Learni...n_Learning_Your_First_Job - Leamnson Learning...

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Leamnson 1 Learning (Your First Job) by Robert Leamnson, Ph D Introduction (Don’t skip this part) These pages contain some fairly blunt suggestions about what to do in college. Some of them may seem strange to you, some might seem old fashioned, and most will come across as labor intensive. But they have worked very well for many students over the past 20 years, since the first edition came out. This edition is more up to date, but the basic message has not changed much. A fundamental idea that you will encounter over and again, is that learning is not something that just happens to you, it is something that you do to yourself. You cannot be “given” learning, nor can you be forced to do it. The most brilliant and inspired teacher cannot “cause” you to learn. Only you can do that. What follows are some fairly explicit “learning activities” or behaviors, but they are all your activities, and now and then those of your fellow students. But there is also a basic assumption underlying these ideas, and that’s that you do want to learn something while getting a diploma. Without that desire, nothing will work. Some words we need to understand It happens, too often, that someone reads a passage or paragraph, as you are, and gets an idea very different from what the writer intended. This is almost always because the reader has somewhat different meanings for the words than did the writer. So that we don’t have that problem here I’ll make clear the meanings I intend by the words I use. We’ll start with: Learning: While few people think of it this way, learning is a biological process. It is indeed biological because thinking occurs when certain webs (networks) of neurons (cells) in your brain begin sending signals to other webs of neurons. You, of course, are not conscious of this process, but only of the thought that results. But there is no doubt that thinking is the result of webs of cells in your brain sending signals to other webs. How can knowing what causes thought help in the learning process? Start by considering that human learning has two components: 1) Understanding 2) Remembering Either of these by itself is not sufficient. Knowing a bit about how the brain works when you’re thinking will help you to see why both understanding and remembering are necessary for learning. Anytime you encounter a new idea (and that, after all, is why you are in college) you need to “make sense” of it, or, to understand it. And if you are actually trying to
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Leamnson 2 make sense of it, your brain is firing a lot of webs of neurons until one or more of them “sees” the logic or causality in a situation. Understanding sometimes comes in a flash and we feel, “Oh, I get it!” Other times it takes repeated exposure or the use of analogies until we finally “get it.” But if we never get it, then we still don’t understand—we haven’t tried enough circuits in the brain. So, right from the beginning, making sense of what you read or hear involves
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This note was uploaded on 03/17/2011 for the course PSL 200 taught by Professor Averback during the Fall '11 term at University of Toronto.

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Learni...n_Learning_Your_First_Job - Leamnson Learning...

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