Improving Ease and Powers of Understanding

by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
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A typical student in The United Kingdom will study 6-7 academic subjects during a seven-period day, with each lesson period lasting 35 minutes. How can this student develop a regular revision strategy, i.e. same day, 24 hours, one week, one month that will encourage deep-level learning so that the information is meaningful? Should the notes be re-read?

This question came from the UK, but such conditions are not all that different elsewhere, including here in the USA. Answering that question afforded the opportunity to pull into a simple single focus much of what anyone can do to tremendously improve his ease and powers of understanding when learning a topic, subject, skill or whatever proficiency. Here for your use and that of people whom you care about is this simple single focus, in this one short letter.

We’ve started recommending three particular processes to use with each unit of learning which involves much in the way of understanding. These are:

  1. At the conclusion of each substantial unit of learning, 10-20 minutes of Freenoting, so it is your own free associations which are engaged with the topic instead of someone else’s. All learning IS by association. This connects you with your understandings. See full directions in Freenoting. I cite this first, since it’s an easy method and has no pre-requisites, contrasted to what I recommend below for the start of every unit of learning. Where the material is easy or trivial and is more memorization rather than understanding, it may not be practical to Freenote each lesson for 10-20 minutes, but make that a routine for units which are more of a challenge to understand.

    Windtunnel is a way to Freenote for those who prefer talking to writing.
  2. During each unit of learning, substantial or otherwise, use your imagination to make for colorful, sensory-involved experiences and, indeed, engage the processes of “Frame One”, which you will find described in Beyond Teaching and Learning. Make this type of process routine for both your classroom experiences and your assignment reading.
  3. At the start of each unit of learning, take a moment to set Predictive Imagery. For this, you may have to first learn and practice Image Streaming; but once you have that, this process is extremely time-productive for you and much else will also work better for you.

All three of these procedures should be practiced until they are automatic reflex for you. #2 and #3 will then cost only moments and return hours where you’d otherwise be wrestling with your notes, marginal notes and highlighted passages. #1 costs some minutes but returns huge dividends in major understanding.

Use Borrowed Genius mainly with special subjects, special skills, anything it is something of a challenge for you to master. Your first encounter with it could take 30-60 minutes with full focus and intensity, but after 2-3 rounds you should be able to alternate 3-4 minutes of Borrowed-Genius experience with 5-20 minutes of real-time practice and exploration of the same topic or skill, alternating these back and forth until the inner genius experience becomes one with the outer real-time efforts.

If you’ve learned Image Streaming, then it will be easy, practical and productive for you to rebuild your aptitudes in a particular topic or skill or subject area, via the procedures which are waiting for you in the article, “Build Your Ability to Understand Everything!” (Winsights No. 44, August 2000).

You can easily remove stress, generally via “Breathing as a Way of Life—Part 1” and “Part 2”, and with regard to particular topics or fields or skills, or even “blocked” subjects or even phobias, with simple ways of using your breathing, as per “Breathing As Therapy?” (Winsights No. 69) and “How to Unblock Blocks and Undo Phobias” (Winsights No. 82).

There are plenty of other methods also which can boost your learning way out the top of your situation. Some of them are ours, some of them by other sources. In fact, one thrust we’ve recently developed is a way to turn i>any problem-solving method into a Superlearning method. See the four questions and article posted at A Huge Untapped Resource. Since there are literally hundreds of various effective problem-solving methods now in professional practice use around the planet, many of them freely available to you, you have plenty of sources and resources to draw upon. Enjoy the road, not only just anticipate where you want the road to take you to.

It is entirely and directly in your hands, how well you learn, in and out of school. You can be in a top school and learn brilliantly. You can be in a truly awful school—some of them are—and nevertheless learn brilliantly (though that might not translate directly into grades). You now have these tools—these are now times when you might well want to upgrade your own proficiencies as well as strengthen the success of children and people whom you care about—and your level of success is now entirely up to you. And what becomes available to you through learning is a good part of the human adventure.

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