Monthly Archives: August 2016

Best Techniques to Study Effectively

Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. It is without doubt that we all have to study, and many of us never stop. However, there are techniques that are pivotal to know in order to study effectively and properly. These techniques could be the deciding factor as to whether we pass or fail. These 6 techniques to study effectively are extremely practical and will aid you in your studies.

Note Making
In order to study, a person is required to understand what he or she is learning. A great way of understanding/learning is by making notes of the content you are reading. Note making comprises of linear notes, diagrams, charts, and so forth. The key to any note making is that you make points of the work you understand and not simply rewriting everything you read. An exceptional note making style is using summaries. Summaries are a written record of all the important points in a short and concise version. They’re excellent for using when an exam is fast approaching.

Practice
Studying is meant to enable you to apply your learned knowledge to real life situations. If you’re in the accounting field, the best way to study is by practicing with examples and questions. Answering questions and past year exam papers equips you with knowledge on what to expect from an exam. It’s important that you have all the necessary tools at your disposal, such as a calculator so you don’t waste time on simple equations.

Study Environment and Room temperature
Often enough, we study in a place that we feel comfortable in, but this has both pros and cons. Make sure that the room you’re studying in is not too cold or too warm. A cold room will make you feel uneasy whereas an overly warm room will make you feel lethargic and lazy. Be sure to have a proper ventilation system or simply open up a window. Choose a room/place that you’re well accustomed to, a place you feel comfortable in with good lighting.

Distractions and Interruptions
You may need to decipher between a distraction and an interruption. A distraction is something like your computer or Facebook whereas an interruption is something like a phone ringing or a noisy person. Keep all distractions away from yourself while you’re studying, and choose a time when you’re alone or it’s quiet enough for you to study. It takes a lot of concentration to study properly, and there’s no guarantee that you can focus again once your train of thought is disturbed.

Goal Setting
In order to make progress with your studies, it’s great if you set mini goals or objectives for yourself. Set out an allocated amount of work you want to complete for a day and make sure you do it. Every time you accomplish a mini goal, reward yourself with some free time. This will assure that you’re properly motivated and certainly won’t suffer from a burn out from over-studying.

Sleep, Diet and Supplements
To end this post, I’d like to emphasize that a healthy routine is important to your success with studying. Your body needs to brace itself for intense studying, which is why you should get at least 7 hours of sleep, keeping in mind that the time you get to bed before 12 counts the most. Have a proper diet, including not living off energy drinks or takeout. A proper diet consists of 3 to 5 meals a day with average portions and food that is lean and clean. In order to keep up your strength and mental vitality, you could try out a multi-vitamin, provided that you check with your GP first. The greatest obstacle to face is having a balanced lifestyle, as studying is very time and energy consuming, which is why an overall healthy lifestyle is highly recommended.

Easy Tips to Study Smart and Save Time

I recently got my marks back from University. My grade point average was a 4.2 out of a possible 4.5, resting between an A and a perfect A+. In itself, this isn’t an incredible achievement. But I managed to do this while spending only a fraction of the time studying than many of the people I knew.

Is it just natural talent? Perhaps. I’ve always had a knack for understanding concepts and learning new ideas. But I also believe the way I learned the information played a role. Instead of cramming last minute or memorizing details, I try to organize information in a way that makes it easier to recall.

This strategy of organization I label holistic learning. Holistic learning is simply the process of organizing information into webs, that interconnect ideas. Instead of forcing ideas into your skull, you focus on the relationships between information. Linking ideas together to see the whole, instead of just the parts.

Building an Understanding

Learning is a process similar to building a house. You aren’t fed the complete picture. Limitations on communication prevent the instantaneous transmission of knowledge. Instead you listen to lectures, read textbooks and take painstaking notes to try and comprehend a subject.

You are fed building supplies, bricks, mortar and glass. It is up to you to assemble the building. Unfortunately, most learning strategies fall into two basic types:

Memorization – Instead of building anything you simply stare at each brick for several minutes trying to record its position.
Formulas – This is the equivalent to being blind, fumbling around a new house. You can’t see the building itself but you learn to come up with simple rules to avoid walking into walls.
There is nothing particularly wrong with either of these strategies, assuming they aren’t your entire strategy. The human brain isn’t a computer so it can’t memorize infinite sums of knowledge without some form of structure. And formulas no longer work if the questions they are designed to solve change scope.

