How to Study for Mastery

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    William C. Michael

    When lessons are published for CLAA students, there is a quality of study expected of them that demands a certain method of study.  In this article, I’d like to outline this method.

    1.  First Reading

    The lesson will include or assign readings that are to be studied for mastery.  The first reading, however, is an easy reading of all of the assigned material, through which the students survey what is to be studied.  The goal of this reading is to get an idea what needs to be studied.

    2.  Second Reading

    The second reading is careful and complete, seeking to comprehend all content in the lesson.  There is no easy way to complete this reading.  It requires great concentration and patience, reading and re-reading until ideas are comprehended.

    3.  Notes

    While making the second reading, the student should take notes to outline and summarize all content of the lesson, as if he was preparing to teach the lesson to others.  As the student decides what to write, he is forced to seek the outline and concepts in the lesson and capture everything in his notes–as accurately and efficiently as possible.  He will be able to feel where he lacks comprehension and “gets lost”.  Any exercises included in the lesson should be considered part of the student’s lesson notes.  Throughout this process, he will be contacting CLAA Support for help.  This effort to learn is the mark of a true student.

    4.  Memory Work

    If the lesson assigns any content to be memorized, it will be done at this time to “knead” key definitions and principles into the mind for future use.  All memory work should be recited until it can be given on request with no help or delay.   Memory work includes key definitions, principles and rules, without which progress will not be able to be made in future studies.  Course examinations will use time limits to assess this mastery of lessons–demanding not only a certain quality of knowledge, but also a readiness of it.

    5.  Comprehension Questions

    Comprehension questions begin a discussion between the teacher and student.  The questions are provided to guide the student through all important points in the lesson, and sometimes challenge to think beyond what is found in the lesson.  Comprehension questions should always be answered after careful reading and should be written with complete sentences.  When completed the student should submit questions via live chat review.  Mr. Michael (or a CLAA tutor, depending on the course) will review the student’s answers, and provide feedback to help the student master the lesson.  This back and forth discussion will continue until all questions have been answered thoroughly and correctly.

    6.  Review

    When all other lesson tasks have been completed, students should review their notes, check their memory work and make sure they know everything in their lesson.

    7.  Assessment

    If the lesson allows, an online assessment will be provided.  This assessment will test the student’s mastery of the content of the lesson, memory work, etc.  Online assessments are always timed to challenge the student to answer correctly–and immediately.   Where assessments are not published online, Mr. Michael may provide a live assessment on chat.

    This is how a lesson is to be studied for mastery in the Classical Liberal Arts Academy. If at any time you need help, please contact us.

    William C. Michael
    Classical Liberal Arts Academy

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