BEYOND TEACHING AND LEARNING
by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
If what follows below is only the first chapter and published here on the World Wide Web for free, what can the rest of this remarkable book and extraordinary resource be like? What can the rest of this book do for you and for those whom you care about? Indeed, what can this free chapter do for you and for those you care about?
Find out first-hand. (Instructions how to purchase the whole book are posted at the end of this free first chapter.)
Introduction, and Some Quick Ways to Improve Learning
"I can't remember.... (that date or name or fact)!"And yet...
More than a century of behavioral research tells us that every experience, every awareness you have ever had, is still with you even if you "can't remember it."
So why do most of us find it so much struggle to "learn?" with such weak results for so much time and effort? To the point where "education" itself has been defined as "what you have left, when you've forgotten everything you've been taught!"
There are a lot of good answers to this question. We'll address some of the best answers here. We'll start on the road to those answers, though, by re-affirming what behavioral researchers have been showing us for more than a century:
1. Every or very nearly every experience, awareness, or datum you have ever encountered is still somewhere in your memory.The trick is to get the datum you need, when you need it, back up to the conscious part of your mind where it is useful to you.
Until recently, researchers needed either electric probes used during neurosurgery, or deep hypnosis, or special drugs, to get at and recover such "forgotten" information. No longer. With a few simple, easy procedures given you step-by-step in this book, you can now get at much or most of your information very readily.
Moreover, you can get at that information in the most useful forms rather
than merely as raw stored data. And you can get at the most relevant portions of that vast sea of data, without surgery, without hypnosis,
without drugs, without difficulty!
2. And with understanding!Frankly, this is not a book of methods for rote-memorizing more effectively. Our focus is understanding: intellectual understanding, artistic/aesthetic understanding; artistic/athletic sensori-motor understanding, human understanding. The implications, the reasons why, the relevance, the meaning of the data; not just the data. If you want rote memorization only, choose another program, another set of methods. If you would like your learning to be useful and meaningful to you, continue into this book.
3. For any subject area you are now struggling to learn, a surprisingly large part of its information and core meanings are already within you.If you can bring yourself consciously aware of this already-known core of the subject in detail, amidst all that "forgotten data," encountered at some time, in some context, somewhere in your life what little learning by whatever means remains to be done will integrate quickly and easily for you around this already-known core.
There is no subject being taught anywhere that you don't already know a great deal about, even if you think you've never even heard of it before.
Much of this present book is given to step-by-step methods of bringing yourself consciously aware of this hidden core of knowledge and understandings
relevant to what you are seeking to learn.
But now, for those of you who waited to get into this book
until you got into a bind, here are a few frames. They are different
enough from each other that, whatever your own particular situation, you
should be able to get some immediate benefit from one or several of these.
5 Hot Tips for Little Knacks in Learning
Sometimes even the littlest things can make a big difference like the outcome of that play at second base....
Did the ball get there first, or did the runner, or did the fielder? A huge difference in outcomes, if the runner got there a tenth of a second faster than the others, or slower. Or if the ball got there faster than the fielder did! Or that little thing about whether the fielder got his foot on the bag.....
Just like games with various factors interacting, where "a miss is as good as a mile" and even an inch or a tiny part of a second makes huge differences in outcome, even the littlest things can make huge differences in how well or how poorly you learn things so simple and so ordinary no one ever bothered to point them out. Lack of some tiny obvious practice or strategy can get you life-branded as a poor learner or your child, or anyone whom you care about.
Likewise, picking up on some little knack can get you on a roll instead and mark you as a great, gifted learner or even a genius. Here are some tips on some of these little knacks. If some seem overly obvious to you, others might not. And if, on some of these, you think they couldn't possibly make that much difference, try them and see for yourself.
