This is very, very true:
The first step toward better learning is to simply change your study environment from time to time.
I love that. Even as an adult I feel as if I have to constantly change my environment to maximize throughput and productivity. This is partly why my “home office” isn’t much to look at as I don’t want to necessarily stay there the entire time that I’m working.
“The brain wants variation,” Mr. Carey says. “It wants to move, it wants to take periodic breaks.”
Playing a quick game on my iPhone or reading another chapter of a book or just taking a walk or working out allows my brain to process information that’s in queue. I literally feel the tension release in my skull as the breaks take effect.
Knowing these things, I feel as if I need to do a better job of creating this type of environment for ourselves and for our kids. Another thought worthy of consideration (and use):
One way to signal to the brain that information is important is to talk about it. Ask a young student to play “teacher” based on the information they have studied. Self-testing and writing down information on flashcards also reinforces learning.
Having our kids teach the topic is important. As adults, we already know this: Teaching something helps you crystalize the concept and make it more fundamental to your understanding.
Oh, and make sure to get sleep:
“Sleep is the finisher on learning,” Mr. Carey says. “The brain is ready to process and categorize and solidify what you’ve been studying. Once you get tired, your brain is saying it’s had enough.”
Yes, yes, and yes.
Sleep is the final capstone of learning. Funny to think of it in that way, but, it’s the truth.