Thursday, September 11, 2014

How Do You Learn?

You've started a new school year, and you may already be swamped with homework, tests and the dreaded science fair project.

If you find yourself struggling to learn, unable to memorize what your teacher assigns or having trouble remembering what you read in your text books, you might be trying to learn in the wrong way!

Some people learn best by seeing something. For them, maps, diagrams, charts and written instructions are the best way to learn.

Some people learn best by hearing information. Having someone read new material to them or even reading it aloud is the best way to learn. Having music on in the background while studying also helps them focus.

If you learn best by seeing and hearing, you probably can learn what your teacher says or shows on the screen in your classroom. But if you're the third kind of learner, those things are as effective for you. You need to do something in order to learn or retain it.

Not sure which kind of learner you are? Here's a quiz from The Christian Girl's Guide: The Quiz Book to help you find out.
Order it Here or at your local Christian bookstore.

 Circle the letter in front of the answer that sound most like what you would do. Try to choose an answer for each question even if you’ve never been in that situation.
1. You’ve moved to a new school. You aren’t really sure where everything is located. The best way for you to find things would be to have:
a. Studying a map that shows you where everything is.
b. Someone to explain to you where to find what you need.
c. A guide to walk you where you need to go.

2. You are going to take a test about the states. You have to be able to label them on a blank map. The best way for you to learn them would be:
a. Studying a map with the states labeled on it, and then trying to write the state names on a blank map.
b. Singing or saying the states' names out loud while pointing to them on a map.
c. Cutting the practice map your teacher gave you into pieces and trying to put it back together like a puzzle.

3. It’s time to work with fractions: dividing shapes into halves, thirds, and fourths. The best way for you to learn this is to:
a. Study the drawings in your book.
b. Have the teacher or friend explain to you how to do it.
c. Practice cutting pizzas into those fractions.

4. You need to learn a verse for your Sunday school class. The best way to learn it would be:
a. Write it on your dry-erase board where you can see it. Erase a word at a time and try to see the missing word in your mind. Do this until you know the whole verse.
b. Say the verse to a rhythm until you can say it without looking.
c. Bounce a basketball. Say one word for each bounce. Do this until you can “bounce out” the whole verse.

5.  Your teacher gives the first word of a spelling test. You know how to spell the word because:
a. You can see the word in your mind.
b.  You can hear yourself spelling the word.
c.  You know how it feels to write the word.

6. You have a book report due. You haven’t read the book yet. You prefer to:
a. Read the book.
b. Listen to the audio book.
c.  See the movie with friends. (although the movie often isn't the same as the book!)

7. You need to get the book report ready. You plan to:
a. Do a written report.
b. Do an oral report.
c.  Act out a scene.

8. You need to do a science project about how crystals form. You think the best way is to:
a. Write a report and include charts and graphs to illustrate the process.
b. Do a recorded presentation on how crystals form.
c.  Grow crystals at home and take them in to science class.

9. You need to know how many cups are in a pint, how many pints in a quart and how many quarts in a gallon. The best way to remember is:
   a. Draw a picture showing the amounts.
b. Make up a rhyme about the correct amounts.
c. Take measuring cups and different-sized cartons to the sink and learn it by doing it.

10.  You have to memorize the Gettysburg address. You practice by:
a. Writing it out until you can do it by memory.
b. Singing it until you can do it by memory.
c. Acting it out with hand motions.

Count up how many a’s, b’s, and c’s you have.
     Many people learn in more than one way, so if you have some a’s, b’s, and c’s, that’s okay. The best way to learn something is to see it, hear it, and do it. But there is probably one way that is the best for you.
If you have mostly:
a’s You are a visual learner. That means you learn best when you see things. You would rather read a book than hear it read. Charts, graphs, maps, flashcards, and illustrations all help you when it’s time to study. If you have to remember something, try drawing it or writing it out.
B’s  You are an auditory learner. That means you learn best when you hear things. You would rather hear a story read to you than read it silently to yourself. Songs, rhymes, and saying things aloud help you when it’s time to study. If you have to remember something, sing it to a tune you know or rap it out.
C’s  You are a kinesthetic learner. That means you learn best when you can do an experiment or activity, or when you can use your body to learn. You would enjoy acting out a book as a play more than reading it or hearing it read. If you have to remember something, doing it will help you. You might use magnetic letters to practice your spelling words, or write them on paper then cut them up and put them back together like a puzzle.You might also want to learn sign language and use the signs for each letter or word to learn new things.

Knowing your learning style can help you study better and remember more.

Try this:
Pick three different ways to learn your spelling words (or something else that you have to memorize) this week. Try writing words and erasing a letter at a time until you can spell them. Learn them to a tune, or try spelling them to a rhythm while bouncing a ball or jump roping.

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