Impulsive behaviours hinder learning

This post explores the reasons why many people in their teens and early 20’s find it difficult to focus on their studies. We will examine some of the forces that are acting on the teenager’s brain and show how this is a normal and necessary process. We will then begin to examine strategies to manage impulsive behaviours.


Educational success depends on many factors. Intelligence is one factor that is seen by many to play a part (see previous post), although exactly how big a part is open to debate.

Also important is the ability to remain focused in a learning situation for extended periods of time. Science now shows us that during the teenage years, there are changes taking place in the brain that will have a large impact on a teenager’s ability to stay focused.

The incentive system

In the developing brain, there is an incentive processing system that drives young people to become more sensation seeking, more emotionally reactive and also more attentive to information coming from their social groups.

This system has been found to exist across cultures and even species, and may have evolved to encourage exploration of the environment in order to help prepare adolescents with the necessary skills for later independence.

While these attention-seeking, emotional actions are quite natural, they can lead a student to making irrational and impulsive decisions and behaving in disruptive ways. Typical behaviours could include skipping classes, being disruptive and not completing assessment tasks. These behaviours of course result in falling grades, conflict with teachers and administrators and possibly dropping out completely.

 The control system

In the adult brain however, there are cognitive systems used to control these types of impulses and to resist irrational behaviour. They are called the executive functions and they act to control harmful, irrational urges. These systems however, do not reach full maturity until the mid to late twenties (Geier & Luna 2009).

There is therefore a time period during which adolescents and students in their early to mid twenties will find it difficult to control their impulses and will be, at the same time, driven by nature to sensational, attention-seeking and emotional behaviour.


In the podcast below, cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore gives an informative introduction to the workings of the teenage mind. This talk was presented as a part of Ted Global in June 2012.

In the talk, Sarah identifies the pre-frontal cortex as the area of the brain largely responsible for:

  • Decision-making
  • Planning
  • Inhibiting inappropriate behaviour
  • Social interaction and
  • Self-awareness

She then demonstrates that this part of the brain is not fully developed in young people.

She then goes on to identify the limbic system as the part of the brain that handles emotion and reward processing, and she points out that it is hypersensitive in the adolescent brain.

These two areas of the brain will appear often in discussions on behaviours that can be strengthened to assist learning and life-development.

In summary

So we can see that there are sound biological reasons behind teenage impulsive behaviours and we can also see that these are a necessary part of the teenager later being in a position to make valuable contributions to their society.

On the negative side however, these behaviours may reduce educational outcomes and indeed are seen to lead to injuries (for example motor vehicle accidents resulting from speeding) higher mortality rates (including suicides) and substance abuse.

A call to action

If you are a parent, a teacher, or a teenager yourself, this understanding of what is happening inside the mind of a young person is the starting point towards moderating impulsive behaviours.

You can for example encourage the practice of identifying strong impulses when they first surface and then asking them to question whether these impulses are appropriate to the situation. Creating this space between the emotion and the reaction can be very effective in reducing inappropriate behaviours.

Coming soon

There are other ways to strengthen the executive functions and bring impulse behaviours under control and these will be covered in future posts.


Does IQ matter?

This post questions the relevance of intelligence (IQ) tests in the light of evidence that raises questions on their reliability and validity. Other types of intelligence are explored.

Key points

  • Average IQ score increase over time
  • The belief in multiple forms of intelligence is increasing
  • High IQ does not necessarily lead to success in everyday tasks
  • IQ test results can be dramatically improved through offering short-term incentives

Questions to first consider

  1. Have you ever taken an IQ test?
  2. If you were give the chance right now, would you take one? Why?
  3. Do you believe that successful people have a higher than average IQ?
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The correct answer is at the end of this post.


There is a widely held belief, especially in educational environments, that a person’s academic success, (and ultimately job performance and income) can be predicted by their score on a standard intelligence (IQ) test.For this reason, they are routinely being conducted in schools to make decisions on student placement.

This post will explore their relevance in the light of new evidence and begin to examine other factors that play a part in determining success, both in education and in other areas of life.

 A brief history

Intelligence testing has been carried out for over 100 years. Psychologist Alfred Binet developed the first tests of this kind in the early 1900’s. His early tests were focused mainly on verbal skills and were designed to measure a child’s mental age based on language ability.