For example, turn the "dry facts" about such historic events as the Battle of New Orleans into: you as one of those hunkering down behind hasty fortifications in the heat, with the smell of mud and sweat and gunpowder almost like a fist in your nose. Be a soldier in that battle, eyeing which tree or rock to crouch behind when the shooting starts, with the guy next to you hurriedly pointing out possible firing angles. Watch the British main force coming directly at where you've fortified most strongly instead of where you were weakest...feel the mixed anxiety and relief that they're coming right at you there, where you are, instead of at another more vulnerable place.... And really feel that mix of feelings you get weeks later, after all that you and everyone went through to win that remarkable victory, when you learn that the War of 1812 with England had actually ended by peace treaty agreement before you had to fight that battle....
Or, for example, take the "dry facts" of C=2 pi R or A = pi R squared. Imagine being an inchworm the length of pi chasing his own tail around and across circles and observe everything you can from being that inchworm. Or work out and measure off where those relationships, those distances, measure off in your own body. Against D as diameter of your own body, where is pi, starting from where to where? Measure off these lengths, these distances, these relationships in your own body, and feel them out from the inside.
Or be a participle dangling on the end of a sentence or clause (hold tight!). With great effort and resolve, pull yourself back from the precipice toward a more comfortable place in that sentence....
Imagine the mixed exhaustion and elation and other feelings Thomas Edison must have felt all through his body when, at long last, he realized that he was looking at a successful filament for his light bulb....
Or the astonishment and excitement Elias Howe must have felt as he emerged from the sweaty breathless dry-mouthed terrors of his nightmare his nightmare of cannibals attacking with spears when he realized that those odd holes in the spearheads of the attacking cannibals were, in fact, the key solution for the sewing machine he had been trying for so long to invent....
So: "Hot Tips #1" is Make your "dry facts" utterly memorable! (And as entertaining and engrossing as possible!)
Talk problems through with a pal, whether these are math problems, science problems, problems of the school, at home or personal problems. Most of the little things people miss, things which get in the way of their solving, no one discovers until he or she has actually said it aloud, to a listener!
You'll be utterly amazed at what you pick up this way, that you
had no hint or realization before that you were missing! (Also, taking
yourself a surprising distance along the road toward genius-level
performance: keep a private diary or journal for these things, and/or record them onto a tape recorder.)
The more he wrestles with it himself, the more likely it is that he will not only find the answer that is best for him, but become able to answer all such further questions of that type. He may even think of that answer days later, while doing or thinking about other things, thanks to having truly wrestled with the problem.
If a problem seems difficult, experiment with putting the problem into a different form and solving that one, then come back to the main one. Also experiment with imagining whatever's in that problem being bigger or smaller, or changing with time, or standing it upside down, or being in different colors, or asking "What if..." as another way to "get a handle on it."
Play with solutions to the what-if to step back from the genuine problem
and give your mind some room to work in. By so diverting your mind from
the literal problem, amazingly enough, some of the solutions to the
what-ifs will help you resolve the real problem.
Whatever the state of your learning and your history as a learner, some parts of your learning, during your earlier life and even currently, have gone easier and better than have other parts. Not all of the good and not all of the bad in those differences can be attributed to good or bad teachers or texts.
Compare everything that was going on for you in your most successful learnings with any contrast in those factors during the less successful. Brainstorm all possible factors, don't edit for accuracy or reasonableness until you have maybe 50 or more items, some of them wild. Then sort down to see what items you might find it useful to give some attention to, or to provide for yourself in future rounds of successful learning. Cluster your items, notice chunks of similar factors and impressions. Focus on those patterns; also give some further attention to several of your more surprising or wilder items.
If anything triggers a gust of laughter from you, pay it special attention: chances are good that may be pointing to something significant.
In any case, sort down from the original 50 or so to maybe five or so
items you can give further attention to.
One of our most famous educators, Jerome S. Bruner, once said that you can teach any idea or concept to anyone at any age level! provided you put it to him in his own conceptual vocabulary. Meaning: in terms that he already understands and uses. In your search to find the terms which someone who is much younger than you are, and/or less experienced than you are, and/or from a very different background understands, you strengthen your own grasp immensely on that point of understanding.
