Books, Culture and Society

Use It Or Lose It

The brain is a complex piece of machinery and different methods of learning can be used to help it work efficiently.

Use It Or Lose It

Anna Stenning is a teacher with a love of educational textbooks. To find out more, visit http://edu.cengage.co.uk/

The brain is like a sponge and as such will absorb all you can put into it and all that you do not even realize is going into it. It is a marvel that no human can understand the true inner workings of. Children learn more between the ages of newborn and six than they will in their entire lives.

There are things that we deliberately want our brains to remember such as learning new skills or new people or what we read in educational textbooks. There are things that will stick in our brain forever that is not necessarily wanted; bad memories, bad dreams etc. There are myriad things that go into our brain that we do not even acknowledge such as what is going on in our peripheral vision or what we can smell. There are also, of course, things that we want to remember and have remembered but have difficulty fishing back into focus.

Our brains are very adept at filtering out un-needed information but even with that ability we are subjected to an onslaught of information overload throughout our waking day. It is said that our dreams are our brains way of making sense of all this but obviously the experts had no idea what I dream about because it makes no sense to me at all!

The older we get the more difficult our memory can be. This is not old age killing off common sense, it is just that we have too many things to remember and too much pressure to juggle a very busy life. That said, those that have very little mental stimulation through life do tend to go on to experience early onset dementia hence the old adage use it or lose it.
To learn new things there will always be a degree of reading involved. We have the beauty of educational textbooks that are filled with information that other people have researched and learnt and then passed on for our knowledge and, as they say, knowledge is power.

Learning this way is largely about self-discipline. We need to harness the ability to shut out distractions and concentrate on what we are reading. To fully immerse yourself in a book means you can get lost for hours in what you are reading and totally absorb it. Other people find little and often works better for them and will come back to a piece time and time again, picking up on bits and pieces.

Once you have read a paragraph of text that you are trying to learn it often helps if you then repeat that text aloud. There is something about saying it aloud that helps reinforce the information in the brain. There is also a great deal of research that can be found on various ways of reinforcing any learning with different methods that involve actions as well as reading. Most people will find a way that suits them which is why its pointless as a parent with a million things going on in your head and only able to read in absolute silence, then telling a teenager that they cannot possibly concentrate with the music up loud. They will. They will just do it their way.

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