Learning Holistically

The alternative strategy is to focus on actually using the information you have to build something. This involves linking concepts together and compressing information so it fits in the bigger picture. Here are some ideas to get started:

Metaphor – Metaphors can allow you to quickly organize information by comparing a complex idea to a simple one. When you find relationships between information, come up with analogies to increase your understanding. Compare neurons with waves on a string. Make metaphors comparing parts of a brain with sections of your computer.
Use All Your Senses – Abstract ideas are difficult to memorize because they are far removed from our senses. Shift them closer by coming up with vivid pictures, feelings and images that relate information together. When I learned how to do a determinant of a matrix, I remembered the pattern by visualizing my hands moving through the numbers, one adding and one subtracting.

Teach It – Find someone who doesn’t understand the topic and teach it to them. This exercise forces you to organize. Spending five minutes explaining a concept can save you an hour of combined studying for the same effect.
Leave No Islands – When you read through a textbook, every piece of information should connect with something else you have learned. Fast learners do this automatically, but if you leave islands of information, you won’t be able to reach them during a test.

Test Your Mobility – A good way to know you haven’t linked enough is that you can’t move between concepts. Open up a word document and start explaining the subject you are working with. If you can’t jump between sections, referencing one idea to help explain another, you won’t be able to think through the connections during a test.
Find Patterns – Look for patterns in information. Information becomes easier to organize if you can identify broader patterns that are similar across different topics. The way a neuron fires has similarities to “if” statements in programming languages.

Build a Large Foundation – Reading lots and having a general understanding of many topics gives you a lot more flexibility in finding patterns and metaphors in new topics. The more you already know, the easier it is to learn.
Don’t Force – I don’t spend much time studying before exams. Forcing information during the last few days is incredibly inefficient. Instead try to slowly interlink ideas as they come to you so studying becomes a quick recap rather than a first attempt at learning.

Build Models – Models are simple concepts that aren’t true by themselves, but are useful for describing abstract ideas. Crystallizing one particular mental image or experience can create a model you can reference when trying to understand. When I was trying to tackle the concept of subspaces, I visualized a blue background with a red plane going through it. This isn’t an entirely accurate representation of what a subspace is, but it created a workable image for future ideas.
Learning is in Your Head – Having beautiful notes and a perfectly highlighted textbook doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the information in it. Your only goal is to understand the information so it will stick with you for assignments, tests and life. Don’t be afraid to get messy when scrawling out ideas on paper and connecting them in your head. Use notes and books as a medium for learning rather than an end result

Tips to Become a Teaching Assistant

In order to do the best job of educating our children, today’s teachers require the help of a teaching assistant. With the guidance of the teacher, you will help deliver the lectures and evaluate the student’s advancement, and more. It is a responsible position that at times can be challenging, but you will be rewarded many times over, knowing that you are making a difference in someone’s life. You’ll be well on your way to a career in education with many opportunities!

What Does A Teaching Assistant Do?

As a teaching Assistant — in order to synchronize instructional efforts — you will be working closely with classroom teachers, helping with the lessons, homework, and student evaluations. To facilitate an understanding of the materials, your duties will include anything from setting up displays — including scientific and art exhibits (such as show and tell models and apparatus) to arranging other educational paraphernalia. Under the guidance and direction of the teacher — you will help deliver the lessons and assignments through presentations, discussions, as well as through other methods such as role playing, and helping children in their show and tell activity. Another important role is that of tutoring — working with children separately or in small groups, helping them to understand the assignments and to strengthen the learning concepts presented by the teacher. You will be involved in all aspects of the teaching experience — from handing out the learning materials and coordinating assessments and homework assignments, to evaluating and scoring assignments and tests (using answer sheets and electronic rating devices)!

Is This Career Right For You?

If you have a passion for education, a love of sharing information, and a desire to improve the lives of others, then the Teacher’s Assistant program is the perfect fit for you! It can be challenging at times, but with patience, adaptability and imagination, it can be very, very rewarding! Just know — you will be shaping future minds!

Where Are The Jobs?

There are many opportunities for Teaching Assistants — right across Canada! As well as being in high demand in colleges and universities, there are a variety of learning environments — such as primary and secondary private/public schools and daycare centers — who are in need of assistance in teaching their students.

Tips to Help Every Child Find Success in Math

Many students believe that math is an inherited ability ­– either they have the math gene, or they don’t. But recent research shows that inborn talent might not be as important as we think. In the long run, the most successful students are often those who work the hardest, not those with the highest IQ’s. These students believe that that perseverance, not an innate gift, is the key to achievement.

