Things That Made Us Learn

During your school and univeristy years what sort of things faciliated your learning?


6 responses

14 04 2010

Wow, it’s not easy thinking back on what it was that facilitated my learning. I think some of the most important factors are interest and passion. When I find a subject or topic interesting I tend to surprise myself by including it in my conversations with friends, family and even co-workers (when I have the opportunity to talk with them). I suspect that part of the reason my friends think I’m ‘smart’ is because I tend to talk about all these strange topics and concepts they may never have thought of. Being passionate is also a vital part of learning, and something I feel a teacher can really foster and nurture and share. Having a passion and a thirst to learn more and to be provided with the opportunity to do so is vital for the facilitation of learning.

My parents always encouraged me academically, regardless of what crazy idea I had for a profession each week. I come from a family of bright sparks and felt that I spent most of my schooling life in the shadow of my genius older brother and sociable younger brother. I was the odd ball, middle child, who had to work in order to achieve, something neither of my brothers ever had to do. It was something my parents were very encouraging of, brains isn’t all that is needed, perseverance and hard work will pay off, and they did what they could to encourage me, whether it was extra classes, resources or time. While my academic successes never matched either of theirs in school, today I am the only holder of a university degree.

Another thing I discovered over the past few years is that you can’t educate someone to think the same as you simply by telling them. It was something my teachers always did at high school – ‘you need to plan’, ‘you need to have good study patterns,’ these are all things I understand now, after 18 yrs of schooling, but at the time made little impression. My younger brother joined the university ranks last year and I kept finding myself telling him to ‘have good study patterns’, ‘plan your assignments’, all the things my teachers had told me and I had never listened to. I could never understand why my parents never said anything to him but it was something he had to learn on his own, like I had to, sometimes you need to be allowed to fail to find out how to succeed. If I had listened in high school I definitely would have done better but I would not have the respect and understanding of what it means to learn without it.

– Maggie

14 05 2010

Things that make me learn are definitely the things I experience first-hand. What my history tutor loves to call “experiential learning”. If I could do something hands on, read background info on it, touch it or see it etc. then as I built up a picture in my mind and discovered it on my own terms, it was much more liekely to remain.
I could never do maths very well. Up until about year 8 I was fine, then I decided it was irrelevant and frustrating because there was nothing about it I felt was of substance (many i know will disagree with me here) because I didn’t feel like I could experience it in any significant (and personal way). I couldn’t get my teeth into it with discussion, research or by looking through photographs or by testing it myself from scratch. My teachers ALWAYS worked out of the textbook. They would say “any questions” someone would reply “yes” and they would say “look in the textbook”. Thrilling and engaging stuff! (You can tell i’m a HSIE teacher…)

– Emily

29 05 2010

Looking back on my experiences, I think what made me a better learner and like studying was simply having a goal that I believed in and that motivated me. I was doing it just for myself, and so only had myself to prove something to without the pressure of worrying about other people’s expectations.

A turning point for me was when I took charge of my own learning and instigated my change to a Selective high school in Yr 11. I think this had a very positive impact on my life as I was surrounded by teachers and students who helped me achieve greater academic success. So I think another thing that facilitated learning for me was having people around me who also wanted to succeed and had a positive attitude to learning. They further motivated me to work hard and really push myself to strive further.

Finally, I think having a positive role model and mentor in my older brother faciltitated my learning as I had someone to look up to. He encouraged me to study harder and told me about techniques he used to succeed. I applied those and found myself performing better.


1 06 2010

I remember during my elementary and high school years, the reason why I tried my best and worked hard at every subject that I had was because of my parents. They were the ones who encouraged me, supported me, nagged me, and forced me to do well (not just me but my other siblings as well). I was getting fairly good grades because I was interested to learn and I had fun going to school with my friends.

In college, I was given free reign to do whatever I wanted (as long as it doesn’t include an airplane – read “about me”). I just had to make sure that I pass my course and get a degree. My first two years in college was really tough, I had to start at the second term because of some minor problems and so did not have a regular block of people with my classes. It challenged me to do things by myself and not rely on anyone and that experience is still helping me right now because I am going through the same thing.

I think that when we are faced with challenges and we fight hard to overcome it — even if we fail (and we do sometimes), that’s when we really learn. It’s our determination that motivates us to do well and to not give up.

– Francis

1 06 2010

I think its more about learning through the experience than anything else. I mean in the classroom and at uni, attending lecture and tutorials its all about the content. But the actually experience of going to school and going to uni is just so valuable – having to be somewhere, being part of a community, part of a class, a group of friends and being responsible for behaving in a certain way and so on. I’m not saying that what we learn isn’t important, becuase we all need to learn something so we can become teachers and know how to teach and what to teach, but its the expereience that comes with the teaching and the learning that puts it all into to place i think… i really dont know if im explaining this well!

– Wendy

2 06 2010

Every January I do a week long training camp for my work in kids and youth ministry. One particular workshop I did in 2008 really stayed with me. This workshop focused on how to best cater to the varying learning styles of a class. This was a real eye opening experience for me, and my co-leaders. We realised that we were running a study for a group of kids that only catered to the visual learners. What probable stunned us all was that there were varying levels of learning difficulties in the group. There was at least on dyslexic kid and another student with severe problems. He cannot follow though processes and often misses the point in conversations, he has very limited reading abilities and struggles to write and we were giving him a worksheet every week that included paragraphs of text!

By that afternoon, we had had a leaders meeting and completely changed the program to suit the needs of the kids, not us. Funnily enough, each of the leaders had a different learning style, but were following the conventional program of the group. We now strive to cover all the different learning areas in each lesson; however, depending on who is running the group the focus tends to follow their strengths. For example, I, as the visual learner, still use worksheets but have cut back the amount of text and always provide an opportunity for the kids to get up and talk out their thoughts and ideas; they are big fans of the whiteboard.

This experience made me really think about how I personally learn and has since changed my study patterns. I can’t justify simply sitting through a lecture anymore, I have to take notes. I have also taken it a step further and looked into my intelligences which has been very helpful and something I have found to be very interesting.

– Maggie

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