Session 1

Science of Learning

Learning is your ability to gain new knowledge, skills, or experience. Your fulfillment and success rely to a large degree on how well you learn; it is a bedrock on which you will build a foundation for the rest of your life.

Learning is a natural skill. Babies and young children learn rapidly because they are not afraid to make mistakes and try out new strategies until something consistently works. Teenagers and adults who also have a high tolerance for frustration and who continue to try out new concepts can also learn quickly. Unfortunately, grades and measured job performance create a culture where mistakes are not appreciated, playfulness is not encouraged, and it is safer to stick with tried-and-true strategies. As you go through the Academic Life Coaching Program I will help you tap into the resourceful playfulness which is optimal for learning.

The grades you earn are not a reflection of your intelligence. Grades are a reflection of the system and habits you use to learn. Change your learning habits, and you will change your grades.

Since the Academic Life Coaching Program is a life coaching program, it is important that the information about learning styles is assimilated into action as well as designed jointly by both you and I. I will have some specific suggestions for how to best integrate learning styles into a study method. We will co-design the exercises to build your learning styles, as well as integrate them into your study habits.

Engaging Multiple Senses

One of the keys of the Academic Life Coaching program is to approach academic learning as a system. From this point of view, grades are not a judgment on a person’s intelligence or effort, rather, grades are a reflection of the system the student is using to achieve those grades. Part of the system is knowing how to motivate and move themselves forward toward their accomplishments.

The magic in the Academic Life Coaching program is that we give students a fresh start and an opportunity to approach school from a different perspective while simultaneously giving them tools to be more effective and productive.

Using the learning styles, we are achieving two things. We’re looking at the steps to take that will help the student succeed academically, while addressing that needed shift in perspective toward a systems-thinking point of view.
Learning is a combination of three things:

1) The ability to place knowledge within a useful context
2) The ability to memorize new information
3) The strength of the relationship between the teacher and the student

Wheel of Life

The Wheel of Life is a great starting exercise that gives the student a quick view of the balance in his or her life. Rarely do students, or anyone for that matter, take sufficient time out of their day to step back and assess the broader picture of their lives. In the Academic Life Coaching program, the Wheel of Life forms a contextual foundation on which all other concepts of the program are going to fall.

Well designed Actions

Goals are Overrated. When people think about life coaching and improving their life, often goals is the first word that comes to mind. In the Academic Life Coaching program we think the sentence: “You need to make goals,” is said too often. On the one hand, having goals are great. But unfortunately, the word is overused. The concept of having ‘SMART’ goals gets closer to being useful, but the whole process of setting goals and then trying really hard to achieve them (often doing the same actions just harder) usually leads to frustration.

Instead of creating goals, it is much more effective to think in terms of creating a system of actions that leads to an outcome. The well-designed part of a well-designed action refers to the characteristics of the end result that help focus the mind and attention in a way that boosts natural, intrinsic motivation. It will help you learn the valuable skill of moving forward when you most need to move.

The action part of a well-designed action refers to thinking in terms of systems, not simply in terms of effort and reward. Actions can happen naturally, sometimes with little or no effort. (Goals always require effort.) Actions are usually part of a system. If you can learn to create systems that work effectively, you will be astonished at how much you can achieve.

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