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Posts Tagged ‘Learning Theories’

Tips for Effective Study

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

There are some general study tips that can help your study:

Make things interesting.
There is little doubt that no two people study the same way, and it is a near certainty that what works for one person may not work for another. No one would argue that every subject that you have to take is going to be so interesting that studying it is not work but pleasure.
You can make a group effort. Get some friends together – friends who are actually interested in studying, that is – and have everyone bring over their flash cards. Pass them around and quiz each other. If anyone is unclear on a concept, take turns explaining them to each other

Manage your time.
Time is the most valuable resource a student has. It is also one of the most wasted of resources. The schedule you develop should guide you in how to allocate the available time in the most productive manner.
Before you even begin to think about the process of studying, you must develop a schedule. If you don’t have a schedule or plan for studying, then you will not have any way of allocating your valuable time when the unexpected comes up. A good, well thought out schedule can be a lifesaver. It’s up to you to learn how to develop a schedule that meets your needs, revise it if necessary and most important, and follow it.
Don’t be afraid to revise your schedule. Schedules are really plans for how you intend to use your time. If your schedule doesn’t work, revise it. You must understand that your schedule is to help you develop good study habits. Once you have developed them, schedule building becomes easier.

Try to focus using a question/answer process.
Ask yourself questions about the material that you have just studied at the end of the study. Write each answer on a piece of paper; do this a few times if some facts are particularly elusive.

Find a good study spot.
You can study anywhere. You should feel comfortable, but not so comfortable that you risk falling asleep – a bed isn’t a very good study spot when you’re tired! The place where you study should be relatively quiet (traffic outside your window and quiet library conversations are fine, but interrupting siblings and music blasting in the next room are not). Libraries, study lounges or private rooms are best.

Study in 20-50 minute chunks.
It takes time for your brain to form new long-term memories, and you can’t just keep studying flat out. Take 5-10 minute breaks minimum and do something physically active to get your blood flowing and make you more alert. Do just enough to get yourself pumped, but not worn out.

Rewrite your notes at home.
When you’re in class, emphasize recording over understanding or neatness when you take notes. Rewrite your notes as soon after the class as possible, while the material is fresh in your mind so that you can fill in any gaps completely from memory. The process of rewriting your notes is a more active approach to studying–it engages your mind in a way that just reading the notes doesn’t.

The study skills presented here depend on one thing, and that is your willingness to WANT to improve and do well in school. If you really don’t want to make the effort and sacrifice, no amount of suggestions, ideas, or outlines can help much. You are the one who is responsible for your education, and effective study skills can help you. To that end, one last word of advice – work smart, not hard.

Learning Second Language – Myths & Facts

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Second language learning refers to the learning of a new language besides the native language. There are many second language learning theories that aim to explain the way second language is learnt and which approach is the best.

The Behaviorist Theory: under this theory it is believed that the second language learning learner tries to imitate what he hears and practices the second language regularly to develop habits in the language. This theory also believes that learners try to relate their knowledge of the native language to the second language and this could lead to positive as well as negative results. However the imitation of one language with the other is not appreciated as this does not help in real life situations.

The Cognitive theory: this theory elaborates the learner’s ability to use his cognition skills in order to work out in the second language on his own. They try to notice a pattern and based on this make their own rules and if they are faulty, they change them accordingly. Here the learners are benefited in the sense that they constantly learn from their mistakes. However this theory has certain problems, one of them being that the learner not only makes use of his cognitive skills to make assumptions about the second language but are due to the rules based on the native language. Also it is not always sure what the person learning the second language meant to say, determination of error becomes slightly difficult.

The Critical Period Hypothesis: as per this theory, there is a certain period in the life of a person in which he must learn a language. Once this period is over, second language learning becomes nearly impossible. The basis on which this theory is based is that the brain is fully developed by puberty and hence language learning becomes extremely difficult after this. Therefore this theory is of the view that second language learning must always occur before puberty when the brain is still in the developmental stages. However the theory has some exceptions as many people are able to master the vocabulary and syntax of a second language after puberty.

The Natural Order Hypothesis: according to this second language learning theory the acquisition of second language occurs in a natural and predictable order and is the same for the native and the second language. It shows that whatever the background of the learner, some of the errors made by them are similar to what they make when learning their native language.

Second language learning myths

Myth 1: the best way to learn the second language is by going to the country.
Myth 2: the best way to speak a language is to speak it.
Myth 3: It’s okay to make mistakes
Myth 4: As a beginner, you are sure to make mistakes.
Myth 5: as a foreigner, you would always have a foreign accent.
Myth 6: if you did not learn a language as a child, you would never be proficient in its grammar
Myth 7: study of pronunciation is not important.

However the facts are entirely different from these myths and one must not base his second language learning on these myths and make use of consultations, self-study kits and avoid mistakes to be proficient in the second language.