Overcoming all those learning blues

Tips to make study time enjoyable  

IT WAS shortly before 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, and they began arriving at the school in ones and twos, clutching acknowledgement slips that permitted them to attend the one-day seminar.

They took their seats inside the auditorium at the A. E. T. Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Erode, and looked around curiously as they waited for the workshop to commence. On the stage backdrop was the theme of the workshop: `Studies....A problem?'

Within a few minutes, all 60 students from 30 schools in Erode region had taken their seats. Some of them had come from as far as Dharapuram and Sathyamangalam.

All of them were students of classes 9 and 11, and had been chosen by their schools to attend the Newspapers in Education (NIE) workshop conducted by The Hindu Young World.

They spent the first few minutes reading the latest issues of `Young World' and `Quest', distributed inside the auditorium. For a while the only sound that could be heard was the gentle rustle of newspaper pages. A few latecomers arrived in a hurry and took their seats as soon as possible, relieved that they had not missed anything.

After a brief introduction ceremony, S. Sambandan, a specialist in student psychology and motivation, took over. He welcomed the student participants, comparing them to athletes who were running a marathon race.

Like long distance runners who need to train and practise in order to give a good account of themselves during the big event, school students in the senior classes would have to prepare themselves to do well in the public examinations that would influence the future course of their lives.

Self-confidence and conviction were essential for a young person who wanted to be a winner. However, the motivation to become a winner had to come from within, not from an external agency. It was only the power of the mind, which made people `super beings', that could change a person's outlook and mental programming.

Like an elephant that stood in the same place when tied to a tree by a thin rope, some young people believed that those who could not study were losers, because they had never learnt to look at their own potential in the right perspective.

Taking in every vital information

Taking in every vital information  

"A limiting belief is a wrong belief," he emphasised, pointing out that a tame elephant could easily break the rope and free itself from its tamers, but the animal mistakenly believed that all efforts to escape would end in failure.

This was the result of the elephant tamers chaining the animal in order to restrict its movements, when it was very young and impressionable. After making several futile efforts to break free, the elephant concluded that any further effort would likewise end in failure, and remained a slave for its entire life.

Sambandan taught the students an `auto suggestion technique' to `charge their batteries' before they began their studies, or whenever they needed to increase their mental energy. He asked them to repeat after him, five statements that would provide `positive registration' regarding their innate potential.

Stretching out their right hands, with their palms facing him, the students chanted loudly in unison, "I am a confident person! I am an energetic person! I am an achiever! I can, I will! I am a winner!"

Another way to recharge the mental batteries was to think about all the affectionate people in one's life, who were sacrificing much to ensure that one obtained an education. Coming out with flying colours in the examination would make all these affectionate people very happy.

It was even possible to go one step further and visualise oneself receiving the prize for the best student, while friends, relatives and well-wishers applauded and cheered in a huge auditorium. Such techniques would put a student in the right frame of mind to study well every day, and master all the lessons.

On the other hand, such things as worry, anxiety, over excitement, over exertion, always being in a hurry and trying to do too many things within a short span of time, would result in poor memory.

"Revision is reinforcement. A tension-free mood is essential for recall," he said, and explained how to make use of the `subconscious mind that never slept', to enhance the learning process. Visualising a scene of success and `replaying' it mentally several times, would help a lot.

"Every effort should be rewarded. We should pat ourselves for every small achievement, and gain confidence," he said, and explained that there was much to be gained by regulating the rate of breathing. `Abdominal breathing' would bring in more oxygen into the human system and release more carbon dioxide, thus providing a rejuvenating effect.

Winners of a quiz programme conducted during the workshop, received copies of `The Hindu speaks on Scientific Facts'. These prizes went to: Surya Prakash of Shree Vidyaraya Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Gobichettipalayam; Prasanna of Palaniammal MHSS, Erode; and S. Vignesh Kumar of Sarasawathi Vidya Nikethan High School, Erode.

By Michael Raj A. A.

in Coimbatore