We gave your our tips for aspiring teachers, as well as some advice on entering a new classroom. You have chosen your destination and cаn’t wait to do some traveling. Now all you have left to do is pass your TEFL course. Regardless of which certification program you are pursuing, you need to prepare well in advance. Here are some of our learning tips to help you build a sound studying strategy.
Optimize your learning space
Do you wake up, make coffee, have breakfast and go back to your bed to start work while still wearing your pajamas? Not a good idea. You usually associate your bed with sleep, naps and idling away on your smartphone. To get into the proper mood for work, you have to put clothes on and go to a designated learning spot. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a corner of your room with some cushions for extra comfort will work just fine. It goes without saying that you should minimize noise and other possible distractions.
Similarly to mind mapping, making short summaries and taking notes while you study will help your memory retain more information. Every time you familiarize yourself with an important concept or finish a chapter, take the time to put the most important points in your own words. You might not have the time to go over the same book twice, but you can surely go over your notes.
Your worst enemy is a lack of priorities when it comes to what you need to learn. You can get lost in the myriad of concepts and become easily frustrated. To avoid that, start with what is most important first, i.e. the general concepts, and only then go for the specifics. If you’re not familiar with mind mapping, there’s no better time to get acquainted. This strategy will be your best friend in organizing your learning schedule and helping you remember more.
Schedule your breaks
In my own experience, I take way too many breaks if I don’t schedule them in advance. I go to the fridge for a quick snack and before I know it I find myself cooking a three-course meal. Then I see a butterfly and start a Google search on their mating habits. But this is much less likely to happen if I know that I’ll have a break after a certain period of time or after finishing a particular chapter.
Give yourself enough time
Now that breaks are out of the way, you should schedule your study sessions as well, so that you don’t end up running out of time. When you get an early start, you allow your brain sufficient time to process and retain all the information in the long term. Using the same logic, cramming the night before the exam is a terrible idea, as we all know.
Use mnemonic devices
Sure, no matter how much time you give yourself, sometimes the information is just too much. Make it easier on your brain with some mnemonics. A mnemonic is a learning technique that helps you remember better. It could be anything – a rhyme, an acronym, a game, anything that helps you associate the material you need to learn with something that’s organized in a bigger building block and is naturally more easy to recall.
Take a practice test
There’s nothing like putting your knowledge to the test to identify your weak areas. Time yourself and try to replicate exam conditions as much as possible to correctly figure in which areas you need the most improvement. This strategy will let you know if you need to slow down a bit in order to make less mistakes, or if you need to focus more on speed.
One of the best ways to rest a tired brain is by doing some physical exercise. Put some time aside each day to do a little workout. It can just be jumping on a rope for 10 minutes during your schedule d break. Countless studies have shown a positive link between exercise and improved memory.
What are some of your successful learning strategies? Have you found some that work incredibly and others that get you nowhere? Scroll down and leave us a comment!