My magic castle

My magic castle

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Magic of 'Processing'

I put apostrophes around processing because I am discussing a specific type of processing in this post.  When you take information into your brain through your senses it isn't truly in there in any meaningful way at first.  Until it makes sense you won't remember it, you haven't learned it.  That happens when the information is processed.  Teachers are told that they shouldn't just lecture on and on if they want their students to actually learn the subject matter.  There should be pauses where processing can take place. For example: the students can ask questions, discuss what they are learning, or be asked to put the information into their own words.  In other words, things need to be sorted out and put in their right place in your brain, just like putting groceries away in your kitchen.  This usefulness of  processing, or of taking in information and getting it to make sense, can be very helpful to a wise magician.  For yourself, you can make make sure that you remember more about the new people you meet, you can take away more from training meeting you have to attend, or you can get more out of vacation trips, ( as some examples), if you learn to make it a point to give yourself a chance to process all that sensory input you are dealing with.  When you are reading, stop several times on each page and think about what you have read.  When you are writing something, pause to process the way you are expressing you ideas.  There are numerous times when taking the time to process information will actually speed up the acquisition of information.
Allowing or encouraging others to process what you are communicating to them will make your interaction with others a lot better.  When I am teaching in a one on one situation I watch the eyes of my student.  If the eyes haven't lit up with understanding, I rephrase my explanation rather than going on to another point. I know my student needs to process certain points before I can build on that information to develop the concept more fully.
Years ago I was frustrated by the parent of one of my students.  The boy didn't have an understanding of certain math concepts.  But his mom pushed me to 'just make sure he got his homework done'. I had to be creative in working in the concept for the child that multiplication was counting by twos or threes, for instance.   I knew that he had to have an orderly understanding of basic math concepts before he could master his math homework.
I say to all wise magicians: If you are feeling overwhelmed or fuzz-headed by information, don't despair. It is simply the first stage you are in, you have not yet processed this information.  Find ways to chip away at it, attack it from different directions, come at it again and again.  In time you will find a way to make the important parts of it make sense, and you will have thrown away the parts of it that don't want to fit, at this time, into your mental cupboard. So reach out for information that will help your life, process it so you can use it well, and live a more magical life.  May the spark be with you.

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