Written by Yuri Karabatov. Follow me on Twitter.
“Study is hard work,” school taught us. “Dare to bash the granite of knowledge!”
This attitude to knowledge became ingrained in our souls: chalk, ink and sweat. As a finger-smashing ruler, it stops us doing the impossible.
Succumbing to the calm of TV and remaining ignorant is easier.
It’s high time to banish this conspiracy of difficulty from our minds.
Who’s having all the fun?
Not us definitely.
At school children are copybooks with ears. Nobody cares there’s a mind between those ears which craves knowledge.
At college students are slightly thicker copybooks, which can write twice as fast.
Schoolchildren and students are not encouraged to think. Thinking is movement: arguing and criticizing what’s taught. Pupils should sit still.
Adults end up with disgust to new knowledge, to movement, and total lack of self-study skills.
Next stop: Ancient Greece, the nurse of learning. Greek philosophers didn’t feel like inventing copybooks, instead they taught pupils to think by sieving knowledge through them. Minds were racing, arguing, proving; moving.
Genuine interest in the world around, bordering on burning passion, is the best gift a teacher can make. This art today is almost lost.
Interest on steroids
Remember yourself as a child? You were experimenting all the time. When you were not running, your mind was racing.
Try to remember the children’s “What if …?” attitude and immediate experiment. It’s exhilarating.
Cultivate never-ceasing interest by following a few guidelines:
1. Set your heart on the children’s “What if …?” attitude we’ve just discussed. Cherish this feeling.
2. Interest is the result of flowing attention. Don’t make a brick out of your material, split it into chunks and focus on the small parts instead of the whole. With every pass you’ll notice new details.
3. Switch activities often. When learning a language, have several types of material at hand: textbooks, novels, poems, newspapers. After reading one passage of a novel, read one passage of a newspaper, and then do a couple of exercises in the textbook. It’s that simple. Switch every three or so minutes, and you won’t be bored.
4. Don’t try to memorize on first pass: you are not a robot. It’s much better for memory to return to the material several times. Run ahead often, and skim what you have to study next. Go back as often to review what you’ve learnt.
Some of these guidelines were coined by Valery Kourinsky, master of self-education and author of “Autodidactics”. Browse through his work in English on ceptualinstitute.com. If you read Russian, check out postpsychology.org.
Emotions are salt for memories
Amygdala, though a small part of human brain, links memories and emotions. Blocking amygdala prevents long-term memories from appearing.
The opposite is true as well: brighter and stronger emotions help us memorize without effort.
Now, what it interest? Interest is nothing less than a powerful positive emotion, which affects amygdala in the best possible way, thus reinforcing long-term memories.
Work is a crime
I believe it’s obvious that hard unforgiving work is a punishable crime: armed with passionate interest, you can transform toil into a pleasurable, joyful journey, while having razor-sharp focus and learning quickly.
Cultivate burning desire for knowledge, and there will be no limits to what you can achieve.
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