When you hear the word Retro you are most probably thinking something like Elvis, Beehive haircuts, Mission Brown paint colour. That is not what this is about.
Tell me .. do you think Self Improvement is something that can and should be done as a high priority, with focus and intent? Isn't Self Improvement the one thing that everyone strives for, to be better, to earn more, to love more, to be more generous, to achieve more.
How are you doing with your Self Improvement? How is your child going with that? Is it a purposeful, meaningful activity that is a tight part of your every day activity?
When I say Retro, I mean it as a "Retrospective" .. an activity where you take a moment to reflect on something, assess the good and bad, what went right and wrong.
Who does Retro?
A retro is commonly used as a tool in Business - typically for 'Agile' teams that are working together on a project. A Retro is used to periodically stop, assess your work, your results, your team dynamics, the quality of the work, the happiness of the team/sponsor/customer. The actions that come out of a Retro is supposed to improve the quality of the work, the quality of the result, the happiness of the team etc. By doing Retros quite often (every 2 to 3 weeks, after something is delivered) you build into your practice a feedback loop that should continually help to improve every aspect of the work.
Why do a Retro?
Its so often quoted that I think we tend to just gloss over it now, but if you continue to do things exactly the same way then you are likely to just repeat the same mistakes and achieve pretty much the same outcome. A retro is a chance to stop, assess, congratulate and celebrate the good stuff, modify the bad stuff, take note of things that we are unsure about.
This is really the very essence of self improvement. If you don't stop and take stock, adjust your course, consciously try and do things a little better, stop doing things that arent working, then what chance have you got of achieving the most you can?
How to do a Retro?
The four key questions doing a retro?
- What went Right
- What went Wrong
- What should I do Differently
- What Puzzles me
Some Guiding questions to help your thinking.
When should you do a Retro?
I would suggest the Retro should become part of your kids lives as soon as possible, and be used all the time.
What to do with all your Retros?
After you finish a retro, review your answers. Resolve to take some action on one or more of the most important points that you think need attention.
Definitely review your Retros from time to time. The true power in a Retro is to look back and make sure you are doing the things you thought you needed to keep doing, Make sure you are changing the things that you identified that needed to be changed. Did you really make an effort to find out about the things that Puzzle you?
The more you look back, the more you will take on board - you will just make it a natural part of your day to truly turbo-charge your self improvement.
That is kind of what its all about? Right?
Ok, so I've been in extended absence for a while for a few reasons, but chomping at the bit to get back into delivering quality information hacks for our kids.
Today i'm revisiting something I was using a long time ago, and one that really is so fundamental to the early development of lifelong learning that it should be top of mind in all learning related endeavours.
SQ3R was development by Francis Pleasant Robinson way back in the 1940's in a book titled 'Effective Study'
It was developed for college students but can be applied in earlier schooling, and of course all the way through the rest of everybody's professional life.
SQ3R stands for the five steps that you should use when reading something that you want to imprint on your brain.
These five steps are:
Step 1: Survey
Start by skimming through your material to decide if and how it will be useful and to get an overview of the information.
For a book you might scan the contents, the introduction, some chapter introductions, and the chapter summary to get an overview of the material. Then, look at formatting of the text: bold words, italics, subheadings, boxed text. These tend to point to words or ideas that are important to the subject. Go over any images, maps, charts, and diagrams that are in the text.
Note: This step will give you a good idea if this information contains relevant information you are looking for if you are researching for a subject. If it doesn't seem to meet your needs, set it aside and keep repeating this step with other sources.
Step 2: Question
Write down questions that you may have about the subject. These are likely to be questions that you have from before looking at the material, as well as ones that form in your mind as you are going through it.
Write down what you want to find out from this information, where the interest is, and how this information might help you.
This step is actually quite a crucial one that many people skip or are completely unaware of. By forming questions you actively engage your brain and your memory and attention are primed to receive the information.
Step 3: Read
Now methodically read through your material one section at a time, writing down anything that you might not understand.
As you are reading, write down the information you need to remember in terms of questions. This restatement of information again actively engages the neural networks in your brain, helping to imprint what you are reading.
Step 4: Recall
Take time to go through your material, ask yourself the questions you have written down and try to remember the related information. At this time it is also useful to make connections with other information - think about how this relates to other information.
Step 5: Review
Review your notes, your questions, and the material itself.
Talk about the material with others, ask them your questions, get them to ask you their questions. One of the best ways to remember something is to teach it to others.
Reviews should be scheduled regularly at first .. daily for a few days, then after a week, then a couple of weeks, a month.
Lets start by not talking about homework. What sets achievers apart?
- their willingness to put in extra effort, when everyone else relaxes, down tools, get distracted, the achiever will relentlessly pursue their goals.
- sheer grit to achieve a result
- the edge you have over other people will be the amount of effort you put into something. If you read more, practice more, reflect more, seek more advice, open yourself to more feedback, open yourself to criticism, learn, adapt, dodge, sprint, selflessly help others - you will slowly tip odds in your favor of achieving your goals.
I'm pretty sure people will argue some of the above points, but if you read enough biographies you will find that successful people do tend to display those qualities.
So how does homework help with this?
- Essential skill to build resilience, determination
- Essential in the formation of a habit that breeds success
- Success is mostly sheer determination, doggedness, willpower, grit.
Homework helps students by complementing and reinforcing classroom learning,
fostering good lifelong learning and study habits, and providing an opportunity for
students to be responsible for their own learning.
Students benefit from completing homework regularly. Homework helps them develop
organizational and time-management skills, self discipline, skills in using out-of-school
resources, and personal responsibility for learning
Note that learning should never stop, and definitely should be on-going all the way through adulthood. The ability to learn new skills, improve current skills, even taking the time to understand a subject in greater depth are core development priorities that adults should practice.
By starting kids with homework and making it a simple habit it will set them on this path.
What types of homework are there?
3 types of homework
How to do homework?
There is literally a metric bucket-load of resources on the net on effective study techniques. Choose some, review them and put together what works for you and your child.
SO what hacks can we start applying?
- Do YOUR homework at the same time as your child. Show a commitment to learning.
- Take a course on how to learn. COURSERA have an awesome free online course.
- Encourage your child to ask the teachers what will be covered next. Read ahead in textbooks, pre-read materials being studied. Pre-read material from multiple sources.
It has taken a while for me to distill this information down to the most fundamentally useful and powerful ways for an older child (10+ I would say) to go about the process of learning.
The article is not finished, but it is a starting point. I will further enhance it as I refine the huge amount of information available on this topic. I will also endeavor to conduct interviews with top learners from around the world to distill their methods, tips and hacks and present the very best to you.
Once your child knows the simple steps to learning, the fear and mystery of it will disappear and in its place will remain something so powerful and enduring it will change their lives, and hopefully lead them on a life long journey of discovery and knowledge.
The basic hacks as they currently stand are:
Enjoy the article, start applying the techniques and keep on learning forever!
Always on the lookout for the ultimate Kid Hacks