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How to choose a continuing education course

Created date

July 31st, 2009

Some of us may think that we just don t have the time to take a class. But taking the time may improve your cognitive abilities, rejuvenate your memory, and provide fun at the same time. Challenging your brain to grow new cells can take place at any age, and the time invested can build new connections that help your problem-solving abilities as well as memory. The more the brain is used, the better it functions.

Learn how we learn

Joe Dunne, program administrator for creative retirement at Brookdale Community College, in Lincroft, says that one of the best ways to choose an off-campus course in the college s Elder Campus one-week vacation program is to learn how we learn. The great thing about learning is that it doesn t have to stop when you graduate from school, Dunne says. There are a myriad of ways we learn when we re past age 25; we just have to find what is most comfortable. Even though no two students are alike, there are three learning styles that fi t most students: The audial learner, the visual learner, and the manual learner.

Audial learners

often don t take notes in class because they remember everything that the professor says. They can carry on an intelligent conversation and learn a great deal from that discussion, but books are not their thing. Dunne says the Remembering World War II program is perfect because it engages participants to verbally recall memories of their experiences in the military.

Visual learners

thrive on books and often take meticulous notes, but they don t retain spoken information unless they jot it down. A visual learner will generally remember what they ve discussed, but they may get bored with a conversation if it gets too long. Literature classes, like Shakespeare, and historical classes are perfect for visual learners.

Manual learners

have to actually do it. Hands-on is the only way to retain the information, and studying pure theory just doesn t make sense for this learner. Learning how to play musical instruments, working with digital photos, and drawing or painting are good examples of classes for manual learners.

A+ programs

Jeanette Russo-Alesi of Seabrook, a former science teacher from Brooklyn, is a little nervous about taking a math class at Brookdale Community College in September, but she knows that it will help her to decipher her financial reports and keep her mind sharp. I hope I can remember a little of my high school math, she says. My hobbies are mostly painting so I thought the analytical portion of the class would keep me on my toes. I think it ll be a good thing. Gene Lovette, a retired math teacher who tutors Seabrook dining service students, couldn t agree more. He has breezed through Brookdale s algebra and calculus courses and is scheduled to take advanced differential equations in September. I just can t imagine a better program, Lovette says. The teachers are great, the curriculum is great, and it s a gem of a place if you wish to further your education. We re lucky to be so close to one of the best community colleges in the state. Dunne concurs and says that Seabrook residents also benefit from visiting professors who lecture at the Seabrook campus at least 4-6 times a year. They focus on art, historical, and cultural topics. It s a wonderful exchange that allows us to bring college-level lectures to our residents who like to stay closer to home, says Seabrook Community Resource Manager Susan Coulson. The presentations are usually taped by our in-house TV staff so residents can enjoy them at a later time if they miss the original broadcast. I find that the trip off-campus enlarges my world, says Muriel Collins who is taking advantage of Brookdale s Elder Campus one-week vacation program in the middle of this month. She is enrolled in a short stories/literature program and a musical theater program. When you re in school, your approach to learning is diff erent than it is now, she says. Back then, you just wanted to get out. But now, you have the time to really enjoy and appreciate your course of study. I will never stop being a student.