Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review #2/ Studying, Memory and Focus

Dear Friends:
I would like to share with you another book that I found interesting and full of important information. The book is titled, Study Smart, Study Less by Anne Crossman. It was published in 2011 by Ten Speed Press. The book emphasizes one of the important points that I am trying to stress this year – everyone has different talents and that “success requires work” (p. 1). In the beginning of the text, the three types of memory are discussed.
Short – Term Memory: can hold +/- 7 pieces of information for a few seconds
Working Memory: actively thinking about information – able to hold the information for a few extra seconds
Long-Term Memory: can hold information from a couple of days or the rest of your life
I love the equation that they put in the book to illustrate how to simply understand memory.
Input + Output = Short-Term memory
Input + Output + Review = Long-Term memory
The more practice one has with the information, the more pathways to long-term memory the brain is making. Additionally the practice of using as many senses as possible in the learning process will increase the likelihood that the information makes it to long-term memory. To save studying time, one needs to understand what type of learner they are. Once this is known, then specific strategies can be utilized that work with a person’s natural strengths. Outside of my office, in the Hillard building, is a bulletin board dedicated to determining one’s strengths and the studying strategies connected to each type of learner. Feel free to stop by and pick up the resources.
Another piece of information that the book presented, that I feel is important, deals with focus. Some valuable tips on how to increase one’s focus:
*eat peppermints – peppermints have been connected to improved memory
* decrease consumption of caffeine
* rubber band snap – when one feels they are losing focus, gently snap a rubber band on your wrist
*yawn as many times as you can in one minute
* get enough sleep – the brain needs time to digest the information and to reboot
Figuring out what works best for you as a learner can sometimes feel like a battle. But just remember “it is a natural and normal part of the learning process to feel frustrated by new subjects or skills, and it’s that struggle that actually makes us smarter and stronger.” (p. 93)
Kim Turse, M.Ed.