• Hlompho Moichela

A Dive into the Uncomfortable

The study chair has been unused and left to swing to the tune of its own isolation, the desk looks oddly tidy with a thick layer of dust coating it. Textbooks strategically left in some corner of the house, never in clear sight, so that the walk from the kitchen to the television is never one of shame. These really are unexpected and odd times. Moreover, with level 4 of Lockdown due to begin on the 1st of May, many citizens are gearing up with the mentality of "May the best immune system win", but as students, we forge ahead with our ABC (Applying our Butts to the Chair).

The thought of studying does sound as dry as dust but it can become exciting by refreshing your approach to studying through close inspection of how you learn. Many are familiar with the four learning styles, and if not, that's okay, but after this read, there is no excuse.


The VARK model, created by enthusiastic teacher, Neil Flemings in the late 1980's, was created to help students establish and flourish in their preferred learning styles. Namely, the acronym sees to identify: Visual learners- students who learn best using visuals such as pictures, diagrams, charts and other forms of visual stimulation. Auditory learners- the students who prefer to soak up information through sound and music. Listening and speaking is their secret weapon to learning and retaining information. Reading/Writing learners- these students utilize the traditional method of rewriting passages from textbooks in their own words or even word for word in the form of study notes. This process is effective for such students. The last letter of the acronym accommodates Kinesthetic learners- these students learn best using physical activities, relying on their sense of touch. Such students use their hands and their body to effectively learn and retain information. They definitely won't be the first ones there or the most eager during a double lecture in a stuffy lecture hall. Which characteristics did you relate to from the VARK model?

It's normal to relate to more than one learning style. Each person is different, one using a dominant style, seldom using the other styles, while the other may use a variety of styles in different situations. A question then poses itself, "Which learning style is most effective and efficient for me?". Here are a few easy tips to help you find out and start optimizing your studying: Learning style quizzes can be found in their masses online, awaiting your much anticipated click. Informative, user-friendly and fun websites, there to help you navigate what works best for you. Another approach could be undergoing an observation of your strengths, weaknesses and preferences, an experiment! A self-probing mission if you will. Dabble in a couple of the learning styles: try reading your work out loud, be creative by making mind maps and models, if not, try settling down and writing notes instead. Just remember, because I know you're all too keen to start, be willing to set aside the thoughts and opinions you have cemented in your mind about how you study. Be flexible and agile. Rigidity halts progress.

The concept of learning has in the past, seen transformation and will continue to transform. Especially in such times where innovative, inclusive and effective methods of teaching have to be created outside the classroom. So what does that mean? It means that it is imperative that as a student, you are equipped and ready for all possible changes. The learning styles serve as the equipment needed as they allow you to understand that learning is a creative process that not only sharpens and develops learning skills-with the added bonus of confidently excelling academically- but it also transcends into other aspects of life that require agility, creativity and a brave dive into the uncomfortable.

With Scimatix, we bridge the gap between the dive and the uncomfortable. For all, this is new and uncharted terrain, especially for parents, who carry the weight of the uncertain and the questions that linger about the form and quality of learning their children will receive. Integrating the different learning styles into the tutoring and ensuring that each student not only thrives in their preferred learning styles but also assimilates smoothly to their content, is familiar terrain at Scimatix. All that is needed is a brave dive.

Steve Jobs was onto something profound when he said, " Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask a creative person how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synchronize new things".

Well, clean the desk, fetch the books from their hiding place and warm up the study chair, learning is in session.

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