Do you ever sit in class and feel like you’re the only one who can’t grasp the lesson? To your classmates, it seems so easy. You start to doubt yourself. Maybe you’re just not as smart as your peers.
The good news is that may not be the case. You could just be experiencing a clash between a) your learning style and b) your teacher’s approach to teaching. You learn better with pictures, for example, but your teacher mostly discusses the lesson with words.
The solution? Awareness then action. Know your learning style so you can adjust the way you take in information and do a lot better at school!
Take note: Everyone is capable of learning under any style. But your preferred learning style will be your starting point on improving yourself.
3 STEPS TO BECOMING A BETTER LEARNER
Step 1: Pinpoint the ways you prefer to learn
The Index of Learning Styles is one of the most widely used models of learning styles.
Think of the boxes below as a sequence, with one learning technique on the left, and another one on the right.
We’re about to get more technical here, so let’s imagine a scenario. Let’s say today’s class topic is the Harry Potter books. Think about which ways you would most easily learn about the fantasy series.
|You love to memorize! You’d look for the facts such as character names, places, dates, and events.
You’re the person who could easily enumerate the four founders of Hogwarts. You’d probably even memorize the entire family tree of the House of Black, because that’s how you roll.
|The word, “memorization” makes you want to run the other direction. You prefer to analyze concepts, possibilities and relationships. Essays are most likely your favorite part of every exam.
You’d get excited to discuss questions like, “Did Dumbledore make the right decision in leaving baby Harry with the Dursley family instead of keeping him in the wizarding world?” or “Why did Voldemort hate muggles and half-bloods so much if he was a half-blood himself?”
|You prefer pictures! Instead of reading the picture-less books, you wish you could read a graphic novel instead (if there was one). Or maybe you’d rather go on a Harry Potter movie marathon to get to know the story, instead of spending hours and hours reading the books.||You prefer words. You’re happy to read the books or listen to your teacher and classmates talk about the story. You learn best through reading and listening.|
|Say, your teacher gave you a class activity to turn Quidditch into a real-life sport (minus the flying on brooms).
You’d enjoy working with a group to bring Quidditch to life by actually playing it. You even improvise by shooting the balls through some hula hoops. You learn by trying. Physical experiments are your kind of fun.
|You’re a thinker more than a doer. You prefer to work alone. While others like to do experiments, you’d rather learn by analyzing.
You’ll probably think of applying Physics concepts to compute how hard a Chaser should hit a Quaffle to score a goal, or how fast a Seeker should fly to catch the golden snitch.
|You approach learning in a systematic manner, such as a series of steps.
To make sense of a chapter in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, you’d read the section from start to finish. Then you put the puzzle pieces together, so you can form a big picture of what the story is about.
|You prefer to see the big picture first and then fill in the details. Maybe you find yourself skimming through a book chapter or even reading the ending first, so that you know what the story is all about.|
Step 2: Find your “out of balance” areas
As you realize the ways you prefer to learn, you’ll be able to see the areas where you are “out of balance.” These neglected areas limit your ability to learn. For example, if you’re a visual learner, you put yourself at a disadvantage because most classroom setups rely on words (i.e. lectures, discussions, and books). In this case, you’ll have to practice your note-taking and find opportunities to explain information to others using words. Once you know your learning weaknesses, you’ll know what to work on.
Step 3: Balance your strengths with your weaknesses
The first step is to acknowledge the value of other learning styles. If you’re an intuitive learner (concepts and theories), try to change the way you look at memorization and identification-type tests. Force yourself to memorize data, with the mindset that facts will help you better defend or criticize a theory.
When you open yourself up to other learning styles, you find new information and discover different ways of seeing the world.
Know that everyone has their own strengths. You can succeed in your classes. It’s all a matter of knowing what your strengths are so you can use them to your advantage.
Visit the Edukasyon.ph blog for more tips on navigating your way through senior high and college!