I blog on Brain-Based Learning, Metacognition, EdTech, and Social-Emotional Learning. I am the author of the Crush School Series of Books, which help students understand how their brains process information and learn. I also wrote The Power of Three: How to Simplify Your Life to Amplify Your Personal and Professional Success, but be warned that it's meant for adults who want to thrive and are comfortable with four letter words.

Mastering Difficult Concepts the Easy Way

Mastering Difficult Concepts the Easy Way

In my previous article How to Make Learning and Life Easier for Your Kids I shared this FREE sample lesson on Mastering Difficult Concepts. Today, I want to explain how parents and teachers can use it to help kids approach learning challenging topics and avoid becoming overwhelmed and frustrated while at it.

The lesson, just as each of the 65 contained in my newest book Crush School Student Guide begins with the Big Idea. All learning should begin with a goal - a sense of purpose and the understanding what one wants to know more about when the learning session is finished.

I chose to use a video to deliver the information on The Feynman Technique, which is a 4-step approach to understanding difficult topics. But while the link will take the student to the video she does not merely watch it - I used a program called EdPuzzle to embed reflection questions so the student can process the information as she is receiving it.

After the 3-minute video concludes, the student is asked to name the 4 steps and represent them graphically. By recalling what the steps are she can remember them better and if she forgot any she can return to the video to find them. By stretching her mind to represent her understanding of the steps graphically she develops a better understanding of them and forms more connections in her brain, which aids both understanding and memory. As a bonus, creating graphics with descriptions allows the student to practice creativity, communication, and critical thinking.

Finally, the lesson walks her through the process of mastering a difficult concept she's currently learning in one of her classes. By applying what she learned immediately after the learning session the student's brain begins forming long-term memories. While weak at first, these memories can be made stronger with repeated use of the learning strategy.

The student isn't just told: "Use The Feynman Technique." She is guided through the process step-by-step, which deepens her understanding and turns the learning into a skill. The only thing left is to improve the skill by continually using it when learning. Because the student has the book and the completed lesson at her disposal she can refer to it and use it as a reminder whenever needed.

When she masters the technique and internalizes and uses it consistently she will begin to notice that learning difficult concepts is becoming easier. This is because she will have at her disposal an effective learning strategy that gives her brain a way to process the information it is learning multiple times and in a multitude of ways. As the brain uses more brain cells to store the information and forms new connections between these neurons, learning new, more difficult information becomes progressively easier. This is due to experience and increased brain mass.

This is what the process of "getting smarter" looks like.

Please feel free to use the Mastering Difficult Concepts Lesson any way you want. It is my gift to you. It will help anyone understand challenging concepts more effectively. 

I structured each lesson of the Crush School Student Guide: Learn Faster, Study Smarter, Remember More, and Make School Easier in the same way to maximize understanding, application, and retention - or what I call "true" learning.

The book comes out on Amazon this Friday.

Here are the FREE Bonuses it comes with:

BONUS 1: PDF copy of my book Crush School 2: 10 Study Secrets Every High Schooler Should Know ((also available here)

BONUS 2: Project Completion Template PDF (with directions)

BONUS 3: Create a Killer Presentation Template (with directions)

BONUS 4: Cush Tests Checklist (also available here)

The Crush School Student Guide might or might not be for you but it can help pre-teens, teens, and young adults learn faster and smarter and improve their memory. You can get it here

And don't worry, if you're not sure if you can use the book, you don't have to buy it now. I will be sharing more lessons and resources it contains in my next few posts with no strings attached. 

Thanks for taking a look!

You have the power to change lives. Use it often so they can change the world.

NOTE: The final 20 seconds of The Feynman Technique video on YouTube contains inappropriate content which I cut out for the book to include only the technique.