The word ‘Mindful’ means being conscious or aware of something while ‘learning’ is the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study or being taught.
Mindful learning is the technique of actively engaging in learning to gain the most out of it. It is a positive , practical, achievable scientifically proven technique which allows our minds to be more healthy, to be more mindful and less distracted.
The face of competition in our country has changed massively in the past few years – while previously, scoring 90% and above in boards was enough to get into the country’s elite colleges, today the admission criteria has become much more stringent as more and more students are appearing for competitive exams.
In India, every parent wants their child to be a doctor or an engineer. Often, this dream is very deeply ingrained in the child’s mind from the very day they begin their high school. Parents expect their child to excel in all fields, whether academics or sports. They put kids in school as well as coaching institutes. The students get a lot of homework from both school as well as coaching institute, which they are required to complete before the next class. Result? Unnecessary pressure and stress in students with no time left for self learning.
A recent study from Harvard suggests that on average our minds are lost in thoughts almost 47% of the time. This constant mind wandering is one of the direct sources of unhappiness. This means that we spend almost half our lives lost in thoughts and potentially quite unhappy which is tragic. How do we achieve mindful learning in such a competitive environment? How to study without being anxious or stressed? Lets looks at some ways of doing so.
Success is not obtained in a day. It is a result of daily effort that you put in. If you work towards your goal daily, you can space out the work over a longer period of time and hence the amount of stress gets distributed and decreases significantly.
If you are pursuing science stream, we have the best app that can help you learn quickly with limited time you have in hand: Avanti Gurukul.
There are 2 modes in this app: Learning mode and Revision Mode.
If you want to study a chapter from the start, you can go to Learn section in the app. Each chapter is divided into topics which are further broken down into smaller concepts which are important for a person to grasp in order to learn that topic effectively and there are Concept Videos corresponding to all the topics that you need to study for cracking the competitive exams. You can watch and learn at your time and pace. Moreover, you can pick up a topic exactly from where you left it off earlier.
Once done with the videos, you can attempt quizzes on the app. There are both topic as well as chapter quizzes to gauge whether you understood all the concepts in the chapter well or not.
If you feel you need to revise a topic, you can start with taking the diagnostic quiz available in the topic. Diagnostic quiz gives you an idea of how well you have understood a topic. Once you take the quiz, based on the question you did wrong, the app suggests you which videos you should watch in order to get those concepts right. This way you can revise faster in an effective manner by focussing only on topics that need your attention.
HIGHLIGHT or make Flash cards – Reading the same text repeatedly doesn’t improve your understanding of topics nor does it link key concepts together. By reading your book again, you may be spending a lot of time in going through less important information. Flash cards are proven to be excellent memory reinforcement tools. You can use them during your scheduled study times, or during off times, like a bus ride home.
PUT AWAY YOUR PHONE! – Cell phones are bad for your concentration. When you sit for studying, only study. However, if you are using your cell phone for studying like watching a video or researching a topic, switch off your social media notifications and do not open any other app. One great app that helps in learning Math and Science in fun way is Avanti Gurukul. Here are a few features of this app:
Videos that help in conceptual clarity for Grade 9-12
Diagnostic quiz to help you gauge how much you have understood a topic
Topic and Chapter quizzes for testing learning after studying a topic/ chapter.
Sample papers/ Previous Year Board Papers/ Practice Papers of CBSE for Grade 9-12
Analysis of previous year papers and tips and tricks to ace the competitive exams
Best part of it is that you can learn at your own pace and pick up from wherever you left last. If you have this app, you don’t need any extra coaching. You can prepare for your school examination as well as for competitive exams through this.
Teach it to someone else – If you can’t explain it simply, then you don’t understand it well enough. When you’re expected to teach, your brain organizes the information in a more logical, coherent structure.
Take frequent Practice tests – Mock tests put your brain in actual exam-like environment. Mistakes made at this stage helps you identify gaps in your knowledge. Practice tests have also been shown to increase confidence, thereby leading to better performance.
Space it out – A learning technique called “spaced repetition” involves breaking up information into small chunks and reviewing them consistently over a long period of time. For example if you are learning the periodic table, you don’t need to memorize the entire periodic table in one sitting— it will just burden your brain and not give you any results. Rather, learn a few rows every day and review each lesson before starting anything new.
Mindful note making – Research suggests that our brain stores information more securely when we write it out by hand than when we read or even type it. However, instead of mindlessly jotting down points or making notes, try to make the information personal. For example, whenever you come across a fact, think about its relevance in your life, how it will impact you. This way you will be able to retain the information longer. You can use flash cards at this stage to maintain short notes as well.
Study multiple subjects each day, rather than focusing on just one or two subjects – Study suggests that it’s more effective to study multiple subjects each day, than to deep-dive into one subject. Continuously stretching yourself to read one subject can lead to information overload and get you more confused. Rather study a bit, revise it the next day to make sure you have understood the portion and then dig deeper in the same subject. To study smart, you need to spread out your study time for each subject.
Review the information periodically – Periodic review is essential if you want to move any information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory. This will help you get better exam grades. The optimal review interval varies, depending on how long you want to retain the information. So after you study something, review it alternate days.
Exercise at least twice a week – Exercise is not only good for your body but it is also very good for your brain. Various studies have shown that exercise
Improves your memory
Improves your brain function
Reduces the occurrence of depression
Helps to prevent diseases like diabetes
Enhances your sleep quality
Improves your mood
So to study smarter, exercise a little whenever you get time. You will become healthier, more energetic and better at retaining the information.
I hope that including these points in your study routine and daily life will help you. But remember that anything will be useful only if you study and prepare whole-heartedly.