That is never too often repeated, which is never sufficiently learned. – Seneca
What does that mean?
Let’s start by unwinding the negatives and reversing the halves. That brings us to “That which hasn’t been learned, hasn’t been repeated often enough.” In short, I believe this quote is the basis of the phrase “repetition is the foundation of learning” (also said of skill).
Let me say that again. But seriously, how many times do you have to do something before you really get it? Yes, some things are easier than others.
But the things you have trouble with, you usually go back and get the information repeated to you again. And again. Until it sinks in, and you understand.
In that way, we learn. From the youngest of kids to us old folks, repetition has a place. Hopefully it’s not the only tool in the box. It is fairly certain, though, if someone isn’t getting it, they probably weren’t paying attention when it was said the first time.
Why is figuring out your best learning methods important?
We have to learn. That is an imperative. The only question is how do you learn, and what is the best way for you? Learning can be fun and easy, or at least relatively so. Or it can be frustrating, intimidating, and no fun at all. It all depends.
Are some people just good at math? Some are. But most people I’ve met who claim to be bad at math never learned a way that worked for them. By finding out how someone learns, by determining what makes sense to them, they can become good at nearly anything.
By knowing what works for you, you can ask someone a question which leads them to reply in a manner which you better understand. If you’re a numbers person, ask for the facts and figures. If you’re more intuitive or emotional, ask them how it makes them feel. But first you have to know yourself.
Where can I apply this in my life?
For me, it depends on what I am learning. But I prefer to get an overview, a framework in which to put the subsequent details. If you come at me details first, there will be a pile of details at my feet, because I don’t know where to put them. With a framework in place, I can put them in their proper positions, and go from there.
Closer to the quote, if I get a word (or name) which I cannot pronounce, I have the person say it syllable by syllable a few times, with me joining in after the first time. Then I have them say the whole word, and I echo it back, and get corrections until I get it right.
If I don’t have it right, I haven’t learned it sufficiently, because it wasn’t repeated often enough, right? And that’s the point of the quote, although it isn’t the only way to learn. How many people were taught math by memorization? How well did that work? Is that your method? It’s not mine.
If you don’t know how you learn, how can you ask someone to teach? There are many schools of thought, each of which divide people by different criteria. Are you a numbers or an emotion person? Are you a visual or auditory person? What matters to me is that you understand what does and doesn’t work for you.
Think about the types of things you learned easily, or the subjects at which you are a natural learner. What are the methods? Rote memorization, experimentation, speaking, doing, listening to lectures, debating, or … What type of instruction really pays off for you?
To try to confirm that, think about a couple of times when you really had a tough time understanding something. Were you being taught in a manner which works well for you? There’s a chance the material was more advanced than you were ready to deal with, but it might also have been the teacher.
Try to keep track of the things which work well for you, and those which do not. If someone tries to teach you something (educate, inform, etc), try to figure out what they are doing, and see if it works well for you. If it isn’t working, try to direct them to an approach which works for you.
Or you could just ask them to repeat it. Eventually, you will learn, or they will leave. But it might work. What would work better is to help them understand how you learn, and try to find common ground.
It never hurts to ask. Or to ask again, if you didn’t understand the first time.
From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/luciusanna155026.html
Photo by Dan Bach
Info on Pascal’s Triangle (from the picture) can be found here.