For the youngest among my readers: You might not have to get a teacher or parent to explain any of the above to you! Just get together with two or three friends. Each of you take turns explaining the above to each other, in detail..... And then take the most important understandings you can build together, and teach them in turn to a younger brother or sister.
So that's your fifth set of hot tips...Explain key points effectively to someone younger, making sure BOTH of you now understand them.
So here in one small space is the "Golden Set of 5 Hot Tips," where even remarkably little things can make remarkably big gains in learning for you:
A Major Way YOU Can Learn Like A Genius
All of you reading this:
You have brains enough to run a galaxy. What are you doing with them?
One of the most frequently used paths to genius: find a knack that works for you. Get on a roll. Find ways to stay on that roll. Find ways to return to being on that roll, until so much else falls into that roll that even you begin to realize that you are, indeed, a genius.....
The previous were some very general, brief, and quickly assimilated suggestions to improve your learning. Many other programs have similar recommendations. Here is a glimpse of one of the types of method which are special to this book and to our program, though it also is beginning to come into use in other programs elsewhere. We call it "Periscopic Learning" or "Borrowed Genius" and a few other things.
(Periscopic Learning in its 47 different versions, in turn, is only one of eight types of accelerated learning method unique to Project Renaissance. You do have something to look forward to in going beyond these first few "emergency first-aid" pages!)
Your "quick-hit" suggestion for this frame ... Imagine being a genius at what it is that you are trying to learn.
While describing that genius to tape recorder or listener to make that experience more real to you, give special attention to imagining, as concretely as possible, in as sensory a way as possible, becoming that genius. Give special attention to the way it feels being that genius that helps you discover the things which that genius would notice or discover. Especially physical feelings or sensations in the face and in the body, with the posture and gestures of that genius.
Hold onto the feeling of that particular genius while you are working at whatever you are seeking to learn. (Suggestion: also recover that feeling and bring it silently with you into the test or exam which usually accompanies the windup of such last-minute "learning emergencies.")
To discover how your deeper mind may represent a particular type of genius to you, try out several different types of genius first. Study what it might feel like in your body if, say, you were a genius mathematician. Describe all the differences in feeling in your body, posture and ways of moving when you are "being a genius mathematician" and being yourself.
Then imagine being a genius artist, and study those differences, then a genius in dealing with people, and so on. Once you've experienced directly for yourself how each type of genius feels differently to you, you can get the best defined patterns of feeling which go with the type of genius you need for this present occasion. "Wearing" that feeling, then, will let things occur to you or happen for you that otherwise would not, strengthening on this occasion your learning or test performance or general performance.
A similar suggestion, for when you are taking a test or exam: If you are good at one or more of the more involved computer games, or at chess, take that same cool, clear, positive-excited feeling with you into that exam. Re-create and "wear" that feeling there while you are working through that exam or test.
Whatever the benefits you can glean from this immediate occasion, please know that by the stronger of these periscopic learning methods as found later in this book, you may easily learn in several days, sometimes in only hours, and with far fuller understanding, proficiencies which otherwise conventionally require arduous years to build. (This is also true of the seven other basic types of accelerated learning given you in this book.) This is especially true in the sciences and in most of the humanities and, oddly enough, in athletics, where kinesthetic understanding is involved.
Understanding is the key here. These are not memorization techniques. These methods are not especially helpful in courses whose contents are mainly the memorization of things, especially the temporary memorization for tests and then forgetting which typifies far too many classes and classrooms today. Don't turn to our kind of method if what you want is to memorize something for a test.
I hope that, whatever your schooling has been, you who are reading this still do positively value understanding.
Oh, all right, we do have one short-term memorization technique a few pages below, for those of you caught in that type of learning emergency. Look up "STARS" Spaced Tape And Replay System in the index [the printed book index, not the online index], and if you have a tape recorder, find some quick, if only temporary, relief that way. But 99% of this book and program, and rightfully so, is dedicated to finding and building true understanding with direct recourse to those further, richer regions of your mind and brain which see patterns, relationships, significance through those relationships... wherein your understandings first appear.
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