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Straight A's Are Not Enough: Breakthroughs in Learning for College Students Kindle Edition
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The purpose of education is to develop critical thinkers and acquire employment skills, internalize a problem-solving mentality and to inspire people to contribute to the world. With the cost of education soaring, it makes great sense to improve the efficiency with which one accomplished these goals. (Think in terms of both time and money.)
One major focus of the book is to learn how to learn. The book overflows with strategies that dissect the learning process, identify inefficiencies, and debunk long-standing assumptions about study skills. Well-researched and exquisitely organized, Straight A’s Are Not Enough is the answer to a motivated student’s prayer: achieve improved results in less time and with less effort.
Learning to learn is only part of the benefit this book provides; it offers many strategies for increasing organization, presentation and communication skills—all of which are integral to success not only in school, but also in the world after graduation.
Like the target audience of this book, I enjoyed excelling in school and invested countless hours to ensure mastery (read grades) as well as the proverbial liberal arts education. Let me repeat, I invested countless hours studying. Where was this book when I was in school? All my life I have struggled with organization. This book dazzled me with its depth and practicality. After reading it, I realized how horribly inefficient my approach to learning was. It includes a smorgasbord of approaches from which students can select the strategies that best suit their learning styles. It offers ideas for everyone.
Straight A’s Are Not Enough holds value even for people no longer in school; its approaches can assist anyone who is interested in continuing to learn. I would also suggest that it would make an excellent basis for a high school class that prepares students who are headed off to college. Our education system does precious little to address this process. The material covered in this book could help students immensely.
I was given an advance reading copy of this book. The opinions offered in this critique are honest and without bias. Gayle H. Swift, ABC, Adoption & Me
What I liked most about this book is how the author broke down learning into steps, created an organized system of techniques which are applied to whatever subject or course on takes and all of it is based on the premise: "choose to learn with intention". Also I loved how the author interspersed results of valid learning studies and explained how students responded under different conditions. Two studies which stood out were these: the first, the classic study by the psychologist Dr. Harry Harlow a behavioral psychologist who tested rhesus monkeys to see how fast they could solve puzzles. The monkeys played with the puzzles with focus, determination and what looked like enjoyment. However, when the monkeys were given raisins as rewards for solving the puzzles they seemed to lose interest. Dr. Harlow explained the findings as follows, 'The performance of the task provided intrinsic reward.' The second study was twenty years later when Edward Deci showed that college students who were offered money for solving puzzles did the job with great interest and initially for the monetary reward but then they lost interest. However, the students who were not paid to solve the puzzles with a reward kept working harder and continued their efforts. The conclusion was that external reward systems are not the best way to motivate students to learn. Another unique study was done at Göteborg University in Sweden where students were given an article to read and told they would be tested on the material. The researchers asked the students how they had gone about reading the article. Some used the approach of reading to memorize facts and information they thought they would be test on. Others read to understand the material and they read with the intent to explain the material to others. The results: when tested again weeks later, the first group did not do well on the test, the second group did much better and retained the information much longer. The researchers described these three approaches to learning: "shallow", "deep" and "strategic". People use all three approaches at different times, sometimes they combine approaches depending on need. This book is about learning how to use each type of approach with the best results possible and how to succeed in reaching your learning goals.
The whole book is devoted to how to become an effective learner and how to study with purpose and focus. This means taking notes with intention, setting aside regular and consistent scheduled study time and managing your time effectively which allows for "flex time.". The author discusses concepts such as willpower, resilience and concentration. She addresses reading skills such as skimming, relating information to what is known, creating mental images, rereading and testing yourself. She explains the K-W-L approach: K = what do you know about the topic, W= what do you want to know or need to know, and L = what have you learned, in other words, did you understand what you read or the new concepts. The author provides a good description of the ten ways of thinking which are: scientific, mathematical, analysis, synthesis, critical thinking, creative thinking, decision making, evaluation, problem solving, and strategic thinking. She also discusses the concept of mindset where some learners give up quickly with the belief that being smart or a good learner is a *fixed* thing and they possess only a certain amount of ability. In the beginning, they were excited and successfully mastered puzzles but when the puzzles became increasingly more difficult, they gave up instead of steadily pursuing the solution. Other students or learners possessed a *growth* mindset where they worked on gradually more difficult puzzles and kept trying despite set backs and failures with the belief they would eventually get better and develop a solution. Received book as gift with option to review. The author addresses strategies for using and enhancing memory. She includes a chapter on "what employers want most" and another one which describes analytical reasoning, using either numerical or verbal data. The last chapter is about the five levels of complex problem solving. I found this book thorough, research based, organized and well written. I am quite convinced it delivers the goods! Erika Borsos [pepper flower]