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The Selfish Learner

By Dominique Murdock 

So there you are in class… the lecture has started, pens and pencils are diligently scribbling all around you, heads nod up and down in agreement with the lecture, and everyone seems to be in sync… except you. There you sit, worried, confused, and nervous because you feel like the bus left without you. At this point, you may look something like this…

Photo by Lucélia Ribeiro on Flickr

You begin to panic. You can literally feel your heart beating in your throat. You know that if you could just ask one well-worded question, you would have a better understanding of the lesson. You think about raising your hand, but the idea of interrupting the flow of class for your “stupid question” seems annoying and counterproductive to the learning environment. You feel stuck and frustrated… what do you do?

Photo from clipart-library.com

First… you TAKE A BREATH. That’s right… step one to becoming a selfish (and in turn, more informed learner) is pausing your brain and taking a relaxing, clarifying breath. Kind of like this guy here…

See how his nostrils flare with confidence as he prepares himself to take on the world? Or rather the class? Yep, a deep breath can calm the receptors in your brain and allow you to achieve the clarity you need to focus.

The next step is to recognize your power. Yep, crazy thought but here, in our educational system, students have this beautiful thing called power, or more specifically, the ability to focus the class into the direction that best fits the needs of the students. As a learner, your main goal is to do just that… LEARN. As a paying college student, your #1 right is to attain information using the means that work best for your style of learning. What does this mean? It means that you have the absolute right to ASK QUESTIONS. No matter how big or small they may seem, questions are how we clarify understanding so that we can then move on to the next bit of consumed information. There is absolutely no way to learn without questioning, so you are encouraged and expected to do so. 🙂

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