As a native New Yorker I grew up in a very competitive environment where learning study skills, respecting the professors who taught us and delivering on all assignments was a non-negotiable factor in my education. Additionally, I was blessed with a loving parental unit - comprised of a Doctor (Father) and Teacher (Mother) who without being cognizant in an asphyxiating way instilled in me a love of learning. A deep, sincere, infinite desire to garner and appreciate knowledge.
Respect for the written word, learning to write, read, critically think, learn about history, social studies, problem-solving and other creative activities further inspired my life-long commitment to loving knowledge and a desire to share that love with others. My academic path through Millburn, NJ (schools - 2nd public school district in the state), on to Georgetown University and then to New York University's Stern Business School established a pattern of focused, disciplined, incisive learning skills.
Regarding Study Skills - please don't underestimate the obvious, as I believe they are inherent to how one tackles problems and situations in school and the future workplace. I am also a big believer in DNA - more precisely HOW it manifests in creating Unique, Inimitable children and adults. Subsequently, when mentoring/teaching/coaching the diverse population of students out there the nature/nurture factor influences people of all ages to learn in different manners.
What matters is what truly engages the student's strengths, identifying them and re-enforcing the confidence needed to face many an exam, paper or deliverable of any sort. Or helping an adult learn to be more confident in the workplace, problem-solve marketing and management skills better in business; both examples underscore the need to recognize we are not all the same and thus, do not learn the same. But I believe one CAN learn magnificently.
People skills are integral to learning scenarios!
My Most Memorable teachers were always the ones who were patient, stressed clarity in their presentations, were willing to help me with my weaknesses without judgment, were funny and had no problem listening to my suggestions as to how to incorporate different ways of thinking. Assessing and understanding cognitive issues, general study/topic strengths and weaknesses and then finding a Method of study that is engaging, entertaining and repetitive in a manner wherein both the teacher and the student are learning, reiterating and absorbing together perpetuates the learning curve. As who doesn't want to set high expectations and then have them met?
Learning is collaborative and fun. The problem-solving skills I have acquired through my various experiences from pursuing acting, to working at start-up companies, to Fortune 500 companies further reinforced the following skills:
- Engage an audience.
- Be clear and state your goals in identifiable ways.
- Encourage the group/audience to embrace the ideas presented; even disagreements manifested, the challenge of creating an environment where it is imperative to get someone to just Listen is no easy task.
The skills I value and use continually are:
- reading comprehension
- grammar and phonics
- creative writing
- knowledge of American and European history / Social Studies (for the Elementary population)
- knowledge of International relations and US government policies
- public speaking
- improvisational speaking
- problem-solving and critical thinking
Finally, one facet I have long nurtured and been passionate about is the Theatre (acting, viewing, directing, coaching.) I have been involved in various productions, acting, directing, coaching and writing in the NY and Los Angeles area.
I directed, acted and coached through my years at Georgetown in addition to gaining a degree in Theatre.
I lived in Los Angeles and studied Theatre (scene study) and Improvisational techniques - both courses which produced actionable skills for children interested in acting in a play, learning their lines, understanding character motivations, being introduced to great literature via legendary playwrights and in general having fun with performing!
THUS - I beg of all who read this - never underestimate the power to think on one's feet, to conquer a fear of public speaking and to enjoy the imagination!
The take-away from my experiences has been that nothing truly defines a person as definitively as someone who realizes that they will never know everything and yet they are hungry to learn everything and anything they can for the rest of their lives.
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