Dr. Martijn van der Spoel: The Art of Repetition
Who is Dr Martijn van der Spoel?
Dr Martijn van der Spoel was born in the Netherlands but lives in London today. He’s a psychologist and his main researching area is everything about “learning“ and “how does the brain progress?“. In my opinion he made a very open-minded impression and really seemed to be enthusiastic about his job.
What did he want to tell us?
Basically his aim was to show and tell the students how we can improve our methods of learning. Therefore he played some games with us, which needed good concentration and the ability of keeping things in mind easily. During his presentation he always referred to what he called the “ART of repetition”.
What is the “ART of repetition“?
A=What do you want to Achieve?
Explaining what the ART-repetition is, Dr. van der Spoel played a game with us.
This game was about joining numbers on a sheet of paper in one minute. Of course the numbers 1 to 60 were anywhere, obviously there was no system. But he wanted to show us how we can do it in less than sixty seconds. The first try was not good. Most of the students, including me, didn’t join more than 15 numbers. But more is possible!
“You must have an aim“, he said. Either you would like to achieve a better score or you don’t want to. So called “pillar-questions“ will help you to achieve your aim if you want. The first pillar-question was: “Do you want to repeat what you just did to do it better at your second try or don’t you want it?“ “When is your best training time: rather in the morning or in the evening?“, was the second pillar-question. The last question was: “Can you find a logic in what you do?“. In case of the game all these questions will usually lead to further tries if you decide „Yes, I am willing to achieve a better result and of course I will do it again and will find out the logic!“
R=Which Routine will you develop?
Now you have to find out what kind of learner you are. Are you an active learner (Do you also ask things and try to understand what your competition is about?) or are you a passive learner (Do you just do it so that it’s done, like a robot?) Referring to our game it’s important to find out the logic, that’s why it is good if you are an active one, so you can understand the rules and get it. If you are a passive one your chances of success are not that high because you will just do it but you don’t have any ideas what you are doing.
For this aspect he played another game with us. We were shown a lot of pictures which, at the first view, were just chosen randomly. After one minute presentation time our job was to write down as many pictures as we still remembered. On average: Ten out of sixty pictures could be remembered. We had a second try. Now Dr van der Spoel explained that the pictures had something in common. They were taken from five different categories. Knowing that, we could easily remember a lot more pictures. Our brain can much better remember pictures if we have a system, like it was here.
What was the conclusion?
Basically, Dr. van der Spoel just wanted to prove that your brain can do so many things if you want. Training is the keyword. The games showed that if you are willing to do something you can! In summary: The “ART of repetition” is just a method you can use. But you must have the desire and be open-minded for the thing you want to achieve.
Lukas Bauer, F12T1