Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fostering Study Skills

In January I posted about brain science and how we should take it more seriously within the education industry. I was thus pleased to see a new NY Times piece called Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits. This articles uses current science to re-present what is involved in effective studying. A few highlights:
  • It's better NOT to study in one place. Why? "The brain makes subtle associations between what it is studying and the background sensations it has at the time, the authors say, regardless of whether those perceptions are conscious. It colors the terms of the Versailles Treaty with the wasted fluorescent glow of the dorm study room, say; or the elements of the Marshall Plan with the jade-curtain shade of the willow tree in the backyard. Forcing the brain to make multiple associations with the same material may, in effect, give that information more neural scaffolding."
  • Vary study methods and switch between them regularly. 
  • Test frequently--the recall is good practice.
I intend to share and reinforce these methods in my classes. I also may try to teach material in new settings more often.

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