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Jewish World Review Feb. 22, 2001 / 29 Shevat, 5761

He Works/She Works
By Jaine Carter and James D. Carter

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Consumer Reports

Learning power points -- WE have discussed the hypothesis that we learned more the first year we were out of college than we had learned the whole time we were there. That's not true, of course, it's just that what we learned away from the formal educational environment was less focused and open-ended. We had the opportunity to draw our own conclusions and continued learning from practical application and experience.

Our ability to use what we learned in the real world was enhanced by what we learned during the formal process. We had learned how to learn; where to go to find what we needed to learn in order to answer specific questions we needed answered on a day-to-day basis.

We are all natural learners. We discover our world by touching, feeling and tasting. Our new granddaughter, Serena, believes that her job description demands she take out every single item contained within any drawer or cabinet she can open. She wants to feel it, try it on and tear it apart to see what happens. Unfortunately, because of the need to protect her, we have had to "child-proof" all of our cabinets and drawers. This limits Serena to discovering only what we, and her parents, deem appropriate for her to learn.

Selective learning will continue throughout her life, unless she is a strong enough individual to reach beyond our boundaries and continue to discover for herself. She shows great promise. For example she absolutely will not eat anything that she doesn't like. No matter how much she may be coached to "try just one more bite," she will refuse, clamping her mouth shut to further attempts.

Children know how to learn. Well-meaning adults too often limit the process. Stop and consider your own experience of learning for a moment and ask yourself: What is it that slows my learning? When is learning a struggle for me? When do I find my learning blocked and exactly what blocks it?

D. Trinidad Hunt, in her book "Learning to Learn: Maximizing Your Performance Potential," suggests learning power points we need to keep in mind:

Create the optimal mental climate for learning, which includes trust, joy, optimism, spontaneity and exhilaration.

Develop a "learning to learn" model where mistakes are part of the learning process. The "wrong" way is the avenue through which the "right" way is discovered.

Inclusive sorting makes our goal conceivable and achievable.

Believe that if it's possible in the world it's possible for you.

Create an inner climate of possibility that will unshackle you form your past and allow you to create a future of your own choosing.

Release yourself from the chains and fetters of limiting mental attitudes. Using these power points will help you discover your own inherent brilliance.

"Just beyond the veil of our awareness lies the genius within," said Hunt. "In an age of information, powerful note-taking skills may become one of the most critical keys to retention and long term memory."

According to Hunt, "power notes" is a method of taking notes that utilizes the natural processing procedure of the brain. The note-taking system is based on the fact that the brain records all incoming sensory information in a single-unit memory moment.

"Information is never received in a vacuum," said Hunt. "Smells, tastes and feelings that are going on around and within the person receiving the information. These packets of sensory-rich data are then sent to the various areas of the brain to be stored until we choose to recall them."

Hunt's system of creating power notes makes it simple to access an entire body of knowledge form a small amount of written data. In order to take the drudgery out of note taking, Hunt suggests using a four-color pen and any other writing implements you enjoy, making notes in both language and rudimentary pictures.

"Make your notes magical by using as many colorful and symbolic representations as you can," Hunt recommends. "The critical key is learning to listen for the speaker's 'power point."

When you need to retrieve the learned information, just one glance at one of your power notes will help you create the whole chain of visual memory. Just like a child."

Jaine Carter, Ph.D. and James D. Carter, Ph.D. are management consultants and authors of the book, ''He Works She Works -- Successful Strategies for Working Couples." Comment by clicking here.


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