These early test have been refined and modified over the years and more recent tests also include attention, memory and problem-solving skills. These types of general intelligence tests are widely used as an educational tool but their validity is dependent to a large extent on the scores remaining constant over time and being unaffected by external factors.

Recent research has shown that an IQ test score can be improved to a small extent at an early age, but becomes more fixed as we age. By the time a student enters university, their IQ as measured in these standard tests, is unlikely to change. Interestingly however, since the early 1900’s average scores in IQ tests have been rising at the rate of 3 IQ points per decade in most parts of the world.

Tests in doubt

Questions still remain on the validity of these tests and interestingly, Binet himself believed that intelligence was far too broad a concept to be measured by a single test (Kamin 1995).

Some of the current areas of contention are:

  • Is intelligence a single ability, or does it involve an assortment of multiple skills and abilities?
  • Is intelligence inherited, or does the environment play a larger role?
  • Are intelligence tests biased (for example towards people with a higher level of education or social background)?
  • What do intelligence scores actually predict, if anything?


The BBC video below titled ‘What makes us smart’ explores some of the questions above and come up with some surprising answers. First watch the video then take a short quiz.


Now take the quiz. To assist you, here is a description of the seven participants:

  • Susan – chess grand master
  • Garry – jet fighter pilot
  • Nathan – IQ specialist and Wall Street trader
  • Seth – quantum physicist
  • Stella – artist
  • Alex – musician
  • Bonnie – dramatist, author and critic

Click below to take the quiz

[WpProQuiz 4]

Multiple Intelligences and emotional intelligence

During the above video, reference was made to the theories of Howard Gardner on multiple intelligences. This concept is now being widely used in many schools in the design of lessons.


Click on the link below to take a free quiz that identifies your areas of strength according to this theory:

Multiple Intelligence Test

You can also take a free emotional intelligence (EQ) test by clicking on the link below:

Emotional Intelligence Test

A further challenge to IQ test validity

It is clear then that the validity of IQ tests is being challenged by those who believe that they do not measure all types of intelligence. A further challenge to their validity has come from research that identifies a range of other factors that affect achievement and success.

In one such study, first conducted in the late 1960’s, 79 children aged between 5 and 7, were given standard IQ tests. They were then divided into a control and experimental group, and 7 weeks later similar IQ test were conducted. This time however, children in the experimental group were told they would be given one M&M for every correct answer. The result was that the IQ score of the M&M group rose by an average of 12 points.

This clearly shows that IQ tests do not measure something permanent, but rather that results can vary depending on other factors – in this case short-term motivation.

A subsequent test found that the most significant impact of this effect was amongst students in the lower IQ range. It was found that offering M&M’s as an incentive had the effect of moving this lower group, on average, into the middle range.

 Where to from here?

In future posts we will continue examining other factors that can play a part in student academic success?

(The correct answer is d)


Kamin, L. J. (1995). The pioneers of IQ testing. In Ressell Jacoby & Naomi Glauberman (Eds.), The Bell Curve Debate: History, Documents, Opinions. New York: Times Books


The multi-tasking myth

This article examines the ineffectiveness of attempting to perform multiple tasks simultaneously and suggests conscious and deliberate attention switching as an alternative.

What is multi-tasking

The belief that we can perform multiple complex tasks at the same time is a myth. Science shows that we can only pay attention to one task at a time.

(For a review of the research refer to the article Multitasking: Switching costs published by the American Psychological Association, in March 2006).

When we appear to be multi-tasking, we are in fact switching our attention back and forth so rapidly between tasks that it appears we are working on two tasks at the same time. This is called attention switching and when we are attempting to rapidly switch between a number of complex tasks, problems occur:

  • We experience an increase in stress levels (attempting to multi-task can be very frustrating)
  • We reduce our performance and make mistakes because we start to miss things
  • We experience ‘attention blinks’- little gaps in our awareness (this can be hazardous when driving or operating machinery)
  • We lose our ability to prioritise what is important from what is not
  • We become tired more quickly because of the extra energy that is used when rapidly switching between tasks.

Dr. Susan Weinschenk in her article The true cost of multi-tasking identifies that the only situation where we may be able to effectively multi-task is when we are performing a physical task that we are very good at and are doing a simple mental task at the same time. This could be for example walking with a friend while having a casual conversation.

