Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Road Block to Learning: Self-imposed Limits

Everyone is an individual.  As such, they are unique.  So it's no surprise that everyone learns differently.  Students need to learn how they learn best.  They apply this knowledge to become their own best teacher.  To stack the deck in their favor, they need to create an environment for successful study.  Follow Goldilocks: not too hot, not too cold, but just right.  Start with the 5 senses and create a setting conducive to study.  Know the assignment.  Have all relevant materials on hand: books, paper, pen, references.  Avoid and remove distractions and sources of interruptions.  They also need to learn how to effectively manage their time.  People have different attention spans.  Use this knowledge to your advantage.  Those with short attention spans should not try to force themselves to sit and study for hours on end.  The results will be ineffective.

The power of the human mind is amazing.  Negative attitudes are like gravity; they tend to pull you down.  I can recall so many times in the classroom where frustrated students exclaim, “I can’t do this.”  Self-fulfilling prophecies of difficulties and hardship tend to come true.  Having made the statement, students often don’t try.  The power of imagination can create an insurmountable obstacle.  They have convinced themselves success is unattainable.  This begins the trip down the slippery slope into the pit of boredom, despair and less success in class.  It turns into a no win situation.  A positive attitude helps, but is no guarantee of success.  Simply saying “I can do this” is not enough.  You need to stack the deck in your favor and prepare to do the assignment or task.  For example, a young student says “I want to be a jet fighter pilot but I don’t do math.”  Do you honestly see this person becoming a pilot?

I have seen students contending for athletic scholarships but are failing in my class.  Discouraged, many drift into class late and unprepared.  They don’t submit assignments.  All this leads to poor exam results.  At the end of the term, they beg for a minimum passing grade.  “I know my grades are bad, but I am trying really hard.”  This is attended with statements of the many tens of hours they spent studying for my class.  Yet in their sport, they know practice is required.  They know they must show up at practice and to be on time.  In any athletic competition, there usually is only one winning team.  Both teams enter the match focused on winning.  Both teams are trying very hard.  It is important to try.  Without trying, you have no chance to succeed.  But trying doesn’t guarantee success.  Somehow, these students don’t apply this simple understanding to their academic studies.

No comments:

Post a Comment