We are all different. This statement is not profound because it is something you already knew; I didn’t have to tell you so. But what you might not know is how this difference might be affecting the way you learn and thus affecting your grades.
What does Learning Style mean?
Simply put, it means the way you acquire and process information best. We all have a natural ability for something, or a natural interest in something. This may well mean that if this part of us is stimulated, then we learn better than through other stimulants. For example, if you are musically inclined, learning through the use of music, rhythm, etc might be the best way to learn and get those good grades in even maths and the sciences.
So if you spend hours and hours poring over your school notes and textbooks, but your efforts don’t produce high grades maybe the problem doesn’t lie with you but with the way you are being taught. If your teachers or tutors use only one method of teaching, for example lecture style, then they are not allowing all of their students to maximize their potential to learn. Not everyone is an auditory learner. Certainly some students in the class learn well when they hear information, but remember we are all different and some of us have to see things, we are called visual learners.
Even though we may be different kinds of learners, we often are not just one kind. We will be a combination of two or three styles with a one or two being higher on the scale. So see yourself as a multi-facet person; complex.
What Should You Do?
If you are taught under a rote learning system where the teachers at school deliver lectures with little other teaching methods used, then there are two things you can do:
Chance Schools – Unfortunately for many, this is not an option; the schools that use a constructivist teaching methods may be unattainable due to unavailability or too costly. But if you do have the opportunity to attend such a school, the teachers will use a variety of different teaching methods so ALL students can understand their subjects.
Change your Study Habits – This might be your best option regardless of the school you go to. Here are some things you can do to change the way you learn:
- Construct your own knowledge – don’t just memorise the facts but try to make sense of the information. Ask questions such as: How does it relate to me? Is there something in my surroundings where this exists or is used? How can I use this knowledge now or in the future? For example, it might be as simple as figuring out how the electricity in your house works . Now that is science!
- Discuss it – Some statistics show that we retain 50% of the information we discuss. So find a group of friends or a family member where you can discuss what you are learning. Some of the best maths students at universities in Canada work on a buddy system for studying.
- Teach someone else – It is reported that our retention rate when we teach someone is 90%. Therefore try to find someone you can teach; a younger brother or sister, a schoolmate that isn’t doing so well or underprivileged children who cannot go to school.
- Add dimension to your study methods – Incorporate diagrams, acronyms and other aids into your school notes and studies. Don’t just limit your notes to the written word. Try learning the different branches of science by making a tree and adding ‘science’ branches.
So, don’t get discouraged if you are not doing so well at school – it might not be your fault entirely. Do try some of these different study methods into your weekly routine and you will see a difference in your marks. And for those who are not studying as hard as they should, take these lessons here and set up a study program now.