Learning to Learn – Paul Kates

person studyingNew undergraduates are already successful students when they arrive at university.  They come with learning habits developed over a decade’s time at school where “work harder” is a commonly followed injunction for improvement or to remedy declining achievement.

But learning at a university is more challenging than high school.  Students face increasing rigour combined with more and denser material all at a quicker pace.  Can students at university work smarter, making better use of their limited time?

Dan Wolczuk thinks so.  Dan teaches undergraduate mathematics at the University of Waterloo Faculty of Mathematics to hundreds of first- and second-year students each year.  He says

The most important thing to learn at university is not
math or science, but is learning how to learn.
No matter what you do in the future, no matter what kind of job
you have, you will need on-the-spot learning.
The most valuable thing you can ever do is to know how
you personally, best learn.

Dan tells students this in the first of six one-hour seminars from the Learning How to Learn series presented to undergraduates over the Winter 2017 term.  The series follows six topics

Obtaining Higher Learning
Thinking About Your Thinking
Embracing Failure
Learning in Lectures
The Neuroscience of Memory
Effective Study

to give students concrete suggestions and techniques from the latest research on learning to help them work smarter, achieve more, and make learning more enjoyable.

As more than one attending student was heard to say

Why didn’t someone tell us this before?

Short descriptions of each seminar are provided on the Learning How to Learn website.  For a copy of the slides and references used in each of the videos please get in touch with Dan Wolczuk.

Published by

Paul Kates

Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) Liaison to the Faculty of Mathematics (pkates@uwaterloo.ca)

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