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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students learn to own their learning styles

University of Texas at Austin OnRamps director Julie Schell speaks about various learning styles at the Critical Thinking Conference Oct. 13 on NE Campus. Photo by Gabrielle Saleh/The Collegian

By Gabrielle Saleh/reporter

Wicked problems lurk everywhere, and owning one’s own learning helps to solve those problems, said a speaker to a NE audience during the campus’ Critical Thinking Conference Oct. 13.

Julie Schell, director of OnRamps and strategic initiatives at the University of Texas at Austin, spoke about different tactics students can use to own their own learning style. She said these tactics help students perform better on tests and achieve their academic goals.

Schell began by asking the audience to define wicked problems in the world, including poverty, homelessness and limited resources. At the same time, she addressed skills and tactics used to overcome these problems.

One wicked problem relating to students is test-taking anxiety, she said.

Schell said students can overcome test-taking anxiety by using retrieval practice while studying. Retrieval practice helps students study for tests by allowing them to retrieve information from their memory, she said. She also noted the difference between retrieval practice and simply reading notes.

“It is cognitive work,” Schell said. “Retrieval practice is mentally harder, but it’s worth it.”

One retrieval practice tactic that students can use is making flashcards, Schell said. However, she said to study them effectively.

“Keep the flashcards you know in the deck,” she said.

She also gave other forms of retrieval practice, such as discussing learned information with others to retain that information.

“Any act of pulling information from your memory is retrieval practice,” Schell said.

Schell provided students with a plan to achieve their goals in their courses.

She said students should focus on the goals they want to accomplish and then note their expected outcomes and obstacles. Finally, she asked students to determine a plan for overcoming the obstacles they face.

“This is going to help you get those skills and that knowledge that you need to succeed in that course and to excel and to be able to solve your wicked problems,” Schell said.

NE academic adviser Carey Miller, who helped plan the event, said the information is beneficial to TCC students.

“Many students struggle with test anxiety and don’t have the best techniques for studying,” Miller said. “Julie Schell was able to provide them with strategies to improve their study habits.”

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