Books Corner

How We Learn

I finished reading How We Learn by Benedict Carey about 2 weeks ago, and I finally made myself time to type into this post the notes I made in my notebook.

This book took me straight back in my dorm room. Back at school, back to my room at home. It made me so nostalgic and also made me realize how much I would have loved to read it years ago.

Just like most of kids, I didn’t really love studying. However, I was considered as one of the geeks of my class and that was because I had good grades.

I did study, but most of the time I was just cramming. Learning the day before, stuffing my brain with so much information and forgetting pretty much everything afterwards.

Instead of learning how to learn in order to retain information for longer, I learned how to be a grade hunter. And it worked almost every time.

If you will ask me now about anything I learned, I will probably remember around 10%-15% of everything I studied in 17 years. It would actually be funny to take a test from all that information to check my knowledge. Anyway, this is bad. Really bad!

Many times I feel completely ashamed of not being able to get through a conversation on a subject I technically should have mastered (remember the good grades I was talking about?). I had 17 years to take advantage of every piece of information. It is true that we can’t be good at everything, we cannot like everything and we certainly cannot remember everything, But it is truly embarassing I have such a poor knowledge of what I was given to study.

I now understand why my mother was telling me that I had everything I could possibly need to learn and be on top of the things. Maybe she didn’t use the best approach , but she was definitely right when she kept telling me to study.

There are so many kids on this planet who would give anything for the chance to go to school. For the right to education. I had all that, but I was too busy. And now I would like to be able to take back that time that I wasted making cheat sheets and watching series and bad movies. The nights I wasted on endlessly procrastinated assignments and school projects.

This book was so good that made me want to go to school again, just to have the chance to apply all those techniques. It is so well documented and structured, it also has some applications of the studiesand it takes you from the ways in which your brain works and how memories form, to a handful of amazing techniques of learning.

It would be hard to choose a favourite chapter, because they’re all fascinating and can help you create your personalized learning system, that will not only strenghten your capacity of of learning, but also the capacity of retaining what you are studying.

It’s a good book to help teachers understand how to work with their students, and also parents, to create a good and healthy learning environment for their children.

While surfing Google to find out if there’s a version that also explains to kids how to learn effectively, I found another book that has been released this year in January: How We Learn: The New Science of Education and the Brain, which I have added on my wish list.

Funny it has basically the same title, which made me extremely curious! But I still have quite a tall pile on my windowsill, which I cannot wait to devour.

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