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How to become an autodidact


AlphaGeek

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How to become an autodidact (defn: self-directed learner) :einstein)

Monday, we were given a few packets of work, some written directions and a "finish this before the test next week." Weird. A class with no teacher? A few groups popped up to grab a computer, others buried their noses in the textbook, and some started chatting leisurely with friends. It's not that we don't have a teacher, it's just that for the next few days, we're our own teachers.

For a few of us (including myself), this whole learning-on-our-own thing is a little bit intimidating. I've scoured the inner depths of google to put together an E2K countdown of ways to survive without teacher supervision. Try reading them over to pick up a helpful hint or two:

3.) Having trouble? All you need is a little help from your friends. Try forming small groups for support, review, and advice. Not only will confusion be dismissed, but it turns out that people retain information longer after they've taught a peer. It's a win-win situation. However, make sure to refrain from copying or relying on others to teach you. The point of self-directed learning is to learn independently, not to leech off of others.

2.) Use your resources. Between the textbook, aplusphysics.com, and the unit summary packets from class, you're bound to find an answer to your problem. READ THE TEXTBOOK. Key chapters are listed on the board, but if the answer still isn't there try skimming the glossary for key terms. Google and other internet searches are okay, but sites like Wikipedia often over complicate or give false information. Try the aplusphysics site. The video sections, tutorials, and course notes are great tools to reinforce concepts if the textbook was unclear, or even for review before the test. Don't forget about asking others (and making friends-- you can friend people on aplus, you know ;) ).

1.) The number one suggestion for learning on one's own is manage your time. Procrastination is our number one enemy when it comes to self-guided learning. In order to avoid doing the web assign, worksheet, problem packet and 8 blog posts the night before they're due, take a few steps of precaution. Try making your own due dates. These are most functional if they're BEFORE the one Mr. Fullerton assigned. Making a calendar is a little over the top, but writing down goal dates to finish certain sections of the work is helpful. At least have mental due dates-- no one should be staying up 'til 1 the night before the test.

A few of you may ask, "Why is God's name did Mr. Fullerton do this to us? Does he hate us? Was it something we said?" This way of learning will benefit us greatly. For one thing, it's preparing us for college next year. Not all classes will have 20-30 kids. A large intro/lecture class could contain anywhere from 50 to 500 students. In otherwords, the teacher can't tend to hundreds of kids at once, making an independent learning style an essential survival tool. Even if the classes are small, there's no guarantee that the teacher is good at,well, teaching. In the event your teacher is a story teller, a newbie, or just plain unhelpful, knowing how to consult a textbook or another resource means the difference between passing and failing.

In other words, take a deep breath, plan briefly, and get to work. Have confidence in yourself as a student and don't be afraid to take autodidacticism for a test spin!

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