Understanding early years environments and children’s spaces
This unit considers some of the different environments children encounter in their early years. It encourages you to develop your reflection of children’s environments and provides opportunities for you to investigate and evaluate young children’s experiences and your role in supporting them. First published
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E Simultaneous equations

Simultaneous equations are pairs of equations that are both true (i.e. they are simultaneously true). They are both expressed as equations with two unknowns. By making one of these unknowns the subject of both equations, we can then substitute the subject in one equation and then solve for the other unknown. Then we can substitute back into the equation and solve for the subject.

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3 Indices

In mathematics, we often need to find a shorthand way of representing information or data. Nowhere is this need more obvious than when we wish to represent something like the product of 2 multiplied by itself 2, 6, 10, 15 or even 20 times.

Instead of writing 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 × 2, we write 26. This is read (and said) as ‘2 to the power 6’; 6 is the index of the power. In general, this means that

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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions) and is used under licence.

Unit image: Courtesy of banlon1964 Flickr [accessed 27 October 2006]

All other material within this unit originated at the Open University

1. Join the 200,000 students currently studying with The Open University.


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5.2.4 Taped material

There are many useful tapes on relaxation. See Section 6 for full details.


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5.2.3 A breathing exercise

  1. Breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of eight. As you breathe in, imagine you are filling your stomach / abdomen area first, and then your chest.

  2. Hold this breath in for as long as it is comfortable.

  3. Expel the air out through your nose for a count of eight, expelling the air from your abdomen upwards through your chest.

  4. Refrain from taking another breath until it becomes uncomfortable, and then r
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5.2.2 The emergency stop technique

This exercise is an emergency relaxation technique to counteract panic and the build up of tension.

  1. Say sharply to yourself STOP! (aloud if the situation permits).

  2. Breathe in and hold your breath for a moment before slowly exhaling. As you do so, relax your shoulders and hands.

  3. Pause for a moment, then breathe in slowly again and hold. This time, as you breathe out relax your forehead and jaw.

  4. Stay qu
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5.1.1 Technique 1: Self-talk—turning negative statements into positive ones

You can guide your thinking away from general worry and self-doubt by turning negative self-statements into positive ones. This strategy is useful in all aspects of life. Figure 5 relates to an unsuccessful job interview and illustrates the process.

Figure 5
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Introduction

Do you feel that sometimes you don't do yourself justice in exams? Perhaps you've never taken an exam and are wondering how to prepare yourself. It may have been a long time since you took an exam, and you feel a need to refresh your technique. You may be looking for reassurance and advice because you've had a bad exam experience in the past.

This unit aims to help you to improve your own revision and exam techniques and reassure others who experience anxiety and stress over exams.


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10.2 Other sources of help

Websites

/ www.open.ac.uk/ goodstudyguide

This Open University site is a companion site to the Good Study Guide series of books.


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9.2 What is reflection?

Is reflection different to just thinking about your study? And how do we do it? Can someone teach you how to reflect or is it a matter of practice? Can everyone be reflective or are some students - and some people - more reflective than others?

There is no clear definition of reflection or precise way of describing what we mean by a reflective learner. But we can discuss some characteristics of the process, and encourage you to develop your own preferred ways of developing it.

Ref
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9.1 Reflection and the four main phases of learning how to learn

If your course encourages this approach to learning, or if you have read other material on learning how to learn, you may have come across the term 'reflection'. Maybe you have been encouraged to reflect on your learning or on your assignments. In this unit, we have deliberately not used the term until now. This is not because we think the term - or the process - is unimportant, but because it can seem vague and not particularly helpful to you as a learner. In fact, all the activities in this
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7.2 Learning from feedback

This is actually quite a difficult thing for any student to do. It is most effective when your assignment is returned, but by then you may have moved on to the next part of the course. Even so, you do need to make time to re-visit your assignment when it is returned and take note of your tutor's comments. It is the one time when your tutor is able to give feedback and advice to you as an individual student so it is well worth taking time to really absorb their comments. Try to separate
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4.2 Analysing the task

This involves you in analysing both the learning task, (e.g. working through the text, other readings, calculations, experiments) as well as the assessed task (e.g. the assignment). It is important to work out from the start just what this part of the course requires you to do as well as to know.

Activ
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7 Conclusion

Reading is a core activity in most courses of study. The purpose of it is to enable you to learn. But learning is not a passive process, you don't just let ideas wash over you. You have to make sense of them as you read and then use them to think with.

Key points


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4.1 Underlining and highlighting

To be able to make sense of what you are reading, you need to read actively. One method that can help is to use a pen.

Activity 2

Did you underline or highlight any words as you read the Layard article? If not, go back over the
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3.2 Reading to learn

In order to learn you need to follow the argument as you read. With an important text, you should slow right down and take it bit by bit. Here is a student describing how he tackled a particularly challenging chapter:

This intensive kind of reading is at the opposite end of the scale
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2.5 Poor environment

Were you held back at all in your reading by the environment you were reading in? Were you reading in bed, in the bath, sitting at a desk, on the bus, or in the park? Any of these could be a good time and place, but did it actually work for you?

Were you able to maintain your concentration fo
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Introduction

Reading is easy, isn't it?

On any ordinary day without even noticing, you read shop signs, newspaper headlines, TV listings, a magazine, or a chapter of a paperback. So why would a message like this one appear in an online student chat room in the early weeks of a course?

Clearly, readi
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9 Putting it all together

We have covered a wide range of aspects of thinking, particularly those concerned with clear and critical thinking. At this stage, you may find it useful to consider how ideas like these can be put together in ways that will help you when you engage in activities such as reading, writing, speaking and listening. Here is a checklist to use when making judgements about things that you hear, see and experience.

  • Who is speaking or writing?

  • <
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