Friday, April 13, 2007

Learning Curves: Advice To Students

When I taught website design at DLSU in 1999, one of the last things I told my students before the end of the term had something to do about learning. During our entire life in school we're required to learn things we at first find irrelevant. (In my case, I didn't find much value in Quantitative Analysis or International Marketing, though I did academically well in both courses.) And, in many instances, we find ourselves laboring through the process of memorizing minute details of an obscure topic only to consciously ditch them once the term is over.

I encouraged my students to do their best in learning something from the seemingly irrelevant subjects their curriculum flowcharts mandated. I told them that they'll never know how their brains will connect all those details and help them in the real world.

Every course in a curriculum exists to challenge the mind in different ways, to be receptive to different kinds of information across different subjects. While we all don't need Philosophy in our day-to-day lives, our Philosophy classes encourage deductive reasoning and critical thinking, which are vital mental skills in the real world. World History might be useless to someone who wants to become an engineer, but an appreciation of history can aid and support research. Accounting may be dreadful to an aspiring actor, but at least he'll have a better idea on how to manage his earnings and expenses.

(Going back to my case, I found myself using PERT diagramming when planning my comics and design projects. It's one of the concepts taught in my Quantitative Analysis course 18 years ago.)

And because many college students still aren't 100% sure what they want to pursue as a career, it would be prudent to learn a variety of subjects if only to keep the brain balanced and more open to options. The key is encouraging the brain to be receptive to, not necessarily an expert in, different kinds of information.

(Umandar ang pagka-nerd ko. Hwekekekek.)

3 comments:

carlo said...

Agree! Agree!

midicrux said...

I couldn't agree more, Carver! Really, a little temporary stupefaction now and then is better for the reading (and learning) experience than the frantic search online from weblink to weblink--the hypertext way. I know hypertext reading--i.e. reading text sideways and looking for sidebar cheat-sheets--makes the reading experience different, and how? It makes the reader pay attention to details--all too well, in fact--and thus missing the whole thought pattern being formed if he just read the essay, piece or article from start to finish.

Carver said...

midicrux... "It makes the reader pay attention to details--all too well, in fact--and thus missing the whole thought pattern being formed if he just read the essay, piece or article from start to finish."

Ay, alam ko 'yan! Gawain ko 'yan dati! When reading, papasok sa mata 'yung words, tapos labas sa ilong. Haaay...

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