Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Being a Better Student

I've been both a student and a teacher and have posted before on tips for students. Here are some additional thoughts (consider it a confessional) on what I should have done more often to be a better student:

  1. Less memorization and more translation. If you cannot explain a concept in plain language, you probably don't know it.

  2. Less procrastination. Work in increments and then review. Don't permit masses of work to accumulate. Recognize that most of us do our best work in short bursts.

  3. More engagement. It is a rare professor who does not appreciate a serious student. Don't make a habit of darting out at the end of class. Stay and ask questions if clarification is needed.

  4. Less resistance. Learning can be like swimming. You can panic at the sense of being overwhelmed or you can relax, comprehend the surroundings, and eventually move forward.

  5. Clear vision. Knowing the subject is not the same as getting a high grade. Understand what is needed for the grade and don't confuse that with a deeper knowledge of the subject. Try to achieve both.

  6. Act like a great student. What do the best students do? They don't spend a lot of time groaning about how tough the class is. They seek help and create a system for absorbing the information.

  7. Know your barriers. What sort of learner are you? Does your impatience cause you to rush through analysis? Are you too analytical? Are you trying to fit the square subject in a round hole? Which parts of learning do you enjoy and which do you dislike? Is your ego causing you to try to bend the subject to your viewpoint rather than accepting the reality of the subject?

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