However she points out that even this may not be a valid exception. She cites research showing that people walking while talking on their mobile phones run into people more often and are less aware of their surroundings (Hyman et al. 2009).


Breaking the habit

Breaking the habit of trying to focus our attention on more than one task at a time is not easy. Dr. Weinschenk advises that the first step towards any behavioural change is to first accept that the problem exists. The next step is to begin noticing the behaviour as it occurs and recognizing it as an unproductive habit. Naming the behaviour when we first notice it is a good way to reduce its power over us. Simply saying “Oops, trying to multi-task again” is a good start.

In this way, with time and practice, we can replace rapid attention switching with a more productive and deliberate focusing of attention on tasks that we choose.

The proof

The experiment below demonstrates the unproductive nature of rapid attention switching. Time yourself or have someone time you as you carry out the experiment below:

Experiment 1

Task 1

  1. Draw two horizontal lines on a piece of paper
  2. On the first line, write: ‘I am a great multi-tasker’
  3. On the second line: write out the numbers 1-20 sequentially, like those below:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

  1. Write down the amount of time this took

 Task 2

  1. Again draw two horizontal lines.
  2. Write the first letter of the sentence ‘I am a great multi-tasker’ on the top line, then switch to writing the first number in the sequence from 1 to 20 on the line below, then switch again to writing the next letter in the sentence on the upper line, and then the next number in the sequence, changing from line to line.

Your lines will begin by looking like this:

I am …..

1 2 3 …..

  1. Write down the amount of time this took

Results & reflection

Compare the difference in time taken between performing task 1 and task 2 . Typically, the second task, where you are attempting to switch rapidly between two tasks,  takes more than twice as long to complete. You may also have made a few errors and became a little stressed or frustrated as you tried to re-think the next letter or number.

Imagine how your stress levels are amplified when performing more complex and important tasks.

The alternative – efficient attention switching

You have now seen evidence of the unproductive nature of attempting to perform two tasks at the same time. What we need to do then is to move towards a more productive alternative that involve the conscious and deliberate focusing of attention on individual tasks for longer periods of time.


One strategy is to change our working environment. The environment in which we work has a significant impact on our ability to focus, so creating a quite environment where you can spend concentrated time on tasks is important.

Another strategy is deciding on which tasks have the highest priority. We become much more effective overall by selecting and giving our undivided attention to these tasks before others.

Developing conscious attention switching is however the key. While we do not always have complete control over external distractions, we can and develop efficient attention switching skills.

Consider the scenario below:

We are reading a research paper for an assignment and our mobile phone rings. We answer the phone and start a conversation while we continue skimming through the paper. Then a friend enters the room and asks us a question about an assessment task that’s due next week. We give a quick answer and return to the call but can’t remember what we’ve just been talking about. Meanwhile, the document on the screen has been ignored and when we do return to it, we need to start reading from the beginning again.

Efficient attention switching involves implementing strategies that allow us to switch our attention from one task to another and, wherever possible, complete the task (or at least some part of it), before moving on to the next.

In the above scenario, instead of talking on the phone while skimming a text, we mark where you are up to on the document then turn away from the screen and focus on the call. Then, when our friend enters the room, we say to the caller ‘excuse me for a moment’ and give undivided attention to our friend’s question. Then, when we finish the call, we return to the part of the text where you left off and continue reading.

The result is less stress, better relationships and more work completed with fewer errors in a shorter time period.

Improved communication skills and relationships

As was briefly touched on above, poor task switching practices can have an effect on relationships. In the next experiment you will explore the impact of inefficient task switching on communication, depth of experience and enjoyment. You will then compare this to the experience of communicating mindfully. (The source of this article was the course notes from the course Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance from Monash University, run through Futurelearn).

Experiment 2

Ask a friend to take part in this activity with you. You will need to face each other, and at least one of you will need a device connected to the internet.

How to complete the experiment

Task 1

  1. Face each other.
  2. Invite your partner to speak about something that they are authentically passionate about. It could be a hobby, a person, a pet, work, travel, love of food or anything else.
  3. Listen to the person speak about their passion, but at the same time use your mobile device to send a text message or answer emails. This will require you to attempt to multitask, i.e. to continue to have your attention on the device at the same time as you are attempting to listen to your partner.
  4. Let your partner continue to speak for about two to three minutes and then ask them to stop.
  5. Discuss with your partner about your experience, and what it was like being either the person speaking to someone who was multitasking, or multitasking while trying to listen. For example, you could discuss what effect it had on the conversation, comprehension, memory or clarity of communication.


