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How to Study for Mastery in the CLAA

In the CLAA, we are not studying for “grades” in an artificial curriculum “get a diploma” or “get into college” or “get a job”.  We are study the true, philosophical curriculum with the aim of getting Wisdom–and that demands mastery.  Students begin at the beginning and progress one step at a time through through a course of study that leads them to Wisdom.

Consequently, when I make publish courses and lessons for CLAA students, I am doing so with a certain quality of study expected from them that demands a certain method of study.  In this article, I’d like to outline this method.

1.  Make First Reading. (Cycle A)

The lesson will include or assign readings that are to be studied for mastery.  The first reading, however, is an easy reading of all of the assigned material, through which the students survey what is to be studied.

2.  Make Second Reading (Cycle B)

The second reading is careful and complete, seeking carefully to comprehend all content in the lesson.

3.  Take Notes on Assigned Reading

While making the second reading, the student should take notes to outline and summarize all content of the lesson, as if he was preparing to teach the lesson himself.  As the student decides what to write, he is forced to seek the outline and concepts in the lesson and capture everything in his notes–as accurately and efficiently as possible.  Any exercises included in the lesson should be considered part of the student’s lesson notes.  I recommend using loose-leaf notebook paper for these notes.

4.  Complete Memory Work

If the lesson assigns any content to be memorized, it should be done at this time.  All memory work should be recited until it can be given on request with no help or delay.   Memory work includes key definitions, principles and rules, without which progress will not be able to be made in future studies.

5.  Complete Comprehension Questions

Comprehension questions check the student’s understanding of the lesson material and should be completed from the student’s notes, not from the lesson texts.  When the student finds it easy to answer questions from his notes, he can be sure that his notes are sufficient.  When a student is unable to answer questions from his notes, he knows that he has missed some information and should return to the text, update his notes, and then complete the comprehension questions (again, from his notes).

6.  Complete Quizzes

After completing the comprehension questions and updating his notes, the student should move to the lesson quizzes.  These quizzes go into further detail than comprehension questions and should, again, be completed with the help of the student’s notes.  When a student is unable to complete a quiz using his notes, he knows that he has missed some information and should return to the text, update his notes, and then complete the quiz (again, from his notes).

7.  Re-Write Notes

After all comprehension questions and quizzes have been completed, and notes updated as needed, the student should re-write his notes so that all corrections and additions may be neatly included in their proper places.  These notes are the product and proof of a student’s effort in studying and will be saved for future use.  I recommend writing these final notes in spiral-bound notebooks with two columns of notes per page.

8.  Study Lesson Notes & Memory Work

To prepare for the lesson examination(s), the student should study–from beginning to end–his lesson notes and memory work for mastery.

9.  Complete Lesson Examinations

Without any use of notes or help, the student must pass his lesson examinations.  If he cannot pass, he must return to step 9 and seek to mastery what is lacking.

10.  Save Notes for Future Use

Once all lesson readings and exercises have been completed, memory work mastered, comprehension questions and quizzes completed, notes re-written and studied, and examinations passed, the student has a valuable possession in those lesson notes.  They should filed away for future review and study.

I hope you find these study instructions helpful.  If you have any questions, please ask.


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