In her book Mindset, The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck argues that a positive mindset is what makes some students push themselves when others give up. Students with a “fixed” mindset believe that they were born with a certain set of talents. They see challenges as a sign that they’ve reached the limit of their natural ability, and they stop trying. But students with a “growth mindset” believe that there are no limits on their potential, and view challenges as a chance to learn and improve. They know that their intelligence can be built though experience and effort, and are not held back by the idea of inborn restrictions.

Geoff Colvin delivers a similar message in his book, Talent is Overrated. He demonstrates that success is almost always the result of what he calls “deliberate practice,” a concentrated effort to improve one’s skills through focused effort. Inborn talent might make a difference when a subject is first tackled, but years later it’s the hard workers who are the most successful. Math teacher Kim Callan agrees: “It is rare for a hard-working student to fail my class.”

Parents play a key role in cultivating a child’s mindset. Without positive role models, children can succumb to the idea that if something’s not easy, it’s not worthwhile. Here are some DOs and DON’Ts about helping your child learn that math, like life, is less intimidating if we cultivate the right mindset.

DO tell your child that anyone can succeed in math. Remind him that even Einstein struggled at first: when he was nine, his teacher told his father that no matter what profession Einstein chose, he would never succeed.
DON’T make excuses for your child. I’ve heard several parents say, in front of their children, “I was never any good at math.” That gives the children permission to give up, to believe that math is beyond some people’s reach.
DO praise your child when you see hard work pay off. Use specific examples, like, “You really earned the improvement you made on last test. You did an extra practice test and worked with a study partner.” This reinforces the idea that he is in charge of his own success, and emphasizes the importance of improvement over perfection.
DON’T compare your child’s performance to her peers. This sets up unrealistic measures of success, and takes away from the message of personal improvement.
DO use failure as a chance to learn. If your child does poorly on a test, talk about a time when you struggled. Recount what steps you took to do better. Help him make a study plan for the next test: make flash cards, visit the teacher to review quiz mistakes, and raise his hand when he doesn’t understand the answer to a homework problem.
DON’T go crazy if he fails a test: you’ll miss your chance for a teachable moment. Remind him that challenges are our best chances to learn and grow. See if he can make up the test or do test corrections for extra points. Encourage him to let go of the past and focus on the next opportunity to work hard and improve.
DO hire a tutor if things get hard. Colvin shows that an important part of deliberate practice is having an experienced mentor to keep a student on the right course. Math tutors know how to teach and practice time-tested problem-solving techniques. Look for a tutor who can help your child but also encourages independent effort.
DON’T get into a homework battle. If your student enjoys working with you, then by all means keep it up. But if studying together causes a fight, it’s time to bring in a professional. Otherwise, the interpersonal tension will get in the way of learning. If you can’t hire a tutor, see if your student can work with the teacher after school.
DO make sure that your child is placed in an appropriate level of math. Work with your child’s teacher to find the class that best corresponds to your child’s readiness. Children thrive when they are placed at a level that is neither too difficult nor too easy. “Putting a child in a math class that is too hard is like throwing a non-swimmer into a pool and asking them to do laps,” says Callan. “If you don’t want them to drown, you first need to teach them to float and tread water.”
DON’T insist that your child be placed at a higher level than the teacher recommends. Many children are being pushed by their parents to take advanced classes like Algebra at an age where their brains are not developmentally ready. In those cases, no amount of hard work can make them successful.
DO talk about the importance of character. Find occasions to praise your child’s resilience, curiosity, and persistence. These are qualities that really drive success, in math class and in life.
DON’T dwell on your child’s natural intelligence. If you tell her she’s naturally “good” at math, she’ll feel bewildered when things do eventually get hard. Conversely, if you tell her she’s “not a math person,” she’ll have a hard time overcoming that mindset. It’s best to avoid all labels and focus on effort instead.
DO look for examples of famous people who refused to give up. For instance, Michael Jordan was cut by his high school varsity basketball team. Undeterred, he got up at 6AM every day to practice on his own. When he made his college team, his coach remarked was struck by how he worked harder than anyone else. Basketball didn’t come easily to Michael Jordan: he earned every point he ever made.
DON’T miss the chance to speak up when you hear a story about a “natural talents.” For instance, if you hear someone mention Serena Williams’ or Mozart’s inborn genius, be sure to mention the thousands of hours of practice they put in with their fathers from a very early age.
Having the right mindset is critical to success. Children need to believe in their ability to overcome challenges through concentrated effort. If you place your child in the right math class and encourage her to work hard, there’s no limit to what she will be able to accomplish.