The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice. – Brian Hrbert
Are you left handed, or right? Whichever you are, consider trying this:
- writing anything with your non-dominant hand. Sentences, drawings, flow diagrams etc. How difficult did you find it? What words would you use to describe your experience (awkward, tough, strenuous, hard, complicated, frustrating etc).
Most people find it a challenge to write anything with their non-dominant hand, however, if you had no choice but to use this hand due to an accident, how would your competence change over time? Short answer, it would improve. There are many examples of musicians who have no arms, legs etc and can play music very well. They re-taught their bodies to do things they thought was impossible.
This ability of your brain to re-learn how to control something is called brain plasticity. Neuroscientists know that when we learn something new, our brain cells (neurons) fire in a particular way to make a ‘pathway’ of activity. How often we use those neurons for the learning activity makes a difference in how fast we recall and can use the information.
Practice makes Perfect
By continuing to use these neurons, we make it easier to learn a new skill. Obviously, we must be careful when learning it and practising it as if we practise incorrect skills or actions then we will be perfect at making those incorrect skills etc. BUT, if we ensure the information is correct, we get better.
Think of how you learnt to talk or read. At the beginning it was slow, hard, frustrating etc but with perseverance, practise you improved. You no longer need to think about reading, it just happens AND the small little mistakes you made when you started to read, are now no longer an issue.
Learning and Minsets
The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Many students (and adults) fall into the long held trap that making mistakes means you are ‘dumb’, not up to the task, will never understand the information and not learning the material.
On the contrary, making mistakes is part of the learning process and means you are making new neural connections and getting a better understanding of the material.
In fact, Thomas Edison made over 2,500 prototype light bulbs before he made one that was commercially viable. Albert Einstein said ‘genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration’. Both of these examples illustrate that learning involves HARD WORK and continued persistence rather than getting is right the first time!
Re-thinking your mindset and point of view- challenmege yourself to change.
Examine the chart below which is taken from a wall in my classroom. It gives students alternative ways to think about classroom challenges. Don’t fall into the fixed mindset, constantly challenge yoursself to look at a problem through the eye of a ‘Growth Mindset’
When you approach a new or challenging situation in your learning, rather than fall into negative self-talk, challenge yourself to always think in the positive Mindset column.
Mr Darin Carr