START THE YEAR BY LEARNING AND PRACTICING INTELLIGENTLY

START THE YEAR BY LEARNING AND PRACTICING INTELLIGENTLY

As we venture into the new year and all the possibilities it brings, we take a look at the learning skills and habits one could inculcate and maintain to achieve success in 2018 and beyond.

In today’s world, knowledge and information are snowballing at such an astronomical rate suggesting that no one can learn everything about every subject, what may appear true today could be proven to be false tomorrow, and repeatedly we hear the jobs that students will get after they graduate may not yet exist. For this rationale, students need to be taught how to process, parse, and use information, and they need adaptable skills they can apply in all areas of life—just teaching them ideas and facts, without teaching them how to use them in real-life settings, is no longer enough.

I am an avid supporter of teaching “21st century skills”, a term that is used frequently in educational circles to refer to a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits and competencies that go beyond what has traditionally been taught in the classroom, including critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, communication, creativity and innovation.  While the term is commonly used in education, it is not always defined reliably, which can lead to confusion and divergent interpretations. In addition, a number of associated terms—including applied skills, cross-disciplinary skills, interdisciplinary skills, transferable skills, transversal skills, non-cognitive skills, and soft skills, among others—are also commonly used in reference to the general forms of knowledge and skill commonly associated with 21st century skills.  It certainly begs the question if there is a better name than 21st Century skill learning?

While some of these wide-ranging and amorphous body of knowledge and skills that is not easy to define and that has not been officially codified or categorised, it cannot be denied that the 21st century skills are relevant to all areas of schooling and academic study.  There is however one key and primary skill in which 21st century skills can intersect with efforts to improve education: a skill to learning intelligently.

DO YOU LEARN AND PRACTICE INTELLIGENTLY?

Last year I learnt that practicing intelligently is the key to learning any new skill the most effective and efficient way possible. I explored this by working with an inspiring coach who has dedicated his life to helping others unleash their true genius and brainpower to learn anything faster and live a life of greater purpose, empowerment and productivity.

In my avocation and vocation, I am naturally drawn to life hacking to any method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life.  However, it wasn’t until I experienced the loss of momentum from the “Mummy Brain” phenomenon (why are the house keys in the kitchen drawer?!) that I decided to do something about it by increasing my white matter with memory training.

Memory Training gives confidence to entrepreneurs like myself to effectively manage information, enabling me to remember and recall information more easily.  If our brains were computers, we’d just add RAM (Random Access Memory) to upgrade our memory. The human brain, however is far more complex and improving human memory requires more effort.  Imagine being able to memorise the order of cards in an entire deck as quickly as they can be dealt or mobile numbers the moment they are voiced or recall your potential client’s names at your next networking event? A great memory is truly important for anyone to possess and it can be a measure of your ability to prevail in today’s fast-paced, information-dependent society. It begs the question, why is memory training not taught at school?

In November 2017, I was privileged to represent for Australia at the IAM Australian Memory Championship Competition.  At the IAM Open Memory Championship Competition, representatives from across the globe including from South Korea, New Zealand, Iraq, Japan and China undergo a 2-day event with exorbitant name recalls, random numbers, binary numbers, historic dates, numbers and more.  As a new comer, I journeyed through the event with openness to learning (to some extent a human guinea pig) and the meditative experience gave me a surprising result of being awarded as Australia’s first runner up.
With the results that I achieved in 5 weeks relative to most elite professional memory champions who train in years, it’s conclusive there is no ‘bad memory’, just an untrained brain or a trained brain.  Memory or creativity is a like a muscle, the more it is used, the better it gets.  Students can further improve their memory by continuing their education, by refining their minds, by keeping themselves open to new experiences, and by keeping their imagination working.  This is what makes one ‘Alive’ and a sense of purpose.

In writing this post, it is not the intention to impress you, moreover I want to express what can be possible. Unlocking the possibilities has a lot to do with having the RIGHT coach, coupled with learning and practice intelligently with a good dosage of self-belief!
If learning intelligently such as memory is not for the purpose of education or business, let memory be a verb and not a noun.  Memories are things you can treasure forever, you can share with other people and change who you are as a person. Experiences with others can change how you look at the world with a different lens, how you perceive others and help you grow as a human being. Memories and stories are things you can share with your grandchildren, your friends and family, the people in your mother’s group or yoga class.

It’s really simple and clear, changing your brain for the better leads to changing the world for the better.

*This year I embark on mastering the art of brain training to unlock one’s possibilities for the purpose of their studies, business or workplace.  Message me to discuss ways how we can co-create and collaborate to celebrating human potential, Kathylang@canberra.edu.au

This piece was written by one of Ducere’s inspiring Academics – Kathy Lang.

Image copyright: puhhha / 123RF Stock Photo
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