Monthly Archives: October 2018
With the beginning of the school year, it is time to reflect on the fundamental strategies that pupils, students, and learners from all walks of life can employ in order to improve their academic performance at any level.
Discover your learning style. It is imperative for any learner to discover his or her learning style, the one that is the primary preference of his or her mental nature. Try to discover your learning style and your mental skills and academic performance will get a boost. Do you enjoy looking at pictures and visual diagrams? Do you like to watch informative programs in the television? Do you doodle in your notebook? Does the presentation of topics in school with visual art make you appreciate the lesson more? Then you are a visual learner. Do you like to listen to music when you study your lessons? Are you the type who would benefit from tape recording important lessons and playing them back during exam preparation time? Are you fascinated with sound? Can you close your eyes during class and absorb more of the lesson as the distractions are eliminated? Then you are an aural learner. There are other learning styles, I will expound more in the future. The idea is that you must discover your preferential learning style and use it to the optimum.
Create a personalized learning environment. Try to create a learning environment at your home. As much as possible, try to obtain your own study table, no matter how simple it is. Organize your notebooks and textbooks. Create posters that inspire you to study. Always schedule your day and week so that you can spend time studying and still perform your household chores. Creating a study space impresses in your subconscious the fact that learning is fun and you have deliberately created an environment that facilitates learning. Set learning goals for yourself. Aim high!
Develop a love for books. This is one of the most critical habits that a person can develop which will go a long way to improve his learning skills. For parents, try to inspire and encourage your children to love reading books. Try to organize your budget to accommodate a certain amount to buy informative and educational books. Invest in the classics. Create a family library. And most importantly, try to be a model for your kids. If children see that their parents love to read, then they will also be inspired to love books. For pupils and students of all ages, read widely and deeply. Always refresh your mind with knowledge by reading general information books. You might even be selected to participate in quiz bees and mental contests. Thus, all kinds of informative books are important. Expand your range always by reading even those books that are not recommended by your teachers and instructors. Start collecting books at a young age and soon, you will be surprised at the quality of your library as you grow older. Read, read and read!
Understand the fundamental skills. The fundamental skills that allow you to access other higher-order mental skills are the essential subjects of the languages and mathematics. It is very important for young learners to master these two essential skills. All the subjects in the curriculum are important but if you ask me the two most important subjects, then it is English and Mathematics. The ability to comprehend successfully all the other subject in the curriculum is predicated on a good background of these two skills. All the aptitude and licensing examinations implicitly test language and numerical comprehension skills. It is the degree of understanding of these two fundamental subject areas which is directly proportional to academic intelligence. So, learners of all ages, never forget to master linguistic and mathematical skills. In addition, computer literacy must be prioritized also.
Experiment with yourself. In order to improve your study skills, then you must experiment with yourself. How? You must attempt to analyze yourself more as a learner. Ask yourself: what are your strengths and weaknesses? Do you prefer social science subjects to mathematical subjects? If yes, then devote more time to algebra and geometry in order to redress the balance. As a college student, do you excel in the theoretical aspect of your science subjects but struggle in the laboratory exams? Then make an effort to master more of the laboratory lessons. Do you hate memorizing but some of your teachers seem to test that area most often in their exams? Then make an effort to develop memory codes and tools that will help you strengthen your memory. Analyze also your temporal preferences. Do you like to study in the morning, afternoon or nighttime? Then adjust your personal and social schedule to accommodate your temporal preference. Once in a while, do something out of the ordinary which may allow you to discover certain tools that will help you study. How? Go to a park, perhaps your psyche needs it to study. Or perhaps you like to study in the canteen, with the aroma of food and drinks enriching your consciousness. Perhaps listening to some form of music will catalyze your learning curve. Then by all means listen to musical pieces. Classical music, nature symphonies, meditation music, love songs and pop have been proved by various researchers to be the most beneficial in inducing a relaxed mental state. Experiment with various ways to enhance your learning curve.
Join a study group. If you feel that joining a study group will inspire to ascend newer and higher heights of mental achievements, then by all means do so. Join a study group or create one. Befriend the academic achievers in your various classes. This will enrich your network of friends. Besides, the best academic performer in your class may give you some additional tips on how to hurdle difficult topics. Choose your friends with care though. Social learning is fun, make the most out of it.
