Cells of recognition

Cells of Recognition

All of us have brain cells that helps us make sense of our environment. From the second we blink-open our eyes when we wake. These cells of recognition have been built way back when we were infants. Day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year. We are able to go through the day, sometimes without thinking much about what we’re doing because of them. Some experts call this habit. But before we can form a habit, we do need to think about what we’re doing. Only once we have made sense of the action, then we do it repeatedly WITHOUT thinking about it.

Why am i talking about this?

Because i believe the reason why many students do not do well with Chemistry (or any subject) is due to the fact that they don’t recognize this. Some do and they actively build cells of recognition as they are studying. That is the reason why we do Ten Year Series. To build cells of recognition. To see how Cambridge phrased the questions SO THAT we can recognize the pattern and give the correct answer. What we should try to do is to inculcate this routine into our daily studying.

How many of you realized that the duration that you have to learn more complex concepts is getting shorter? In primary school, you had six whole years to learn and build those cells of recognition. For secondary school, you had four whole years. However, in Junior College, you have slightly less than two years to make sense of the most abstract concepts!

Is it any wonder that students are struggling? Does it seem strange that you are failing tests where previously you have always done well? The  change in teaching and learning environment from classroom teaching to lecture/tutorials. You were expected to hit the road running. Many students find themselves wondering what happened. The truth is, even though humans are extremely adaptable creatures, we still need time to process changes and to adjust our thinking.

In primary school, we had six years to adjust to the concept of “School”. At secondary level, we had four years to make sense of many subjects at introductory level. For Junior College, we have slightly less than one and the half years to complete the “advanced” syllabus. To adjust to the new system of lecture/tutorial, for some, it’s also a period where they are exploring romantic relationships. With so many changes going on at the same time, it’s no wonder many youths cannot cope with their studies load.

How do we navigate this tumultuous times? By actively thinking and planning our time weekly, having a good overview of what we are doing. It helps when you can build up a routine for quickly reviewing and reflecting on the boatload of new content every week. The students who can adapt quickly to the changes and settle down to building new cells of recognition will do well. Those who take a long time to adapt will show symptoms, such as late-coming and lethargic behavior in class.

It’s vitally important that students make full use of their weekends to recap what they have learnt through the week. The many requirements imposed on them throughout the week can drain their energy, causing them to be too tired to revise at night. Those who force themselves to stay up late to study more often then not, put too much stress on themselves. Usually this results in lowered alertness and attentiveness during lesson time, which hinders their ability to take in new information. Not having adequate rest during the weekdays is detrimental to  learning.

In a nutshell, build routines quickly, then build cells of recognition. This process will allow you to quickly adapt to JC life and get down to learning the new concepts.

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