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Studying is a Skill

Author: Pencil Case  Date: 12 May 2022

Developing Skills = Developing Success

Research on genetics shows that there is less than 2% genetic variation between all the 7 billion humans on the planet. This means that every person in your class has a brain that is almost identical to every other brain in the room or the world. Strange, that with very similar brains, some people manage to do well in school and some struggle. Research on mental performance shows that there is some variation in peoples' abilities to perform mental tasks, but by far there is one big difference between the successful and the not so successful. The difference is that the successful have learned the skills and techniques of maximising their potential. You can tell the same information to two different people, and one will remember that information better than the other. The key reason this happens, is because of the way the first person thinks about the information and not because of the quality of their brain. This will become obvious when we look at memory techniques.

Studying is a skill like riding a bike

When a person first gets on a bike, they can't ride it, but soon, with a bit of practise they can. If, after learning to ride, you saw that person ride a bike then another person who had never ridden a bike, you wouldn't for a moment say the second person will never ride that bike. You would never say that they are a "dumb" rider, you would just say it will take a little time and practise and then they will be as good as they first person. The same goes with study. If you are not as good at a topic as the person next to you, it is almost certain that they have learned to "ride" that topic and that they have had more practise than you. If you learn the skills of study and do the practise, you can get much closer to achieving your potential.

Activity 1

You are probably more effective than you realise. Think about one trick that you have learned to make you better at your studies in some way. For example, "when I listen to the teacher, I learn more".

In your notebook, write down all the things you currently know about learning more effectively.

Activity 2

Develop the skill of becoming more observant. Look straight down at the floor. Without looking, can you tell me what the ceiling looks like? Now look up. Were you right? Now look around you. What is the doorknob like? What is the eye colour of the person sitting closest to you? What colour is the carpet? Is there a sign on the wall? What does it say?

Keep looking and listening around the room. Being observant is a great way to develop your brain and mental abilities. Try this on the way home - just look at everything around you and observe what is happening.

In your notebook, write yourself a goal to become more observant.

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