I tried to “Up-Goer Five” the first paragraph of the Tate Modern’s description of Michael Craig-Martin’s “An Oak Tree”:
“A Big Tree” is a glass of water placed on a small glass thing you set things on in a bathroom, which is stuck to the wall higher than the human head. The guy who made the art wrote a lot of questions and answers to put next to the things. In these, the guy who made the art says that the glass of water has been turned into a big tree. When “A Big Tree” was first shown to people, in 1974 at a Place For Showing Art, in the biggest city in this land surrounded by water, the words were shown to people written on a piece of paper. It was later stuck to the wall under and to the left of the thing you set things on and the glass. The guy who made the art’s words mean to say things that can not be said. The questions ask about the obvious can not be so of what the guy who made the art said with such apparently good problems as: ‘isn’t what you did to simply called this glass of water a big tree?’ and ‘but the big tree is only there in the mind’. The answers stick to what he said while admitting that ‘the actual big tree is really present but in the form of the glass of water … Just as it can not be seen, it also can not be thought about’. “A Big Tree” is taken from the idea of turning one thing into another without changing the way the one thing looks, the idea that is important to the way this one group thinks about stuff they can’t see in which it is believed that water and ground up bits from things like the green stuff covering the ground warmed up a lot and wet stuff that gets you drunk from a round thing on a green thing that grows in the ground are changed into the body and blood of a guy some people think was the son of god while still looking like water and ground up bits from things like the green stuff covering the ground warmed up a lot and wet stuff that gets you drunk from a round thing on a green thing that grows in the ground. Being able to believe that a thing is something other than the way it looks say it should be needs being able to look at things in a weird way that changes them. This type of seeing (and knowing) is at the heart of ways of thinking about thinking about things, by which things we think are important because we have thought about them and things we think are important because of the way we feel are put on to pictures and things. “A Big Tree” uses the way groups of people think about things they can’t see as a thing that stands in for other things thing for this way of thinking about things we can’t see which, for the guy who made the art, is really important to art.
Highlighting and underlining led the authors’ list of ineffective learning strategies. Although they are common practices, studies show they offer no benefit beyond simply reading the text. Some research even indicates that highlighting can get in the way of learning; because it draws attention to individual facts, it may hamper the process of making connections and drawing inferences. Nearly as bad is the practice of rereading, a common exercise that is much less effective than some of the better techniques you can use. Lastly, summarizing, or writing down the main points contained in a text, can be helpful for those who are skilled at it, but again, there are far better ways to spend your study time. Highlighting, underlining, rereading and summarizing were all rated by the authors as being of “low utility.”
In contrast to familiar practices like highlighting and rereading, the learning strategies with the most evidence to support them aren’t well known outside the psych lab. Take distributed practice, for example. This tactic involves spreading out your study sessions, rather than engaging in one marathon. Cramming information at the last minute may allow you to get through that test or meeting, but the material will quickly disappear from memory. It’s much more effective to dip into the material at intervals over time. And the longer you want to remember the information, whether it’s two weeks or two years, the longer the intervals should be.
The second learning strategy that is highly recommended … is practice testing. … Research shows that the mere act of calling information to mind strengthens that knowledge and aids in future retrieval. While practice testing is not a common strategy — despite the robust evidence supporting it — there is one familiar approach that captures its benefits: using flash cards.