TED Conversations

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Is it possible to learn how to learn, and if so, how?

During my educational days I was never actually taught how to learn, obviously this is a bit of a catch 22 question, but after reading books that teach tricks of the memory, and with a higher understanding of how the brain works, would it not be possible to teach people how to learn thereby giving an autonomy to the student, who may then go out and specify their own curriculum?

+3
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jul 3 2013: It starts with the person's own interest.
    • Jul 3 2013: I am interested in Math, but I dont know how to learn it
      when I see all that formulas it scares me to hell, I close the book.

      Interesting point, just wonder how can it work.
      • thumb
        Jul 3 2013: If you tell me what you want to learn about math and where you would say you are in your understanding, I can probably give you some ideas on where to start, both review materials and new.
        • Jul 3 2013: Fritzie,

          Thanks for your offer...
          I am not a student any more.
          a few years ago, I gave up Computing Science (IT programming) for one reason... I couldn't understand math, (yet it was Statistic Mathematics and in Dutch language (which is not my mother tongue))

          nowadays, when I open any Negotiation Books which explains Mathematics in Negotiation, it drives me crazy...

          I am good at languages... give me a book, that it written in Chinese or Arabic, I will tell you what the book was about in six months or so. (I am not familiar with those languages).

          now ... I just want to know HOW much Interest has got to do here? what about the ability?
          I cant play any musical instrument, yet I love guitar, piano, violin...

          Is there something wrong with my interest of ability?
      • thumb
        Jul 3 2013: I would respectfully suggest that those who work or do research in education know that interest is not enough. It is a very useful condition for learning, but some people can learn material well while having no interest in it and others struggle even though they are interested.
        • Jul 3 2013: that is what I was saying, Fritzie,

          Interest ONLY isnt enough.... ability play role too,

          and above all, Communications between teacher and student.
      • thumb
        Jul 3 2013: Go to Kahn Academy, sign in & rock out. They have a math tutorial program that is really cool. Keeps me engaged for hours.
      • Jul 4 2013: The problem is that it scares you to hell. If you really want to do this, start with the most simple arithmetics, follow the process step by step, try and remember what it was (or do it for the first time), to understand first addition, subtraction, then how multiplication builds on addition, etc. Math builds on previous math.

        I was kinda gifted with math. Yet, I left math for such a long while that later I developed fear for equations, I would truly miss the whole point of some article because it had equations. That experience allowed me to understand that fear is a main factor why students fail at math. Anyway, I made a conscious decision to look patiently and carefully, and the old me started coming back. Now I have no fear. I discovered that part of the problem was that I lost the patience that I had when I was younger. Math formulas have to be looked at carefully to understand where each term comes from, etc. Rushing lead me to fear. Leaving the fear out of the equation and arming myself with patience paid off.

        Maybe this is a good point to make. If people want to learn to learn, work towards being patient and to look carefully. Aim at understanding even if that will take time training yourself to pay attention for long enough periods of time.

        Interest, patience and persistence.
      • thumb
        Jul 6 2013: Are you interested in math or in something else for which you need math or someone convinced you that you need math?

        Why would you need math to learn how to negotiate?

        When a child learns to catch a ball, he knows nothing about mechanics, gravity, aerodynamics, or calculus. It seems to me, math is not necessary to understand rather complex physical and social processes. I'm sure, most poker champions have a very vague idea about probabilities, permutations, and such. It seems to me that understanding of a subject does not come from learning the underlying math. Perhaps, understanding of the underlying math comes from understanding the subject first.

        I believe, I read somewhere than Einstein struggled with math as a school boy. Here are a couple of his quotes:

        ""Do not worry too much about your difficulties in mathematics, I can assure you that mine are still greater."

        "Since the mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not understand it myself any more."
        • thumb
          Jul 6 2013: Good point if that were true Keynesian economics would work.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.