Build good learning habit – regularly and deliberately
Everybody learns. We may learn different things, but we all learn by doing. Some learn well, many learn badly. We all know that it is quite common that students drop out of school because of multiple reasons. One of them is they could not learn. What can we do about it? Teach them a good learning habit.
A good learning habit is essential to learn any subjects. It means learn regularly and incrementally increase the level of difficulty to stretch our abilities, skills and knowledge. This is called deliberate practice, learning by doing things a little beyond our current ability, based on the theory developed by Lev Vygotsky: zone of aproximal development.
Learning regularly means that students should divide the amount of time to learn into many chunks. For instance, they can learn Maths for 90 minutes each Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week. And they arrange schedule similarly for other subjects that they want to learn or need to learn. Typically, students at High Schools or Universities learn as a full-time job, they have lessons in classrooms and have time for self-study or in group. The common number of hours a student learn per week is about 40 to 55 hours – including classroom and self-study.
Some students learn on a whim or when the due date or exam is reaching, they try to cram. This way is not learning to know and to understand, they just learn to pass exams or finish the homework assignments. It wastes time and effort, and for long-term it is costly for learners do not learn new know-how for their pursposes.
To build good learning habit, students should establish their target first and estimate the amount of time need to reach the target (grade or quality of work and quantity of work). Then, divide the time into small chunk and learn at different times. Students should maintain a reasonable space between two consecutive learning sessions to help the brain absorb knowledge and process the knowledge well into long-term memory and understanding.