Task 2

  1. This time repeat the exercise with your partner speaking about a passion in their life, but this time you will be listening fully, not attempting multitasking. Please give your partner your full and undivided attention If your mind wanders off during the conversation, notice where the attention has gone and gently bring it back to the person speaking.
  2. Speak for two to three minutes, stop and then reflect on the exercise again.
  3. Compare the experience of mindful listening with the multitasking one. Which was more fulfilling? Which one brought out more passion in the person speaking? Which was preferable? In which did you remember more? Why?


Reflection on results

To explore more fully the connection between attempting to multi-task and effective communication, ask your partner their thoughts on the following:

  • What was the effect of multitasking on the depth of communication, or the emotional experience in speaking or listening?
  • Were they feeling passionate about their chosen topic during the experiment or did they start to lose the passion in what they were talking about?
  • Did they feel that you were sharing their passion with any depth while you were multitasking?
  • What effect did multitasking have on the level of engagement or connectedness during the conversation?

A call to action

This article has shown that learning to use our attention in a more effective and discerning way will help us to cope with the significant amount of tasks that we will encounter in our life. In addition it will improve our communication skills and as a result, our interpersonal relationships.

Start from now to become more aware of the negative effects of attempts at multi-tasking and begin to move towards a more efficient style of  attention switching.

Becoming more aware of our mind’s tendency to become restless and seek out distractions will also help us to to develop effective attention switching skills. This awareness can be developed through mindfulness meditation. If you are interested in finding out more about mindfulness, click on this link: Guided mindfulness meditations

Critical Thinking

This post looks at the technique of critical thinking – what it is, when to use it, how to use it, what are the benefits and other related issues.


Key Points

  • What is critical thinking
  • A critical question checklist
  • Raising self-awareness
  • Deciding when not to decide


Questions to first consider

  • Are you the kind of person who likes to question the way things are? What value is there do you think in this kind of approach?


Introduction to critical thinking

If we look back in this series, we can see that so far we’ve covered some important topics around learning. These include:

Examining behaviours that will help learning take place (Part 1),

Looking at the importance of taking responsibility for our own learning (Part 2),

Understanding how learning happens – the process itself (Part 3) and also

Strategies we can use to help us learn (Part 4).


Now let’s look at the next topic – critical thinking. This is a topic that often comes up when discussing learning but it is often not well understood.


What it means to be a critical thinker

In the normal course of our lives we are often faced with making decisions. Sometimes the decisions are important, sometimes not.

The choice between chocolate and vanilla flavoured ice-cream for example doesn’t require the need to ask deep and meaningful questions. It’s a pleasurable decision and there are really no long-term consequences to the decision we make.

Choosing a career or a place to live or a subject to study on the other hand are important decisions that are worthy of examining. Taking a critical approach to making these choices makes a lot of sense.

A critical approach involves asking questions and / or performing research on the topic and then listening carefully to the answers and carefully examining the results of research before making a decision.

We look at this information in a way that is as unbiased as possible. That is, we try to ignore our own pre-conceived ideas on the topic and the preferences of those around us. We use the facts as much as possible to guide us to make the best decision. It’s a simple approach but often not so easy to follow.

That’s why it’s good to have a checklist of the types of questions that are commonly asked. The one below comes from This organisation is dedicated to the cause of critical thinking and is a good site to bookmark and visit from time to time.


A Critical Question Checklist

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Critical thinking in action

You don’t have to ask all the questions on the list before coming to a decision. Let’s look at a real-life situation below

Let’s say for example that I’m walking around the shopping mall and see a really nice looking pair of jeans in the shop window. I’m tempted to buy them but I need to ask myself some questions first because I don’t really have a lot of money and this could be (another) foolish waste of money.

What’s my motivation? Well I’m tired of wearing the old ones and these look really cool. Maybe not a good reason, but let’s test a little further.

The question really is – Do I need a new pair? The answer again is no. At this point I’m starting to feel uncomfortable.

My current assumptions about buying the jeans are around the idea that they will make me feel good and also make me look more attractive. This has some merit so I’ll keep going.

