Paul Kei Matsuda

Reading and Learning Strategies

Just after writing my earlier post "How to Read Everything?" I found this article by David Glenn in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Close the Book. Recall. Write It Down.
The best way to study for an exam? Don't just reread chapters and review notes — put everything away and then try to write down, or describe out loud, what you know. That's the conclusion of two papers recently published in psychology journals. "After you've read something once, you've gotten what you're going to get out of it," one professor says, "and then you need to go out and start applying the information."

Well, writing specialists have long been talking about the benefits of writing to read. Putting the knowledge to active use is the best way to understand and remember it.

For me, writing an article, in which I not only tell but transform knowledge (Bereiter and Scardamalia), helps me read better and learn more. I'm also focused on accomplishing a rhetorical goal (see Cumming's recent work on goal theory) or object (Engeström), rather than on learning itself. (See how I'm putting my knowledge to active use?)

Those late-night conversations (over beer) with Dwight Atkinson is also helpful, because we challenge each other and stimulate further thinking.

By the way, when I was in junior high school, I had a personal policy of not cramming for exams (including language exams). If I understand the material, I reasoned, I should be able to do well on those exams. I was somewhat naive because I didn't know that knowing something and doing well on the exams are somewhat different things because of other factors, such as the familiarity with the genre. But I did intuitively understand something about test validity.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

i really like your note.

Sunday, July 05, 2009 10:45:00 PM  

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Last update: January 6, 2008