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How to Learn to Learn


A child with his mother learning the skills to learn for life

As the school year winds down, it’s time to take stock of the past year. What were areas of success? What were areas that need improvement? What was learned? What was forgotten? What was easy/difficult? What’s coming up next year?

Summer is not the time to forget all things academic: a little bit of brain work every day can help retain skills and make next year better from day one. The long days of summer also afford the opportunity to think about learning, and to think about our attitudes about learning. Preparing to succeed and getting excited about making next year better than the last is step one in seeing positive change in attitude and grades.

Check out these great (and helpful) tips on learning how to learn, from Medium.com (read the full post here)

1. Stop Being Lazy – “Two steps forward and one step back is still 50% faster than doing nothing at all. Don’t look at the height of the wave in front of you, but look at the smallest drop. You can easily beat a drop of water. Take the first step.”

2. Break It Down – “Every large task can be broken down into smaller pieces. Even if the smallest step, like saying the letter A when you are learning the alphabet sounds silly to adults, [but] logical breakdown is a simple tool that toddlers master quickly. If you are trying to learn how to play a song, first learn a single note, then a chord, then the verse, then the chorus, and then the whole thing. At each step, practice and repeat until the smallest action becomes muscle memory. All those small steps combined together become a fluid motion when you reach expertise.”

3. Embrace Failure – “You will fail. Repeatedly. Each amazing photograph you see, has a thousand terrible ones behind it. Each home run, was preceded by many strike outs. Success doesn’t come over night, it comes after a thousand nights of tear your hair out determination and ‘why didn’t I try that before’ experimentation.”

4. Surround Yourself With Positivity – “When the going gets tough, the tough find a cheerleader. As a baby, your parents constantly reminded you how amazing you are. As a teenager, teachers and friends do the same. Find your cheerleader…”

5. Measure Your Progress – “Anything you are learning, you can measure the progress. How many calories did you burn? How many questions did you answer correctly? How fast did you throw that ball today? Grades in school aren’t for you to compare to others, but to compare with your previous self.”

6. Have Fun – “Lighten up and don’t take the process so seriously. Playtime leads to learning. Find a way to make a game out of it or at least enjoy the journey. Your destination is not what you are trying to learn, but the state of being mentally flexible and open.”

7. Challenge Yourself – “Anything worth doing is going to be difficult. We are built to thrive on challenge. If you expected it to be easy, you thought wrong. Even if you have gained some mastery before, each new task has it’s own set of challenges. But if you embrace that head on, nothing will get in your way.”

 

With that advice in mind, set some goals for summer learning, put some effort into tackling trouble areas, and get ready for next year to be the best yet!

For more ideas on how to keep your brain buzzing this summer, click here.

To read more about summer learning and why it’s integral, click here.

To check out Oxford Learning’s Summer Reading Challenge, click here

 

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