Meaningful learning

Learning employs many brain functions and you can expect to feel fatigue due to learning.

Sometimes children have difficulties with doing their homework and learning. Sometimes learning can be a real ordeal. You are not motivated, you cannot remember anything, you do not understand what you are learning or its boring… Something more important than doing your homework, which often takes too long, pops up. However, do not get discouraged, because there are ways to help yourself and finally start learning meaningfully.

Here are some ideas how to achieve that:

  • First you need to decide whether you will learn immediately after school, or you will first take a rest. Before starting to learn, you need to find adequate space for learning, which means that:
  • the room must be well-lit, aired, protected from noise (switch off the radio, TV, play-station…)
  • you should remove all unnecessary things from your desk because they distract you
  • if you share room with your siblings, or if you do not have a place where you can learn, you can go to a library (every city library has a reading room or some other room available for learning)

If you do not learn regularly, you probably have a backlog of learning material which you have to deal with for a test or exam. Do not panic. Assess the complexity and amount of the material (number of chapters, i.e. lessons). It is an insight into the material which will help you estimate approximately how much time you need for learning.

On the basis of the insight into the material, design a programme (content) and a plan (how much time you will be learning)

  • - e.g. I need 3 days for history (plan which chapters you are going to learn on Friday, Saturday and Sunday)
  • - include your work habits into the program – place and time (e.g. I will learn from 3 to 5 pm in my room)
  • - it is important to understand when you memorise best, because we are not all efficient at the same time of day (some of us mentally function better in the morning, some in the afternoon, some at night)

There are several ways of learning so you have to understand which is best for you. You can learn by reading (silently or aloud) and by listening (record yourself talking about what you need to learn, or learn with a colleague who retells the content)

Learning by reading can be combined with:

  • underlining – the text is then highlighted – you are double absorbed in the content (reading and underlining),  you better memorise the meaning of the learning material. This is not recommended when you are reading the text for the first time, because then you still do not know what is more and what is less important
  • making notes – by making your own notes you are explaining the learning material to yourself and you improve your memory. Repeat from your own notes, not from a book or somebody else’s notebook
  • formulating questions – write questions which you expect will appear in the test (in order of importance) and answer them

You have to know that efficient learning includes repetition. Why repetition? Because:

- it ensures permanence of memory of the material and makes forgetting more difficult

- it is necessary to repeat more often at the beginning of learning, because memory is then less efficient

- it is best to repeat aloud, in your own words, asking yourself questions and answering them

Learning employs many brain functions and you can expect to feel fatigue due to learning.

The cause of fatigue may be inappropriate learning:

- irregular learning where you, from time to time, have to learn enormous quantities of learning material in a short time without having a rest

- lack of a plan and programme (what you are going to learn, when and where, is not defined)

- the plan does not include time for rest

Boredom because one is not interested in the material, can also be a cause of fatigue. Although it sounds like mission impossible, learning will be easier if you get interested in the learning material. You will achieve nothing by complaining how boring and difficult the material is. The sooner you get down to work and motivate yourself for learning, the more free time you will have.

At the end, wishing you much success in learning, we want you to remember to:

1. Be persistent

2. Keep encouraging yourself

3. Stick to your plan and programme (by learning what you have planned on a daily basis)

4. Reward yourself every time you fulfil your plan