1 June 1997
Make Learning Easier Part 1
Learning Tips For All Ages
Just as in other multiplex dynamic situations such as
games (where "a miss is as good as a mile" and even an inch makes huge
differences in outcome): even the littlest things can make huge
differences in how well or how poorly you learn. --Or how well others whom
you care about are able to learn. Lack of some obvious practice or
strategy can get you life-branded as a poor learner. Picking up on some
little knack can get you on a roll instead and mark you as a great, gifted
learner or even a genius. Here are some tips on some of these little
knacks. If some seem overly obvious to you, others might not. If with some
of these you think they couldn't possibly make that much difference, try
them and see for yourself.
You've taken too many people's word for too many things.
It's time you check some things out for yourself instead of waiting for
school-based authorities (with their own mixed agendas and purposes) to
tell you what's what. So--
Some Hot Tips for Little Knacks of
1. Turn "dry facts" into memorable
experiences. Use your imagination and involve all your
For example, turn the "dry facts" about such historic
events as the Battle of New Orleans into: hunkering down behind hasty
fortifications in the heat, with the smell of mud and sweat and
gunpowder, watch the British main force coming directly at where you've
fortified most strongly instead of where you were weakest and the mixed
anxiety and relief feelings that gives you there at those main
fortifications.... And the mix of feelings you get weeks later, after
all that you and everyone went through to win that victory, when you
learn that the War of 1812 with England had actually ended before you
had to fight that battle.....
Or, for example, take the "dry facts" of C=2 pi R or A =
pi R squared. Imagine being an inch worm the length of pi chasing his
own tail around and across circles and observe everything you can from
being that inchworm. Or measure off the relationships involved in terms
of your own physical body, discover where pi comes to from here to there
in your own body, feel those relationships in your own
--Or be a participle dangling on the end of a sentence
or clause. With great effort and resolve, pull yourself back from the
precipice toward a more comfortable place in that
--Imagine the mixed exhaustion and elation and other
feelings Thomas Edison must have felt all through his body when, at long
last, he realized that he was looking at a successful filament for his
--Or the astonishment and excitement Elias Howe must
have felt as he emerged from the sweaty breathless dry-mouthed terrors
of his nightmare. --When he realized that those odd holes in the
spearheads of the attacking cannibals in his nightmare were the key
solution for the sewing machine he had been trying for so long to
Make your "dry facts" utterly
2. Talk your way through the key points
or issues. --WITH someone.
Talk problems through with a pal, whether these are math
problems, science problems, problems of the school, at home or personal
problems. (Also keep a private diary or journal for these things, and/or
record these things also onto a tape recorder.)
Take turns. Going through the problem, one of you
describes everything that's going through your awareness as you do that,
not just what you're "supposed" to be talking about - to give the rest
of your mind the chance to relate to the problem.
Your pal is listener, not interrupting, just listening
and urging you on when need be, until you hit your "a-HA!" Take turns
and be patient enough as a listener to let your pal hit his or her own
"a-HA!" instead of letting on how you've already figured things
When it's your turn to describe freely and to have a go
at solving the problem, allow your own ideas and perceptions, and
descriptions of your ideas and perceptions, to surprise you!
--Because often the answer comes from unexpected directions if you let
it, and balks when you don't.
3. Experiment and Record:
If a problem seems difficult, experiment with putting
the problem into a different form and solving that one, then come back
to the main one. Also--
Experiment with imagining whatever's in that problem
being bigger or smaller, or changing with time, or standing it upside
down, or being in different colors, as another way to "get a handle on
After such experimentation, and after talking problems
through with a pal, review what you did to see if you can find out from
what happened, something that will make your next problem-solving be
easier and more accurate.
4. Treat what you don't understand, in
what you're learning, like problems and do to them what you did to
problems in #'s 2 & 3 above.
Whatever the state of your learning and your history as
a learner, some parts of your learning have gone easier than have other
parts. Not all of which is attributable to good or bad teachers or
texts. Compare everything that was going on for you in your most
successful leanings with the counterparts of those factors in your other
subjects. Brainstorm all possible factors, don't edit until you have
maybe 50 or more items. Then sit down to see what items you might find
it useful to give some attention to.
5. To make sure you understand
something, explain it to someone much younger than you are and make THEM
One of our most famous educators, Jerome S. Bruner, once
said that you can teach any idea or concept to anyone at any age level,
provided you put it to him in his own conceptual vocabulary. That is, in
terms that he already understands. In your search to find the terms
which someone much younger than you understands, you strengthen your own
grasp on that point of understanding immensely.
To the youngest among my
You might not have to get a teacher or parent to explain
any of the above to you. --Just get together with two or three friends.
Each of you take turns explaining the above to each other, in
To all of you reading this:
You have brains enough to run a galaxy. What are you doing
One of the most frequently used paths to genius: find a
knack that works for you. Get on a roll. Find ways to stay on that roll.
Find ways to return to being on that roll, until so much else falls into
that roll that even you begin to realize that you are, indeed, a
Getting At Your Own Einstein
Some Ways to Get At Your Own Real
Albert says: to practice some form of my Deep
Thought Method: Let your imagery play, examine it as closely as
possible to see what you can learn from it. We say, practice
Socratic forms of Einstein's Deep Thought Method. While observing
these free images, describe them in detail to a listener; be
surprised at what comes up for you.
Here are a few of the many additional ways to bring
up your own very real genius to enrich your life:
1) Find ways to "get on a roll," stay on a roll, get
back to being on that roll, until more falls into it.
2) Find ways to verbally describe "the
indescribable:" where you have to "reach" to convey an effect, is
your growth zone.
3) Pick up on and describe subtleties and nuance.
These arise in parts of your brain usually offline from where you
are verbally focussed, conscious. Describing subtler impressions
reinforces more and more onto line with your immediate consciousness
those subtler regions of your brain, together with their
4) Improve the physical health and condition of your
a) Improve circulation to your brain;
nutrition to your brain;
c) Improve your brain's