How Do You Know What You Know?
How is it that some students figure out how to learn while others lose confidence in their abilities? If you apply the concepts used in self-hypnosis to learning, you can assess your abilities as a student by looking at how you learn and recall information through the five senses. Begin by identifying your comfortable learning zone. You'll come to understand your level of knowledge and also how you naturally assemble and recall knowledge.
When you are doing something you enjoy, you are more apt to apply yourself. When you see no reason to learn certain information, you will be less likely to learn it. You also need to have a positive learning environment. Even if you are motivated, it may not be possible for you to learn because something or someone interrupts your focus. Sometimes you may be thrown off by your own sensitivity.
If a student has behavioral problems, is constantly forgetful or disorganized, cannot stay focused, and has low self-esteem, she may have a neurological disorder such as ADD/ADHD. If you feel this might be the case, consult your child's doctor.
If you are working with a student, pick a nonthreatening environment and a subject that he is interested in, and help him to share how he learns. When you communicate with the student on a comfortable level, you lay the groundwork for establishing future self-hypnotic anchors that can create learning trances. You can ask yourself or a student the following questions to assess how information is learned and recalled. The questions are directed toward any subject that you or the student may be interested in. You may change or add questions as necessary.
What do you enjoy doing, and how did you learn to do it?
When you do something you like, how and why do you enjoy it?
Can you describe how you do what you do?
Why did you learn to do it?
• Is it fun to do it, and has the level of enjoyment been the same or has it grown or diminished since you began?
• Do you enjoy talking about it, teaching about it, or demonstrating it to other people?
• Can you remember how you began and how you have progressed?
• What else do you enjoy doing?
When you choose to learn something, how much do you rely on your visual sense? Do you learn by watching, or do you use actual or mental pictures? Can you store visual images in your mind and recall them when you want to? In other words, if you learn through watching or picturing in your mind, can you accurately remember what you saw? Can you describe, either orally or in writing, what you can picture in your mind?
Can you picture the image in your mind and move around in it, gathering information? Can you see it from different angles? Can you see yourself in the image? Do you see it in color, black and white, or gray tones? Is the picture in your mind clear or fuzzy?
Do you remember information through pictures in your mind? Can you read a description of something and create a picture of it in your mind? Can you picture what someone else describes? Can you remember what you read or what someone else describes by recalling a picture in your mind? How much do you rely on pictures in your mind to recall information?
Do you remember by recalling sounds or conversations that took place around a certain situation? Can you listen to something mechanical, like an engine, and tell what its working condition is? Do you hold conversations in your mind to help yourself recall information? Can you remember a relaxing sound that helps you feel calm? Can you mentally change the volume of sounds, making them louder or softer?
When you study, can you concentrate if there is music playing or other sounds in the background? Do you learn better with music or other sounds as part of the background? Are there certain styles or tempos of music that help you to focus on your learning? If you hum or sing to yourself when you study, can you recall the information you were studying when you remember the tune you were humming as you learned it?
Some attention problems, especially those in a young student, may be caused by a sensory overload. If a student has extremely good hearing, the smallest sound can break her focus. Sensory overload can be experienced in any of the five senses. You may be able to teach the student to tune out the overload.
Is it easier for you to concentrate when things around you are quiet? Do you play music or sing? If you do, how do you remember music? Do you prefer loud or soft sounds? How else does your hearing help you learn and remember information?
Do you enjoy being active when you learn? Do you move your body or wiggle your fingers or feet? When you are listening, do you like to doodle, move your hands, play with your fingers, or make other movements? Is there something in particular that you like to hold in your hands when you are learning? Do you like to tap your feet or wiggle your fingers to music when you are learning?
Is it easier for you to learn something when you get hands-on experience? If so, how do you remember the information? Do you remember by recalling what something feels like? Would you rather learn in an informal setting or a formal classroom? Would you rather learn outdoors or inside?
Do you learn better in certain moods? Can you create a learning mood in yourself? Do you enjoy learning by yourself or with others? If you learn better in a group, how do you remember the information you learned at that time? Are there any other feelings that help you learn?
Learning Through Smell and Taste
When you learn, do you like to be surrounded by special smells? Do you burn incense or candles when you study? Does the smell of food help you study? Do certain places where you study have smells that help you feel comfortable and make it easier to learn? If smell is important to your learning process, can you remember a smell that helps you recall information?
Is it easier to learn when you are enjoying food, drink, or gum? There may be a special food you enjoy eating while studying. Can you recall information when you remember a certain taste? Can you think of any other situation where taste is important to you for learning and recalling information?
Do you ever combine the senses of taste and smell to create a positive learning environment? Can you think of combinations of tastes and smells and remember information that you have learned? Do you combine tastes and smells with any of your other senses to recall information? If so, what are they?