Copyright David Cumming 2012
Having looked in the last post
at trying to get unstuck during the study of a subject, we saw how Goofy eventually got unstuck from the trombone. But what we didn't discuss was how he ended up after getting unstuck. He flew through the air and ended up inside a bush far from the Mickey Mouse Club House.
Art Babbit is credited with creating Goofy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What I would like to look at in this post is what you do after you have gained some degree of understanding from your reading of your textbook and notes. The whole purpose of the previous post was understanding
. What I would like to do now is extend that further. In a sense, this post is going to enable you to deepen that initial level that hopefully you were able attain.
Classify and Arrange what you have Read and Understood
Remember, at this stage, you are not doing any
"studying". You aren't necessarily directly applying any of the chunking
principles that we have discussed before. However, this aspect of classifying and arranging the information that you have understood is absolutely crucial to help you before
you actually begin the task of memorizing
, and applying the information to problem-based
and equation- or solution-based
1. Put infrastructure and textbooks side-by-side.
Textbook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As I noted previously, often your lecture notes will be your infrastructure. The lecturers will give you a very good idea as to what type of skeleton they like their subject they want their subject to have; and how to apply that to each lecture. However
, not every lecturer is of the same quality. Now that you have gained some degree of understanding, put your lecture "skeleton" next to your textbook/textbooks. This is the crucial question : does the lecture-note skeleton measure up to your understanding of your textbook/s reading?
If not, see the next point.
2. Begin to create your own infrastructure.
Pile of textbooks, reading glasses, and a calculator. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yes! You are allowed to do this! One of the driving forces of Schooled for Life is that the Student is the one drives the learning, not the lecturer! You are in control of how to arrange the information to suite how you understand and remember that information! But
, don't misunderstand me here. I am not saying you are allowed to change the facts themselves. I cannot suddenly barge into my lecturer's office and say "The earth is the centre of the universe." Well, I suppose I could, but I wouldn't exactly get very far within the academic community, would I? No. What I am saying is that the way the infrastructure is arranged and given to you can be changed any way you want it to be changed
3. Create your own "textbook".
Skeletons (Photo credit: Jollyboy)
We live in the digital age. Scanning sections in textbooks can take seconds. Arranging them can take seconds. What I mean by "Create your own textbook" is that you can now add the relevant information onto the infrastructure that you have now created. If you are short on time, you could simply draw a large skeleton and write page reference numbers with the relevant textbook under each branch or limb of the skeleton. If you have more time, you can literally create your own textbook by digitally using your own infrastructure as a type of Contents Page, and scan the relevant pages from the textbooks and paste them into the pages in a word processor on your computer. Then, either print it out, or use it on your computer as your own textbook. Be sure to reference all the scans. You could also make a large textbook on a wall in your room. Draw the skeleton, and Prestik the scanned sections from the textbooks under each relevant limb of the infrastructure.
In the next post, I am going to begin a more detailed look at chunking, and will follow that with a cross-referencing system that will blow your mind!