October 13, 2009

How to Eat An Elephant

Posted in Helpful Hints, student stories, teaching revelations tagged , , , , at 2:42 am by profart

Midterms are upon us, and with it the usual whining about studying, cramming, and poor time management. This is moment when those students who complain about having lives, jobs, and kids get particularly annoying, especially to their fellow students.

One of my little darlings actually shared these complaints on our discussion board, and has been getting a plethora of advice on how to study. By far my favorite has been the one entitled “How to Eat An Elephant!”

So I share with you the wisdom of that note, because it is sound studying advice: don’t try to eat an elephant whole. You have to cut it up into smaller pieces, and consume it over at least several days. You should be studying all along, not just trying to cram things in before the exam. A review is no time to learn the material, it is a time to refresh things in your mind that you have already learned. The elephant should already be skinned, deboned, and ready for the barbecue.

Otherwise, you just get indigestion. And a dislocated jaw.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Posted in Helpful Hints, miscellaneous other matters, student stories, teaching revelations tagged distance education, distance learning, online class, online classes, online course, online learning, online resources, online teaching, student questions, students, study tips, studying, tutorials at 4:22 am by profart With the increasing crush of posts and emails to the effect of “this class has so much information, how can I learn it all this week, in time for the midterm???” I get this time of year- increasing not only with the flow of the semester itself, but in comparison year to year- I decided to put my butt in gear and do something. After all, I teach intro classes. My students are about 40-60% first-years, and some of my non-first-years are only that by technicality (in reality, their “first year” was 20 years ago, and they are back for another round of college in order to finally finish/get a new degree/change careers/etc). The idea of “study skills” is either non-existant, forgotten, or not internalized for whatever reason. The result is a lot of students with few or no tools for independently learning and analyzing material. In other words, they have no clue what to do with the elephant on their plate, and don’t even …. […]


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