Apply your learning. One of the best ways to integrate what you have learned into your consciousness is to apply it in your daily life. If you have a store, then you can apply the mathematical lessons you learned in school. Economics teaches you how to budget your money. Social science will inculcate in you concepts you can use in your circle of friends. Mastery of languages will come in handy in foreign lands. These are just some of the ways to translate learning in school into relevant situations in daily life. These are just some of the ways to enhance your study habits. I will share more in the future.
I would like to thank the ownership, publishers and editorial staff of our beloved regional newspaper, the NORTHERN POST, in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, Philippines, for allowing me to present interesting educational concepts in this media format. May this be a partnership of the ages. Thank you so much, Mabuhay, and more power. God bless this newspaper.
You are a student engaged in any of the clinical sciences or public health courses or courses in the allied health fields. You are forced to take an Art Appreciation class. You hate the subject but needless to say, you need to study it because it is part of your curriculum. A failing grade is always a failing grade, whether your subject is a major one or a minor one. You sit in class, bored to death, and would rather open your books in your clinical science subjects. You ignore your teacher and your classroom environment. You anxiously wait for your next clinical science subject.
Scenarios like these are repeated throughout the world. Students in the clinical and health sciences and allied health fields like laboratory medical science, public health, respiratory therapy and even domains from nursing to clinical psychology to health statistics are challenged with the thought of enrolling in an Art Appreciation subject or its equivalent in the Humanities. It is challenging because (1) It reduces the time spent to study the major subjects in the clinical sciences and (2) It proves an additional burden of yet another subject that may not be that necessary anymore.
But are Art Appreciation classes or classes in the Humanities no longer relevant in the complex scientific world of the 21st century? This essay would like to explore this question and related paradigms.
All the natural and clinical sciences build the sequential, linear cognitive map of the learner. The emphasis is on structure, sequence, order, accuracy and precision. Quantitative measurement is the key to problem solving as well as the mastery of the inherent hierarchies, procedures, protocols and heuristics that are involved in the respective scientific domains. The learner or student is trained vigorously in the problem solving protocols that have been the hallmark of the natural and clinical sciences since the ascendancy of the scientific method.
On the other hand, Art with its perplexing array of interpretations, movements, viewpoints, paradigms, perspectives and sensibilities may prove to be a peculiar challenge to the cognitive universe of a clinical student. In fact, he/she may come to question the veracity of the artistic fields themselves, and their actual relevance to his clinical science curriculum. The popular idea that “science is objective and art is subjective” may come to the fore here. And it may prove to be a particular thorn in a bed of roses for students accustomed to the exacting rigor of the natural and clinical sciences.
However, many thinkers, psychologists, philosophers and educators have long extolled the power of the liberal arts curriculum as well as Art and Arts Psychology courses to imbue the learner with humanism, versatility, compassion and wisdom and emotional intelligence. And that is one thing that we want our clinical science students to acquire. In their future professions in the clinical sciences someday, we want them to be compassionate, attentive listeners, who will put the total welfare, holistic health and mental harmony of the patient/client as their number one priority. We want our clinical science students to be ardent proponents of humanism and promote the health and wellness of the complete human being. After all, we Filipinos demand so much of our clinical science and health science experts.
The health of every human being is a primordial imperative for human survival. It is so important that it has been enshrined in the Constitution (1948) of the World Health Organization:
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition. The health of all peoples is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security and is dependent upon the fullest co-operation of individuals and States. The achievement of any State in the promotion and protection of health is of value to all.” (Preamble, Constitution of the World Health Organization).
So, the World Health Organization has defined health in very broad and wise terms. Consequently, it is up to us educators at various levels to listen to this moral mandate, a holistic paradigm of health, and execute it to the betterment of our learners. Creativity in classroom management is the key! Make Art Appreciation and Humanities classes enjoyable, cheerful and fun! Unleash those creative juices!
“There is one thing stronger than all the armies of the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.”
“On rare occasions, there rises from the multitude of mediocrity that is
humanity a single person of extraordinary vision conjoined with the will to achieve that vision, who
presents a most formidable presence. One to shape the course of history.”
Creativity has been an incredible force through the millennia.
A perusal of the greatest works of mankind can stagger the imagination. The paintings of Raphael. The plays of William Shakespeare. The relativity equations of Albert Einstein. The creative ideas of Leonardo Da Vinci. The epic lines in the Iliad of Homer. The chess games of Paul Morphy, Bobby Fischer, Gary Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen. The amazing sculptures of Michelangelo. The haiku poems of Basho. The love sonnets of the Brownings. The enlightened mystical poems of the Upanishadic mystics. Masterful creations like Rodin’s Thinker. Incredible monuments like the Taj Mahal of India, the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids of Egypt. Innovative enterprises like the Ifugao Rice Terraces of the Philippines also comes to mind. The list is endless.
