The Reflective Student
“Learning to study is essentially a do-it-yourself operation. You’ll get ideas from this book. You’ll get even more from teachers and fellow-students. But, in the end, it’s up to you. You need to be able to reflect on your own experience of studying and decide what changes of approach might best suit you.” (p. viii)
This little paragraph contains many of the concepts we’ve already touched on in our studies.
Since 1970 Professor Rowntree’s book has been used by millions of students around the world. One of the surprising things to me was that through all of the editions (the current one being the 5th edition) he has not changed his method much. The newest edition (which I downloaded on Kindle for free) compares word for word in most places with my own 1988, 3rd edition book.
In the 5th edition he does touch on Kindle, but has the same complaint I do – weird page breaks.
My point here is that if his method has gone through 5 editions with very little change, it must be really good!! (Yeah, yeah I did read the whole thing. Sorry)
Even though we did not get our Master’s Degrees not knowing how to study, I still think it was worthwhile to get this expert’s advice on study. It was a good review and there were places where I did spend some time reflecting.
- We have discussed how to read a book (Adler) and how to try and approach a book with the idea of getting out of it what is really important, even if it means breaking free of the guilt of not reading a book word-for-word (Bayard). Now Rowntree reminds us that there is “quite a bit to be said about reading carefully.” (p. 89) He is not contradicting Adler or Bayard. Rowntree has already stated that “The name of the game is selectivity.” (p. 4) Faced with my 2-foot high pile of books for this semester, I will try and break free of my angst about not reading a book cover for cover. Ok, ok, I get it. It’ll be hard, but I’ll do it. Honestly, I know that I’ll drown it I don’t.
- Rowntree constantly reminds us to interact with our fellow students. We talked about this in our “chat” and I think it is important. The knowledge that is “in you” (p. 28) reminds me of the “inner book” of Bayard. We share this with others. It is really what we will remember the most.
- Much of the process – understanding my situation, getting organized, developing a strategy (SQ3R), reading actively, using good listening skills, taking good notes and then turning it all into good essays and preparation for exams – I have been doing for many years. One area I did extra reflection in was the area of taking notes.
I have been taking notes in the “skeleton style” for probably my whole life, but if there is a more efficient way, I’m open. This is a part of the book I definitely did not skim. After carefully studying the three basic methods, I am sticking with my own.
One question I had was, “How can computer based aids help with this?” I’m still taking notes the old-fashioned way. Does anyone use Evernote or the Brain (a brainstorming method)? Do any of you use the “spray method”? How does that work for you?
I agree that learning how to study is more than just the methods. It is “a matter of getting wiser about learning and understanding. … It’s how to learn about life.” (p. 28)