This research is based on the first chapter of Ellis’ book on becoming a master student. It describes the traits required in becoming a master student. These traits have also been viewed from the perspective of other scholars. The research shall elucidate some of the traits of a master student such as motivation, self-discovery, appreciation of diversity, truthfulness, acknowledgement of positive qualities, technology mastery, having healthy habits, multiple intelligence, learning through senses, meta-cognition, attitude formation, reprogramming and replacement, flexibility, positivity of intention and clarity of goals. The research also includes a description of why I chose the autobiography based on the writer’s attributes and abilities. There is also a practical application of the traits in my personal experience. Finally, the whole write up shall be recapped in the conclusion section.
The first chapter of the book has been dubbed ‘First Steps’. The latest edition of Ellis’ text has enhanced features, charts and additional systems of learning. In earlier editions, the chapter is divided into three broad parts (10th edition). They include Exercise: Invention/Intention; The Discovery Wheel; and Remembering Cultural Differences: Diversity on your Campus. The chapter is not only student-friendly but also instructor-friendly. Student-friendly texts make students visualize difficult concepts (Mundell and DeLairo 8). According to the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, chapter one is helpful in determining what learning experiences best match the students’ abilities; similar to the views of Ellis, Doug and Mancina.
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There are many traits described in Ellis’ book on how a student could become a master student that is one who knows himself or herself in terms of skill. Some aspects have been expressly mentioned while others have just been connoted by the writer. According to Ellis, a master is a person who is skilled beyond a mere technique. A master student does not struggle. They work effortlessly and produce very good results. The work of a master is self propelled. They work out of their mind. Becoming a master student involves mastering healthy habits. According to Ellis (23), the first step is being truthful. This entails actually determining what works for ones life and that which does not. Those who want to be master students must learn to acknowledge their positive qualities.
A master student is the one has mastered technology. This involves supplementing ones texts with computer resources. This is so because it helps in discovering how a student should learn. The chapter also explains that a master student should be able to balance their preferences.
For one to be a master student, they must discover themselves. That is why the chapter included a ‘discovery wheel’. The wheel provides a picture of how one sees themselves as students. For one to discover themselves, they should complete the wheel using the Learning Style Inventory (LSI). The author refers to this as the cycle of learning (Ellis 6). The chapter also suggested multiple intelligence as a way of discovering the best strategies for a students learning (Ellis 38). It is stipulated that each student has all of the intelligences to some degree. A master student should not accept paradox.
A master student, one should be able to learn through senses. These senses include seeing, hearing and moving. This system of learning has been herein referred as the VAK system. It denotes visual auditory and kinesthetic learning. Becoming a master student therefore means making use of the VAK system as a way of learning; either holistically or sensually.
At a higher level, master students should be meta-cognitive (Ellis 42). It is an aspect of learning that helps students to think about the act of thinking. This would greatly help in the critical analysis of texts. It would also lead to expanded horizons in approaches to learning. Further, Ellis and Toft (7) wrote that it would make a student conscious of not jumping into conclusions, pointing to false causes and thinking in ‘all terms’ or in ‘nothing terms’.
Another trait of a master student is being motivated. This means that a student should have an inner driving force. The aspect also includes the actual realization of those things that drive one towards the achievement of academic and life goals. According to Jensen (27), when one is motivated, they make others motivate them further. In other words, results depend on a student’s inner disposition.
Attitude formation is another trait of a master student. It entails the perspective with which things are viewed. It includes visualizations of what is fit for a student. These visualizations are based on strong affirmations regarding the academic life among other things. These attributes had been towards the end of the book but this edition placed them as components of the first steps. Another trait which is now considered as among the first steps in becoming a master student is replacement of attitudes. This is probably based on the tenet that flexibility is an important life skill. In addition, a students’ attitude be reprogrammed.
In becoming a master student, one must master student profiles. Through such mastery, one is able to realize what profile they belong. It is only through such a realization that a student is able to understand others and master effective interactions. According to earlier editions of the book, the writer stipulated that becoming a master student should include a mastery of guidelines for discovery and intention statement. This trait also carries with it the journal entry system for discovery and intention. According to Ellis and Toft (5), intention statements could be used to alter a student’s course. The two writers clearly stipulated that intentions should be positive, observable and achievable. They also emphasize that clear intentions should be followed by action. In writing discovery statements, master-to-be students must be specific, non-judgmental and truthful.
Consciousness of cultural differences is a key attribute of becoming a master student. This is so because the institutions of learning are becoming increasingly diverse. The diversity is in many forms especially from a racial perspective. There is therefore a need to harmoniously interact with other students from any racial background. In fact, the writer suggested that students should be able to learn about other cultures and ways of life. This shall a great deal expand their horizons.
In elucidating what students require being master students, Ellis and Toft cited specificity of intention, criticality of thinking, clarity of goals within and after college, the vigor of action, strength of the desire, the uniqueness of style, ability to learn and centrality of planning in all activities.
My Personal Experience
When I read the traits described by the writer, I discovered that indeed, ideas are like tools. I have personally been helped by most of the traits suggested in the chapter since I read the text. The traits’ description has made me master life and learning skills. When I was in my first year in University, I used to be very poor in communication of my feelings and interaction with others outside the classroom. Moreover, since I read the traits and practiced how to apply them, I have improved in my interpersonal communication and interaction. As a result, I requested my guardian to buy a copy of the book for the home library.
In more specific terms, the discovery wheel was vey applicable in my financial considerations and priorities. I came to understand that spending should be planned. This was coupled with more skills on planning, budgeting and time management. So far, I belief I am a master student in time and money management.
Lessons Learned about the Writer
The reasons for my choice of the text were mainly because of the way the writer approached the subject. Dave Ellis has wealth of experience as an educationist. The writer is a well rounded academician who is well conversant with the needs of the students, the practical application of his approaches at workplace, technological inevitability of learning and a wide scope of coverage. This illustrated by the writer’s inclusion of student activities before chapter one and all chapters, time management exercises, internet exercises the wide variety of ‘master student profiles. The writer uses value-based approaches to help students discover themselves. Through the exercises, the students understand their strengths and weaknesses. The writer could as well be described as a life skills expert. He is also a ‘master instructor’ who gives guidelines on teaching skills. This is evident in his east-to-read all-inclusive academic work. In addition, the writer has a global mind since the 13th edition of the book is an international edition. Further, Ellis is always conscious of the changing times and needs in which the older work is always upgraded to newer editions. Dave Ellis is undoubtedly a renowned writer, leadership trainer, educator and a philanthropist.
Dave Ellis has done great work in explaining the traits of a master student. There are also other scholars who have written about the subject; whose resources have been useful not only in outlining the actual traits but also the wider topic of life skills. The discussion outlined these traits, expounded on them, put them in the context of my personal campus experience and also gave explanations why the text was chose. It was explained that the text was chosen on the basis of the author’s academic and personality ability. Some traits of a master student include truthfulness, motivation, knowledge of self, mastery of technology and clarity of goals. In addition, the discussion focused on the author’s perspective; the chief driver of the choice of the text. Above all, the traits were put into practical experience of my early university life before I had mastered the skills of life and learning. Indeed, Chapter 1 of Ellis’ text is an important piece not only in the orientation of new students but also in educational an social work practice.
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