Thursday, September 9, 2010

On Science and Good Study Habits

Benedict Carey’s September 6 New York Times article, “Forget What You Know about Good Study Habits,” discusses one of our favorite topics – the practical application of the latest scientific findings about how the mind works to educational strategies. Carey examines recent research in the emerging field of Mind, Brain, and Education and highlights some important and useful conclusions. 

As we learn more about how we store and access information in our minds, we are identifying more and more effective strategies for learning and studying. Recently, a parent told us their son takes a “Drill and Kill” approach to studying. What he meant was that his son repeatedly re-read and re-wrote the same material over and over again. As the Times’ article points out, rather than relying on rote memory, learning is most effective when we use active study strategies, such as those identified in this article: studying in more than one place, studying a range of related material at once, spacing study sessions, and including self-testing as a study strategy. Rather than treating our minds like a suitcase, into which we stuff as much material as we can, we need to be strategic in how and what we store, so we can find it when we need it. 

(Photo by Sue Clark)

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