Why Scholarship is hard work

I'm a bit pressed for time at the moment & thought I'd re-post this one – although it probably reiterates what your teachers have already told you about doing lots of reading around the subject! 

You've probably found by now that preparing for Scholarship exams involves (among other things) an awful lot of reading. I was reading an on-line article just now and came across a statement by an English professor which I think is just as relevant to biology. He's commenting on what he perceives as pressure to increase the amount of computer-based learning in the classroom.

In his opinion, the push towards e-learning and incorporation of each new learning technology in the classroom runs the danger of weakening education. He feels that the 'technology at all costs' approach teaches only skills for accessing information, rather than encouraging learning and knowledge acquisition. Why? Because…

…"[r]eal learning modifies the human being who undergoes it. We change; we grow; we see reality differently. If we don’t, then we have not, in fact, learnt: we have merely skimmed the surface of a learning subject. Learning is participatory… The more passive the student can be, the more the information simply passes over the mind, rather than entering it. In one ear and out the other, as we say. But reading, serious reading, close reading, reading of the sort that I still teach in a department of English, cannot tolerate such superficial engagement. Surface contact with the text results in failure, and so it should. Reading involves the whole mind; it is a negotiation of meaning. It is demanding, and rightly so."

He's talking about reading for meaning, for understanding, as requiring a whole lot of effort. And he's right. But putting that effort it will make a great deal of difference in terms of your understanding of the material; your ability to think critically about it; to analyse, synthesise, and write a coherent commentary –  to becoming a successful student.

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