I don’t really have a strong point of view on whether to buy them or not, but the question on whether I have enough information to make an informed decision reminds me that there are plenty of other jeans shops around and these particular jeans may not be the best or cheapest.

 At this point I’m feeling pretty uncomfortable about buying the jeans and start to move away from the store window. I’ll now never know whether the jeans would have made me magically more attractive, but I feel good because I’m walking away with money still in my pocket.


Raising self-awareness

In a lot of ways, having a checklist is a way to make what are commonly unconscious decisions, more conscious. It will improve our self-awareness of what we are probably already doing to some extent. It will also allow us to expand on our current list of questions that we commonly ask and extend our questioning into new areas.


Test yourself

  1. Think back to the last time you purchased an expensive item or made an important decision and had to make a choice. Write down the situation.


  1. Now analyse your choice by asking the above questions one by one. Write a short answer to each question.


  1. Finally, revisit the decision you made by answering the following questions:
    1. What decision did I make?
    2. In hindsight, did I make the right decision?
    3. How do I know?
    4. Can I now see any other alternatives I could have made?


Do we always need to make a decision?

One thing that I’ve noticed is that once you start asking questions, it can become difficult to know when to stop. One solution is to give yourself a time-frame. Set a date and time to make the decision. If you really can’t decide at that time, then consider whether you really need to decide at all. Sometimes deciding not making a decision is the best decision to make.


Where to from here?

Becoming a critical thinker is a life journey. Start by questioning some of the beliefs and decisions of those close to you. Do this gently. Don’t get carried away and don’t take it too seriously. Remember that the purpose is not to criticise, but to assist yourself and those around you in making the best decisions and choices possible in a world in which we are often faced with far too many choices.

To extend your knowledge in this area, I suggest the Critical Thinker Podcast series. It is available on YouTube.


Active learning

This post identifies skills and strategies that the self-directed learner needs to take responsibility for developing. You will then be asked to apply some of these skills to your current or future learning.

Questions to first consider

Look back on your most recent previous learning experience. Why were you there? Did you choose to be there? What did you want to learn? Were you successful?

Reasons for Change

In response to the recognition that the need to learn continues throughout our lives, the primary role of the teacher is evolving into that of a learning facilitator. Here, the aim is to assist the learner (student) in acquiring the intellectual skills and learning strategies that will allow them to learn independently.

The aim is that the learner can then take this set of skills and apply them in learning situations in the present and in the future.

The role of the learner is to actively and purposefully learn these practical skills and strategies through deliberate effort and continual reflection. In this way they will be able to take responsibility for their own learning.

The learner must take responsibility for

Developing self-awareness about their reason for study

Developing and applying an understanding of the learning process itself

Identifying their own learning needs

Formulating their own learning goals

Identifying and obtaining the resources needed for learning, including using the teacher as a facilitator to assist in obtaining these resources

Selecting and implementing learning strategies

Evaluating their own learning outcomes in order to modify learning strategies

Again, while the teacher is there to assist in this process, it is ultimately the learner’s responsibility.

The learning process itself and learning strategies will be looked at in more detail soon. For now let’s look at reasons, needs, goals, resources and outcomes.

Click on Russell below to copy-and-paste or print or save an activity worksheet. Alternatively, simply follow the instructions below:

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Being an active learner

You are going to use the skills and strategies above and apply them to your current studies (or future studies if you are not currently studying). You will apply this focus first at macro (course or program) level, then again at the micro (subject or unit) level.


Activity 1 – Create a table with 2 columns and 5 rows. At the course (macro) level, identify:

  1. Your overall reasons for study. They are probably connected to achieving life goals or career objectives. Identifying these reasons is all about motivation because the stronger your motivation the greater your chances of success.
  2. What it is you need from your studies. This could be a certificate or a set of specific skills.
  3. Your achievement goals in each component of the study program and your overall achievement goal. Remember that goals must be realistic and achievable.
  4. The resources available to you. These will include course handbooks and texts, as well as, for example, access to information online, libraries and people.
  5. The specific outcomes from your studies that can be used to measure success. At the macro level this is probably about reaching an overall assessment target.

