(Your First Job)
Robert Leamnson, Ph D
(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.
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
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.
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:
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?
considering that human learning has two components:
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
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