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Becoming a Learner - Page 9A
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Page 9A: The Environment for Learning (continued)

Continued from previous page

Now if you are on a course with a tutor or tutors, then they can have a lot of impact in this realm, but I’ve seen a lot of what fits the description of ‘teaching’ or ‘training’ to know that it isn’t always as wonderful as you’d like it to be, Dry lessons that just plough on can leave you thinking, “How soon will this end?”

If that is the case, and i believe it often is, then your home environment needs to be an oasis where you can restore joy to learning. Think about how you can affect the environment of your home working area. Pictures?  Colour? Regular flow of coffee or whatever keeps you going? A mirror before which you stand before you start work and declare, “This is going to be good! I am going to enjoy this!”  Crazy? No, just an attempt to say there will be times in any course of any length when you are going to feel jaded and work will seem an effort, and you need to adopt mind strategies to overcome!

Sometimes it’s mundane things.  Do you work at a laptop or PC?  What do you sit on?  Is it comfortable and at the right height? Is the room light enough? Do you actually feel comfortable in your working space? Are you warm enough? Are you too warm? Think about it and change things if need be.
Part 2: The Adventure of Learning
General Health

This is all about environment. The environment for your mind is your body. It may sound pretty obvious but if you are tired, hung-over or just ill, that is not the best environment for your mind.

Incidentally, this may be a good reason to get on with home work or projects early on, while you are on top of things. Leave it to next Sunday evening before handing it in on Monday morning, presupposes you’ll be well on Sunday afternoon. No, this isn’t being depressing, it’s being sensible! Go down with a streaming cold on Sunday and working becomes a struggle.

This is so obvious that you’ll probably reject it, but sufficient sleep and a good diet go a long way to helping build a good environment for your mind. Add some reasonable exercise and you’re on the road to becoming a smart learner. We’ll say some more when we come to talking about memory, but for now, that’s enough – but do think about it.
Dining Room, Kitchen, Bedroom, Study, Desk, Table, Stool or Rocker?

Now you may not have options but if you do, they are worth thinking about. Working off a kitchen table, with other members of the family bumbling around you may be all right for you, but a small desk that it just yours, tucked away in a quiet, light location can create a much nicer feel to your learning – and why shouldn’t it!

Similarly a pivotal, adjustable height chair for a lot of computing work is better than a rigid ‘office’ chair.  A stool at the kitchen table may be all right, but how is your back?  A simple suggestion - ring the changes. When you have to do some simple reading, choose a rocker or an arm-chair. Variety helps it be more of an enjoyable experience.
Some may say none of these things are critical and that is true, but the right furniture in the right location can add pleasure to the experience. If you have a view out of a back window into a beautiful garden or landscape, that can be a blessing or a bane. Some of us are sufficiently disciplined to be able to pause up every now and again and let our soul be refreshed by the sights outside, but if that view just constantly drags your mind away from your work, then a view outside of a wall would serve you better!  Not vital issues, but helpful.
And so...

And so, yes, these are all very obvious things but the existence of people who struggle with the learning in their lives suggests that often we’re not very good at thinking about the obvious!

Happy, ENJOYABLE learning!