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Becoming an Active Learner - Essay Example

3 pages
769 words
Middlebury College
Type of paper: 
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Physical abilities play an essential role in athletics, and most of the athletes that have won major trophies know how to get the best out of physical abilities. The same applies to learners, and in this case, for learners to be successful, they need to get the best out of their mental abilities. The past years have experienced a lot of discoveries regarding how the human brain works; therefore, taking advantage of these discoveries, let us see how the human brain works.

According to the educator Skip Downing, the brain is made up of over 100 billion nerve cells and controls the central nervous system by way of the cranial nerves and spinal cord, the peripheral nervous system and regulates virtually all human activity. The brain helps us to manage our affairs properly, and we require it every time. Carol. S. Dweck has spent many years researching mindsets, and as a result, she created the ideas of fixed mindset and growth mindset. She inferred important information that these mindsets influence our motivation, behavior, and intelligence. Also, she created a science called Brainology that is the study of the brain that may influence changes in mindsets.

There are three principles of deep and lasting learning that researchers have identified. The first principles of deep and lasting learning are prior learning which is taking what we know and applying it to new ideas. Learners that had a strong earlier learning tend to perform well in schools as compared to those that had a shaky background. The main importance of prior learning is that it helps learners to have strong neural networks to which they can attach new ideas (Dweck 1). The second principle is quality processing. Quality processing revolves around how we study, and as such, the quality of study has an impact on the strength of the neural network and hence influencing the quality of learning. When you use different deep processing strategies in quality processing, learners always harden up their neural networks and hence the brain gets used to processing more information, thus improving your learning. Lastly, there is quantity processing. The brain should not be engaged in deep processing only once; it should be done over a certain period (Dweck 1). For instance, learners should not wait until last minute to study. This principle helps the brain to digest ideas slowly thus facilitating easy remembrance as compared to strain the brain if information is absorbed all at once

Motivating students is essential to boost their performance; however, the way we do it can affect the performance negatively. Dweck argues about the well-intentioned implication of praising intelligence of students versus praising them for their hard work and perseverance in the academic task, and how that leads to what is known as a fixed mindset and what characteristics go into defining this two mindsets.

Dweck says, "Many students believe that intelligence is fixed, that each person has a certain amount, and thats that. We call this a fixed mindsetstudents with this mindset worry about how much of this fixed intelligence they possess and their fixed ability may not be up to the task" (Dweck 1). Students with fixed mindsets find failure to be demoralizing and fear progress.

Mindset plays an essential role to students especially the way they behave while in school. For instance, a growth mindset is one where students believe that intelligence is potential and can be realized through learning(Dweck 1). While students with a growth mindset are more likely to persevere through their failures. Dweck explains through her research, following the academic progress of seventh graders how these two mindsets are created. It is evident that students with growth mindsets are interested in learning apart from being smart in school. On the other hand, a student with a fixed mindset had various reactions to setbacks and cared about the appearance of how they looked, but seemed afraid to learn difficult things

In the 1990s, she researched parents on the important pairing childrens abilities to boost their confidence. The first group developed the growth mindset through the praise and boost of their confidence, and they accepted more challenges. Unlike the second group, students developed a fixed mindset through praise and boosted their confidence; they were less confident and afraid of further academic challenges.

The essay has focused on how brains work, precisely highlighting three principles of deep and lasting learning. The mind is an essential asset that human beings have and it is always functioning in every aspect of life. The way we use our mind influences how it works, and hence it is upon to us to safeguard this asset that we have.

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