A Little Learning I

The dye extracted from the indigo plant is bluer than its petal ~~荀子

Right-wing politics attracts far more high schoolers and undergraduates than I would have guessed.  For their benefit, I thought I’d share a list of tips I came up with to help my baby brother study better.  If you need suggestions for how to study you probably wouldn’t have the discipline (or the time!) to read the entire list in one go; instead I’ll post one item a day.  I can’t help you achieve great learning, but if you are aiming for a little learning these thoughts may be useful.

The first item on the list is a warning: human beings are biodiverse.  How people learn, their goals in learning, and the limiting factors that hold them back from learning  more are different in every case.  Most people don’t understand this at all, so they push peculiar features of their own educational success/failure as general lessons for other people.  This is particularly difficult when there is a group of students at your school who are wired in a way that makes some special technique effective; social proof is very powerful, and you may feel compelled to try their methods even though they don’t make sense to you and don’t seem to be working.

Even more insidious, the group may be wired to succeed at a goal which you don’t share.  This can be very difficult.  When you copy their techniques, it really is instrumentally effective!  The fact that you’ve succeeded at doing something can distract you from the fact that you have succeeded at (((someone else’s))) goals, but set yourself up to fail at your own goals.

(Of course, this warning goes double for my own list.)


5 thoughts on “A Little Learning I

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