7 Surprising Discoveries About Learning

7 Surprising Discoveries About Learning

In the quiet classroom, the air thickened, the expressions blurred and the atmosphere turned gloomy. The students stared at the teacher with glassy eyes, pasty skin, blank expressions, jowls drooping. The teacher suddenly stopped her plot structure review, turned towards the students and blurted out, “No wonder you like The Walking Dead, you look like zombies.” And the whole class fell to guffawing!

A study conducted by Pam Schiller and Clarissa A. Willis, PhD authors, speakers, and curriculum specialists revealed that laughter, in addition to providing a feeling of contentment, increases one's capacity to remember things and also provides a feeling of contentment. Surprising, isn't it? This is but, just only of the numerous overwhelming facts that learning encompasses. Let's dive in to explore more.

You need to be good at Art to be good at Science

Science is sweet and Art make it sweeter. This is evident in the journey from STEM to STEAM. Championed by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), STEAM is a movement to incorporate 'Art' into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). There's a simple explanation to this augmentation. An artist solves problems too, while expressing his/her thoughts on a canvas and experiments with colours, images and techniques the same way an engineer experiments with with numbers.

Numerous studies have found that parts of the brain that are associated with contemplation, introspection, self-monitoring and memory are automatically sparked when viewing art. Therefore, incorporating art into Math and Science helps students understand the concepts better and solve problems better, thus, STEAM.

Recommended Read: 10 exciting STEM websites for kids

Bilingualism is the new Sudoku

Speaking more than one language has exceptional benefits other than making the speaker feel suave. According to Northwestern university's researcher and professor Viorica Marian, the benefits occur because the bilingual brain is constantly activating both languages and choosing what language to use and what language to ignore. Therefore, this constant exercising of the brain makes it easier to perform cognitive tasks.

Also, bilingual students are good at ignoring noise and other distractions while performing important tasks. “Inhibitory control is a hallmark of cognition,” says Marian. “Whether we’re driving or performing surgery, it’s important to focus on what really matters and ignore what doesn’t.” In addition to its numerous proven benefits in learning, learning a new language also rules out possible chances of Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

Struggling to remember is a good thing

Did you know that the best boot camp for the brain is making close mistakes to the right answer? Andrée-Ann Cyr, a graduate student with Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute and the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto says, “Making random guesses does not appear to benefit later memory for the right answer , but near-miss guesses act as stepping stones for retrieval of the correct information – and this benefit is seen in younger and older adults.”

Learning information the had way, by making mistakes is one of the surest ways of retaining it for further implementation. By mistakes, we obviously don't mean hugely disparate ones, but the close calls.

Hardwork makes genius, far more than talent

There's a saying by Thomas Edison: Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. No points for guessing, though. No one is born with a superhuman grace or is hit by a sudden bolt of mental lightning to come to genius. It is the long stretches of slogging, the human grit and working hard that makes way for success.

In fact, genius is an illusion, it is the inexplicably happy consequence to dedicated hardwork. In other words, genius can be nurtured. So if your lessons are taking the wrong turn on you, don't wait to be struck by some genius lightning, go ahead with your studies, success will come your way.

Recommended Read: How to learn anything in 20 hours

Explaining boosts critical thinking

If you can come up with explanations while studying, then your critical thinking ability is very likely to soar. Cristine Legare, associate professor of psychology of the University of the university of Texas and  Tania Lombrozo of the University of California at Berkeley conducted a study where she distributed a movable toy to 182 pre-schoolers (between the ages of 3 – 6). They explained the moving parts of the toy and separated the bunch into two groups and asked them to either explain or observe the toy. The results were overwhelming. The explainer group outperformed the other group by fair figures.

Explaining what you learn can crank up your critical thinking by quite an extent. This helps in comprehension and retention. The next time you put your learning cap on, why don't you explain it to your neighbour in the classroom? Sharing is learning too!

A good vocabulary comes in handy

Even though the vocabulary skills of students is dismal nowadays, the importance of a rich vocabulary is overwhelming. Vocabulary is the key to comprehension and communication. Research has indicated strong links between an extensive vocabulary and educational success. In addition to that, a strong vocabulary forms the bedrock on which you can build a strong language proficiency. Vocabulary is, in fact, the Cinderella of language learning.

Reminiscing is a path to boosting memory

A research led by Cornell University neuroscientist Nathan Spreng found that engaging brain areas linked to reminiscing can boost performance on challenging mental tasks. Reminiscing is associated with working your brain to recollect things you have learnt before. This enhances the memory and boosts retention.

Which learning discovery surprised you the most? Share it with us in the comments section.

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