April 1st, 2020
“It is necessary to combine
knowledge born from study with
sincere practice in our daily lives.
These two must go together.”
As society becomes more progressive, changes to the education system are inevitable to meet the complexities of the individual. However that takes time, and for now it is still lingering in its convergent ways. To put it simply, the education system prefers a (convergent) relationship where the teacher dictates and transmits knowledge directly to the student, and they are graded on how well they are able to reproduce the information through tests. With less attention to student’s autonomy and self-expression, it begs the question
of how much is actually learnt. The reason why children and adults forget so easily is because everything newly learnt is stored in the short-term memory and doesn’t become permanently engrained until they are processed and transferred to the long-term memory – and this takes repetition and practice. When studying for a topic, rote learning is a quick solution but once repetition stops, all this energy would have gone in vain. You won’t remember it and will have no use for it in the future. That would be quite pointless. You make no connection between new and previous knowledge to the bigger picture, and most of the time you miss the core concept. Thus, conceptual learning, the act
of putting what you have learnt into practice is essential to understanding the meaning, and more importantly create real growth and intelligence. Not to say that studying and memorising isn’t valuable, but like Dalai Lama said, it must come hand in hand with self-application and how well you personalise what is given. I have gathered that the following methods are a means of practising
The more relatable an idea is, the more potential there is for digestion and meaning because we can easily make connections between facts and reality. So whether it is Math or English, questions that provide a realistic scenario and story are the best for interpretation. Whether students are taking notes from the teacher, ensure that they reword it to a language they understand so it is internalised. If the idea isn’t coming across, it’s probably because it’s not relatable.
Having children learn their timetables for instance is often a task that is underestimated, until both parent and child fall into a hopeless spiral. The trick is to use the formula wherever it is possible until it becomes a skill, for example create challenges where instead of adding they use the skill of multiplying. Have the images of the method placed in important destination points whether it be a specific room or in the car where they are seated. Habits make the man.
Every individual learns differently, but the greatest individuals are those that find pleasure in their learning. A reward system doesn’t have to come externally; the best kinds are those that are set internally. Adults who have developed an understanding of how the world turns and the value of money forget that children and young adults may not as quickly adjust and comprehend the hierarchy scheme. So practicing goals and ambitions, writing tasks down and communicating their dreams is vital to progress. This makes the path rewarding, and every step an important one towards the direction they are facing. With no purpose, individuals move aimlessly, and unsurprisingly see no purpose in learning. Dr Oz, a well proclaimed and recognised health expert, knew from a very tender age of 10 that he wanted to be a doctor inspired by his constant visits to the hospital his father worked in, and eventually became a professional heart surgeon. The underlying message to take away is that change is okay, whether it be goals or career – but it’s not okay to have an aimless mindset. To get somewhere, you need to know where you want to be and it’s a priority no matter the age.
Encourage children to help others on what they have learnt, this for one clarifies and reminds them of their understanding. This is one form of repetition where you are not only gaining by knowledge but also gaining through confidence and communication. It has been proven time and time again how effective “learning by teaching” is and have been demonstrated in many studies.
Learn and then learn some more. Diving deeper into a subject can be rewarding in that there are more connections that can be made, and these connections generate comprehension. To garner value, there needs to be depth. And this explains why patience is key in laying the foundation so that to allow the following years of education to build a structure of knowledge.
Letting go of unhealthy habits is the most understated technique since the beginning of time. As much as there is to practise, in order for the brain to do it efficiently there needs to be space in the memory. Mindless information downloaded into the system by sitting in front of the television is one of the finest examples of how we can quickly dissolve the brain and its power to perceive and excel. To un-stunt and oil up the gears for the brain to turn and function as it should, previous practices need to be reconsidered and undone. We forget that just like there is junk food for the body, there is just as much junk fed to the mind that we have accepted as normal. DNA isn’t nearly as important as lifestyle. To achieve goals, make the right thing to do the easy thing to do. To maximise learning and practice, having
the right environment will manifest development from within. Practice requires effort, and knowledge does not lead to change – understanding does. As much as cigarette smokers know smoking kills, the detriment is abstract until they can see it for themselves – a picture of their rotting lungs. Practice until it becomes intuitive.