Some Thoughts On My Experience Taking Leonard Peikoff’s Grammar Course

I have completed Leonard Peikoff’s Grammar Course. Some thoughts below.

Grammar Improvements & Weaknesses

This first section is about improvements in my grammar ability and a weakness that I realized.

  • I got a more thorough understanding of grammar, including some fine details like when to use the perfect infinitive. I like grammar 🙂
  • I am paying more attention, on an automated basis, to various issues like parallelism, subject-verb agreement, and the use of appropriate clauses/phrases when writing.
  • I’m catching more errors than I used to in my own writing and in other people’s writing.
  • In terms of subject-specific weaknesses, my ability to readily connect the name of a tense and mood to a specific verb form is not good. Not a huge priority for me because I think it’s more of a naming-the-thing issue than an issue of screwing up what verb form to actually use, but it seems worth identifying the issue.

Value of Course for Getting Better at Learning

This section is about the value that I got from the course in terms of my overall learning ability/skill, as well as in terms of my motivation & confidence.

  • I got some practice with the idea of honestly self-evaluating my understanding and my errors, and doing so in public.
  • I improved my ability to take notes. At some point I realized my note-taking skills were below par and that was causing a problem. As a result, I consciously increased the level of detail in my notes, and that helped a bunch.
  • I had the positive experience of coming back to something that I had struggled with previously (the Peikoff course) and managing to succeed
  • I got some experience with moving through a large, complex body of material at a quick pace without getting stuck, which is something I haven’t done much of recently.
  • I wrote more than I’ve written in quite a long time (even though a lot of it was notes, it was still my attempt to organize some information + had my thoughts and comments).

Learning-Related Areas for Further Improvement

This section discusses areas for further improvement regarding future learning efforts.

  • I can still do better in terms of organizing things like notes and answers.
    • One specific thing I noticed is that sometimes I talk about something kind of generally – in a disorganized and wishy-washy way – rather than presenting bulleted points, giving yes/no answers, offering specific edits that I would make, and that sort of thing. This makes my material more difficult for others to read and more difficult for me to evaluate. So working on the skill of thinking about the most sensible way to organize what I’m writing seems important, as does making sure that I offer a clear final evaluation.
      • To that end, spending even a few minutes consciously thinking about the issue of writing organization before I write a bunch of stuff will probably help a lot. I’ve noticed myself having to spend time cleaning up organization issues later, so if I had a policy of thinking consciously about how to organize things at the beginning of writing, rather than just jumping right in, I’d probably save lots of time.
  • I can make better use of existing resources. For example, Anne B went through the course not that long ago, but I only thought to look at what she said and compare her answers to mine pretty late in the course.

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