Latest Research on Study Skills

I long for the day when there’s a genuine inclination towards research in education in India – so that decisions about how schools operate, how children are taught and how teachers do their jobs can be based on more than just gut instinct, who shouts loudest, who pulls most rank or ‘how it’s always been done’.

There are no lack of opinions on the right way to DO education. As was famously said, everyone who ever went to school considers themselves to be something of an expert on the subject. This makes it all the more fascinating to see an article like the New York Times one (see link below).

New York Times article – Study Habits

(click on link above to read the article)

Whilst the conclusions drawn from the research about ‘learning styles’ will surprise many educators, especially in the more ‘progressive’ schools in India I hope that many parents of our school will see the support from the research for the approaches TSRS has taken to utilising weekly tests in the Middle School and introducing the Mindspark programme for Maths.

The research also gives a strong indication for what most of us have intuitively known for a long time – last minute cramming and mugging is;
a) an exceptionally poor way to prepare for tests and exams,
b) a very good way to ensure that when a student comes to build on that knowledge later, they will find their recollection of it in the longer term severely lacking.

The latter point is very relevant. It is my belief that this, more than anything, contributes to teachers having to re-teach material from the year(s) before to students, which then gives them strain to complete their syllabus and encourages a straight ‘chalk and talk’ delivery to rush through the material. That’s when the individual attention to student needs gets squeezed out and class life becomes ‘survival of the fittest’. It’s also where the motivation to go out to tutors becomes so strong.

Research like this forces us to realise how important it is to break out of bad, ineffective old habits when it comes to study if we really want each child to fulfil their true potential.


2 Responses

  1. An interesting read. It is indeed true that India badly requires an Indian Education Service, of the same repute and at par with the Indian Administration Service, that would surely make a BIG difference. For it is education and education alone that can accelerate the process of (sustainable) development.

  2. Thanks for the article. It is thought provoking and I can vindicate it.

    Particularly, following sentence:

    “What we think is happening here is that, when the outside context is varied, the information is enriched, and this slows down forgetting,”

    Above sentence, now when I read it, make me feel so great about my father. He used to ask me to study at different places (say stairs, terrace, balconies etc) in the house. His view used to be that I will get quickly bored if I keep studying on study table all the time and every time. Knowingly or unknowingly, his attempt was actually helping me because even today (15 yrs later), I remember few theories (e.g. Uncertainty Principle) so distinctly, that whenever I am asked to recall them, I notice that I am actually recalling the context first and associated theory later.

    And needless to say, that I follow the same practice with my son now.

    Thank you very much, Mr. Mark, for the article.

    Best Regards
    Ashish Gilotra

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