This is the last of my posts about Bob Greenleaf’s talk presented on the afternoon of opening faculty meetings. Bob had a lot of what I consider valuable insights and practical applications to share, and limited time in which to share them. Perhaps that brings home all the more the importance of two of his comments.
Both comments focus on “R”s – reflection and repetition. The Reflective Network takes new input, checks it against what is already known, and remixes the combination of the two. One manner of engaging your reflective network is to pause to discuss or explain what it is you are trying to understand. This reprocessing helps to make meaning out of the new information, and enhance the paths by which the information can be recalled.
Repetition is a common approach to trying to get someone to remember something, but repetition alone is insufficient. The brain has to find meaning in what is being repeated; the information must have a context and then the likelihood of recall is increased. One way to increase the usefulness of repetition is to find patterns in the information.
But all of this digresses from the title of my post: Neat Sleep. How many of you are neatniks? And how many of you have been asked countless times to pick up your room or your work area? Greenleaf made a pithy statement that made my son smile:
Although neat is more orderly, it is not necessarily better.
Bob did not elaborate on this comment, but it’s easy to follow the train of thought that we all have our own systems of ordering and organizing, and just because neat may look more orderly, it may not actually be the best system for everyone.
I close with Bob’s last pithy point, and it is one that applies to all of us regardless of age or occupation.
Sleep is as much a learning function as paying attention.
In case you did not know, much of what we are exposed to during the day while trying to learn, is cemented during sleep. Insufficient sleep means incomplete learning, let alone a tired person come the next day.