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Centerpointe Research


Teaching Yourself

Saarbrücken, HTW, Mathematics Workshop

Saarbrücken, HTW, Mathematics Workshop (Photo credit: flgr)

When I was in school I was expected to learn how to do something and to master this skill on my own.  There was no teacher utilizing a method of instructing in math or reading.   Tutoring and such additional help is common today but was only used then in extreme cases where the student couldn’t master the subject.  If they were given extra help in class, the  rest of the class would fall behind.  Memorization skills  and good handwriting were expected and competitions were held in these areas with winners and losers.  To the gifted student, it was motivating and now we know it created  brains filled with much knowledge and good problem solving skills.

Such students still exist.  My son and I both figure out how to do math problems on our own.  I never was very good at helping with the “new” math homework when my kids were in school.  Surprisingly I took advanced math classes in high school and did well; but calculus was never offered.  I never did master calculus but I memorized derivations in graduate school when calculus was used in statistics class.

Computer Basics Class

Computer Basics Class (Photo credit: taylor library)

When methods are used to teach math, they often do not “click” with every student.  This is like with using the computer.  You need often to figure it out for yourself and when someone else teaches you, they teach you their way which may or may not work for you.  Everyone’s wiring is different and what works for one person may not work for another person.  There are many different ways to do things on the computer and how something is done in one program may not be the way something is done in another.  Frequently programs on the computer assume that you will already know something and skip explaining this step.  If you already know how some things are ordinarily done on the computer, you may be able to almost automatically fill in the missing step while a novice won’t be able to do this.

Assuming that somebody knows something or knows how to do something may make somebody look like an “ass” whether it is you or the other person depends on who determines the winner of the argument you or the other person.  I frequently find this a problem with men who feel that if you can’t convince them of something that you are automatically wrong.  Who determines the winner is the problem here.  As a result, I refuse to participate in such arguments.


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I Knew It

nothing-new-under-the-sun2I found that I already knew it; but I couldn’t get it to work.  There comes a time when in exploring any body of knowledge that you realize that there is little new material out there.  What you really are seeking is a magic trick that can get what you already know about to work for you.  For example, take the subject of dieting, there are only so many kinds of diets, low carb, reduced calorie, etc., that you begin to think that there is nothing new under the sun.  If it works for them, people write about it, talk about it and are enthusiastic about it; but often they fail to convey the one thing they have found that makes it work.

There is a time to stop buying books, viewing videos, and listening to audio recordings as the amount of new information and the number of new insights you get from the material becomes extremely limited.   Your return on your investment in terms of time and money diminishes to almost zero.  In order to get you to purchase materials and go to workshops, promoters promise something new and different with surprising results.  At this point in their studies, people are often disappointed.

solveyourownproblemsI knew it that is the solution to this problem,  It seemed too hard to do,that was to find a way to can make it work for yourself.  We can solve our own problems, but we often have not been encouraged to do this.  People are competitive and like to promote the idea that they can do something or know something you don’t know.  We have innate problem solving abilities, but they are often rusty from disuse and remain almost unused as we usually have no confidence in our ability to do so.  Too often as we grew up, we were encouraged to solve problems the way our parents and teachers did and to come to the same conclusions they did.  When we do solve a problem for ourselves, we are often become discouraged because our mentors often criticized us and rejected our methods and solutions in favor of their own.

I already knew it (but I thought it might be self-aggrandizing to think that I might know almost as much as the “authorities” did in some areas after I had thoroughly studied them.  When I did find a source that I hadn’t examined in those areas, that I learned very little that was new.  One thing that you can do is to expand your area of search and cover material that you may have overlooked or rejected as not being useful to cover.  For example, people who have one religious belief system may have thoroughly studied the information available on that system; but may have avoided learning about other religious systems that they believe to be incompatible with their own.



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