Below is an example:

Macro level – Graduate Diploma in Education
My reasons for study To become a teacher and help young children succeed
My study needs I need this diploma to be able to teach
My study goals I will pass all 8 units in this 1-year course. I will aim for a ‘distinction’ level pass
Resources I need I will buy all the prescribed texts and also use the college library on weekends. I will ask my sister’s friend Alice who’s a teacher, for advice
My study outcomes I will monitor my own progress through the results I get for each unit and if I’m struggling I’ll put aside more time for study



Activity 2 – This time look at the subject or unit (macro) level. Create another table with 2 columns and 5 rows and identify:

  1. The overall reason or purpose for studying this specific subject or unit.
  2. What you need to show you can do or understand to pass the unit and why these are important. These should be identified as learning outcomes in unit or subject documents.
  3. What goals you will need to achieve to show that you have met the requirements of the subject. These will include assessable tasks and/or exams as well as skill levels.
  4. The resources are available to you. Again, these will include course texts, as well as people.
  5. What specific outcomes can be used to measure the degree of your success.There will most likely be assessment tasks at different times during the course and these will give you a chance to monitor progress and review your study strategies.

Below is an example:

Micro level – Unit on Principles of Classroom Management
My reasons for study This is a compulsory unit and I need to pass it. The unit will prepare me for the classroom experience
My study needs I need to learn how to keep my students focused and learning through applying classroom management techniques
My study goals To be able to skilfully keep my class focused and on task. I will demonstrate this through practicals and reflective journals on the classroom experience
Resources I need The prescribed text, class mates, the teacher, notes I take on my own classroom experience
My study outcomes I will review my results from each assessment task and if I’m not achieving my target level I’ll seek advice from the teacher




Learning skills for life

This post identifies essential behavioural and learning skills. You are then asked to evaluate how good you are in these skills and then develop some strategies to improve.

Questions to first consider

Thinking about your chosen career, what are some of the skills that your employer would say are essential for success in this career? In your answer, consider the dynamic nature of our social and economic environment.

Identifying Essential Skills


When we think of the purpose of learning, we often think of the acquiring the skills, knowledge and behaviours we need in order to complete certain tasks, or pass exams or demonstrate an understanding of specific concepts or ideas. These are, in a sense, short to medium term learning goals. They focus on what we need right now.

There are however, skills and behaviours that, through development, will make us more productive and capable now, and also allow us to become life-long learners. They will therefore provide benefits to us throughout our lives.

Some of these skills and behaviours are listed below. They are learned in the same way as other skills; through motivation and awareness, through effort and reflection, through applying learning skills and strategies, and through questioning – all skills are covered in this series.

The skills are:

  1. Communicating thoughts and ideas clearly through writing
  2. Listening, understanding and responding to verbal messages
  3. Organising ideas and communicating clearly through speaking
  4. Generating new ideas through creative thinking
  5. Evaluating choices and choosing the best alternatives
  6. Identifying problems and devising plans of action
  7. Using efficient learning techniques to acquire and apply new knowledge and skills
  8. Making personal effort and take responsibility for attaining goals
  9. Believe in ourselves and have a positive view of life
  10. Demonstrating understanding and friendliness in social settings and displaying empathy and politeness
  11. Be able to manage ourselves by setting personal goals and monitoring progress
  12. Choosing honest and ethical courses of action

In the following set of activities, you will rate yourself in the above skills then add some of your own. You will then make some observations on how to develop these skills and make some plans and commitments on follow-up actions.

Click on Russell  below to copy-and-paste or print or save an activity worksheet. Alternatively, simply follow the instructions below:

Activity – What are you good at?


  • First, copy the 12 skills and behaviours above into a table. Next write ‘good’, ‘average’ or ‘not so good’ next to each one depending on your current level of competence.
  • For the skills you are good at, ask yourself how you became good in these skills. Did they just come naturally? Did you learn them from your parents and those around you? Did you have to work hard at them? Write some notes below the list of skills.
  • Now look at the skills that need developing. Choose 3 that are the most relevant to you right now and ask yourself what you need to do in order to further develop these skills. Does it require a change in habit or attitude? Are there people, books or other sources of information that could be used? Does it require further life experience?
  • Finally, write down plans or commitments you can make to improve in these 3 areas. Be as specific and detailed as possible and also realistic and achievable.

Keep a copy of the worksheet and re-visit it from time to time to see how you are progressing, then, when you feel ready, move on to other skills or behaviours on the list. Remember that learning is an active process and so we need to take a self-directed approach.

Consider using Evernote (see link below) as a place to write your response to the activities and as a place to record your personal reflections on learning.