Fraser teaches reservists lifelong learning skills

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Photo: courtesy of Eric Fraser

The classroom of the 35th Engineers reserves on Wednesday night. The reservists are encouraged to incorporate Fraser’s learning tips in the field and at school.

Eric Fraser’s 35th Engineers reserves regiment takes seriously the reservist lifestyle of fitness, work, and school. In an effort to make the school part a bit easier, Fraser’s Ste. Foy-based reserves unit is about to become the first in Canada to incorporate practical study tips and healthy study habits into its training regiment this fall.

“Many students currently take a very linear approach to studying; they forget the course objectives after reading four or five chapters in a weekend,” said Fraser, a second lieutenant and former industrial design professor at Cegep Ste. Foy. Fraser said the last-minute cramming students rely on has adverse effects on retaining material and on students’ marks.
“The students spend too much time studying for questions the teacher won’t ask,” he said.

Efficient study skills are essential for reservists, who must tackle a busy schedule of both school and military training. About 85 per cent of the reservists in the 35th are enrolled either in high school, cegep or university. Many of them are in demanding science-based programs where knowledge obtained in one course serves as a foundation for the next. Fraser believes that post-secondary institutions take good study habits for granted.

What a reservist learns in the classroom, Fraser said, can be a matter of life or death in the field. “Military engineers are required to do everything from building a road, which begins with surveying the land, diverting water and felling trees, to land-mine identification and disposal,” he explained.

Fraser began drafting a number of lectures on studying last fall, which he hopes will keep his reservists focused on memorizing the most important material. His lectures range from how to write an exam to how to lead a study group.
There are no results yet to prove the lectures are effective, but reservists are telling Fraser they feel less anxious about school because they feel properly prepared.

“I felt a lot less stressed going into the exam because I knew how to focus in on what was required. I didn’t get my mid-term mark yet, but I’m feeling pretty good,” said Maxime Faucher-Boivin, a fourth year mechanical engineering student at Université Laval and a reservist in Fraser’s unit.

Faucher said although he has almost graduated with his bachelor’s degree, he has never had classes teaching him how to study before. Now all of his fellow reservists are going to incorporate Fraser’s tips.
“It took ten minutes to explain. I’m very thankful,” Faucher said.