Elizabeth Wagele

The Career Within You

Nine New Ways to Practice and Study

How to get more out of your practice sessions.

Posted Nov 02, 2010

Another technique that leaves a deeper impression on the brain, Carey reports, is to vary the type of material studied in a single session. Spacing is important, too. For retaining information, spread studying over a few days instead of studying the same amount of time all at once. This has been my experience, too, when memorizing music.

In "The Enneagram of Parenting" I discuss nine different learning styles. In the chapter on Adventurer children I drew a cartoon of a kid studying while riding an elephant. At the time I drew it I didn't realize the benefit varying settings plays in learning. These styles, which also apply to adults, might suggest some additional ideas for you to apply to how you study or practice:

1 Perfectionists work hard and try to do what's right. Ideally they learn not to bite off more than they can chew and to schedule in recreation and relaxing time to keep their stress levels down.

2 Helpers run the danger of downplaying the importance of their own studying or practicing in favor of taking care of others. Ideally they learn to make their own betterment their priority.

3 Achievers like to work hard and set goals for themselves. Ideally they take precautions against the dangers of being "workaholics."

4 Romantics experience a wide range of feelings and moods. Some moods can get in the way of their studies. Developing a satisfactory outlet for self-expression helps. Don't you think studying and practicing when we're in different moods can benefit all of us, though, like changing settings does?

5 Observers are curious and like to learn. They usually don't like to be disturbed but, in keeping with the psychologists' findings, varying settings probably enhances their ability to solve problems.

6 Questioners are concerned with security. Ideally they take care of safety issues before they begin to study or practice so as not to be distracted by worry.

7 Adventurers are good at thinking of creative ways to study and practice. They're especially good at doing several things at one sitting.

8 Asserters have energy to burn. Ideally they learn not to get side-tracked by something more exciting than studying.

9 Peace Seekers like pleasant surroundings that don't distract them. Focusing on their studies is more efficient if they first get clear on their short-run and long-range goals.

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