really very important. Create the kind of atmosphere you deem as conducive to the development of your learning skills. Make sure the surroundings feel natural to you so your attention is always on what is to be learned. If possible, have an environment that is stimulating instead of dull. Surround yourself with good books, positive images and inspirational quotes. Some children learn better when there is no noise to distract them and some students play rock music which according to them aids them to learn faster.
Know and Do what works for you!
It’s a really simple beginning to your learning problems. Just read whatever you have to learn without pressurizing yourself to cram or even understand it. Just go through the concepts, spend a little time looking at the images, the text. And then GO SLEEP!
3. Say Good bye to Rote Learning
DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT INDULGE IN ROTE LEARNING.
Cramming is and has never been the solution to acquiring knowledge. No matter what you learn, make sure that your focus is on comprehending ideas, concepts and information. If you have to learn a lot of categorical names or dates, then unleash your creativity, find or develop patterns, use mnemonic devices, use self made formulas to learn things and relate new information to things you already know.
4. Stop Multitasking
Forget about your playtime (though hard it may sound!), food can come later, your friends will still be there waiting for you to come out and chat with them, do not turn on TV or listen to sports scores. Limit your activity to just learning amd better your concentration.
5. Self study Is the Best Study
Sit alone. Do not take help from any tutor or guardian. Study the lesson, think about what you know, reflect on what you are unable to understand and make notes. Do reference work. Think of yourself as a researcher and with the same spirit try to understand concepts. Learn via research is many times the best approach to strong learning and health understanding of difficult concepts.
6. Structure and organize your learning material.
To take the proverbial bull by the horns AKA ‘the topic of learning’, structure and organize the data in your notebook. Make relationships or associations if any. Write short notes and make connections of one topic with another for an enhanced learning experience.
Watch videos, tutorials and do practicals of any experimental learning topic. Make a story and visualise the lessons or concepts as they do a lot to improve memory and recall.
Sleep strengthens our memories. Whatever takes place during the day, our brain in our sleep mode sorts all the data, compartmentalizes stuff and consolidates memories while we sleep. Lack of sleep may actually decrease your ability to create new memories and incorporate new learning into older memories.
This is a sure shot way to test your progress. If you can teach what you have learnt to someone else, then it says a lot about your mastery over the topic or subject.
10. Take a lot of Tests
This is the final step to retaining information for a long span of time. Take a lot of tests. Compare all your performances and see the difference!
Follow these Easy-Peasy steps and sing your way to success.
Now that you have finished reading this, take a little time out to understand how your brain works.
Remember, all our efforts would go in vain if we didn’t pay attention to the master organ and controller of our body and mind.