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Visualizing and Verbalizing a Video Course

What happens when you regain your reading comprehension after brain injury?

Source: kalhh/Pixabay

As a 2017 NaNoWriMo winner, I received a sweet deal on a subscription to Great Courses Plus. I signed up for it because it had a series on Philosophy of Mind. My thinking was that since I couldn’t read my 2012 Philosophy of Mind texts and course work well enough to remember and add them to my knowledge bank, maybe I could watch a series of short video lectures and learn that way.

It sort of worked.

I felt like I was still a learner. But the truth was that I couldn’t watch a 30-minute lecture in one go, and I didn’t remember much better. Actually, I don’t recall any of what I watched in 2017 or 2018. After a life of learning, being unable to learn crushes one with grief.

This past summer, I devoted all my energy to relearning how to read with comprehension, using the Lindamood-Bell method of visualizing and verbalizing. In the last two weeks of instruction, I began reading a bit of Descartes' Meditations from Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings again, this time being able to understand, remember, and extrapolate -- to my shock and delight. Still, I can read only a few or two paragraphs at a time. Perhaps rewatching the Great Courses Plus 30-minute lecture by Professor Patrick Grim on Descartes and dualism would augment my reading, I thought. I decided to rewatch it before my subscription ran out.

Well . . . That was different!

I created imagery as I watched, just like I do when reading. It was kind of automatic, which is a really good sign that my brain has changed as a result of learning to visualize and verbalize with Lindamood-Bell. I used a lot of the imagery I had created when I'd read Descartes’ meditations and some of the related course work.

The most astounding part: I understood the lecture at a much deeper level than I had prior to regaining reading comprehension this past summer. And afterwards, I remembered tidbits Prof. Grim mentioned in his lecture that I hadn’t known or remembered from when I'd first watched his lecture or had taken the Philosophy of Mind course back in 2012. I was able to connect the dots, almost seamlessly. I also watched the entire lecture in one go, something I hadn't done before when watching any lecture on Great Courses Plus.

I’m actually watching shows and movies with fewer stoppages, too.

As a result, watching the video lecture was far more enjoyable than before the summer of 2018 — the mental work of learning paid off -- just like the mental work of reading is now fulfilling. Mental work that's exhausting with no ability to learn much, with memory failure, with struggling to retain and follow, is despairing. But when the same level of exhaustion results in remembering and adding to one's knowledge bank, it's worth it.

When you can watch a show or read a book with comprehension, it’s not a chore, it’s not disheartening, it’s rewarding.

So since I was a 2018 NaNoWriMo winner and Great Courses Plus again offered a discount and this time in Canadian dollars, too, I re-subscribed so I could start watching the lectures all over again. And this year finish the series.

Copyright ©2018 Shireen Anne Jeejeebhoy. May not be reprinted or reposted without permission.

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