How about things, events or performances which are not easily recognizable as creative, yet pulsating with creative ecstasy in the moments of their creation? The gliding aerial moves of Michael Jordan and Lebron James on their way to the basket are easily appreciated by adoring fans. So are the perfect moves of an athlete like Nadia Comaneci as she essays perfection in gymnastics. Many situations have innate creativity in them, born of the inexhaustible wonder of the universe. The ideas of Lao Tzu are creative. They speak with incredible vitality and dynamism. The works of Steve Rune Lundin, author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, are creative. They burst with archetypal lore. The loving flights of ecstasy traveled by Plotinus when he merges with the Infinite are creative. They are recollections of his mystical rapture with the Oneness of the Supreme Being. All these and many more are products of the amazing, infinite potential of the human mind, body and soul.
The history of mankind is replete with awesome moments like this, when the innate genius present in the genetic structure of an individual combines with the pregnant possibility of a single moment in time to produce a wonderful event, a creative endeavor. Since the dawn of history, creativity has been the primary weapon of the human mind in its attempt to understand, comprehend, systematize, analyze, conquer and ultimately master the natural world. Moments of creativity are evident in the very first hunters of the human race, when the hunter-gatherers in the wilderness fashioned rudimentary tools to arm themselves and improve their hunting expeditions. Moments of creativity are evident in those early communities, when the men and women started to organize themselves into primitive tribes, the precursors of cultures and civilizations. In fact, the primary institution of mankind, marriage and the family, is an act of creativity. It is creative in the sense that man and woman seeks a better and more exalted kind of relationship, a bonding paradigm which will improve the chances of the offspring to survive in the harsh world.
As mankind evolved, creativity became its primary weapon in the pivotal event of civilization building. Creativity is evident in the successful attempt to settle in the great and rich deltas of the world to erect the primordial cultural archetypes that eventually developed to become the cradles of civilization, such as the Tigris-Euphrates, Nile River, and Yellow River civilizations. Creativity is evident in the formulation of the first laws of mankind, such as the Code of Hammurabbi and the Ten Commandments. Creativity is evident in the inception and development of the various languages. Complex languages like Classical Greek and Exegetical Hebrew are testaments to the intelligence of man and his ability to construct amazing philosophical and theological systems. Profound languages like Ancient Sanskrit and Chinese are testaments to the wisdom of man and his ability to convey multiple layers of meaning. Romantic languages French, Spanish and Italian are testaments to the passion of man and his love of life, beauty and truth. Creativity became instrumental in the development of cultures around the world as well as the singular achievements of the great paragons of those cultures, the men and women of creative genius who regaled world history with their incredible personal achievements. Examples of these paragons range from ancients like Leonardo Da Vinci, Shakespeare, Newton, Bacon, Milton, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Leibniz, Boddhidharma, Alighieri, Longfellow, to contemporaries like Wilt Chamberlain, James Oliver Rigney, Jr., Frank Herbert, Enya, Michael Whelan, Wesley So, Sarah Brightman, Ramon Fernandez, etc. This is just a sample of masterful creators in various fields.
The awesome period called the Renaissance was an attempt to rekindle the awesome creativity that flourished in the Greek city-states. Mankind had reached a kind of saturation point in the Dark Ages and it was time for a unique renewal. The rediscovery of our creative heritage in the classical periods of Greece and Rome had incredible implications through the centuries after. Renaissance Art was a blossoming phase and a coming-of-age for mankind. It is a critical phase in the History of mankind that deserves a place not only in World History and Art classes but also in Psychology and Sociology classes.
The study of creativity enhances man in many ways. After all, Art has multiple functions in the life of man. It has a personal function, to elevate man and cultivate his refined senses. It has a religious function, connecting him with the Divine. It has a sociological function, networking man with the larger spheres of Life and society and community. And it has a cognitive function because it harmonizes both the right and the left brain.
Creative artists, creative scientists and creative mystics have labored long and hard to build the foundations of evolving humanity. This quest, though unrecognized by the common man, is helping inch by inch to catapult the human being to higher and higher levels of consciousness. This is the spiral of life, the Tao of creativity, the spirit of evolution.