Saturday, May 3, 2014

Your Brain is a Wonderful Tool... When You Use It.

So, how long has it been? Close to 20 years. Yeah, about 20 years ago, I learned that taking notes is the same thing as telling yourself, "I'll learn it later." Of course that is an over simplification. You should still take notes on what is absolutely-essential-to-remember facts such as dates, names, etc. that you might forget in the long term. This was something I actually learned when taking a memory course, so I put a fair amount of stock in it. The memory course itself was fantastic and I still use many of the tricks I learned from it in my daily life.


Fast forward about 4 years and I found myself passing this, now proven, method along to my students--I had been using what I learned in the memory course for years, and it had proved completely accurate in my own learning processes. Many students ignored my insistence, of course, and proclaimed themselves too old, or whatever. But I continued my insistence that it worked. In fact, I used the tricks I had learned in the memory course to remember all the names of the students in the class after only a couple minutes of introduction from each of them. Yet, many still didn't trust my advice and said I had a photographic memory, or whatever. Trust me, no photographic memory here.

Now jump forward to this article (http://io9.com/students-do-better-on-tests-when-they-take-notes-by-han-1571328675) that was shared with me on G+ today, and you can see yet another correlation--pay attention to what is being said, and don't waste your time on trying to take notes and you'll do better. Again, a bit of hyperbole there, you still have to take some notes, but the key is to actually pay attention to the lecture, not to the act of taking notes because again, you are subconsciously telling yourself, "I don't want to learn this now, I'll learn later," but later is too late because you've lost much of the context of what was said.