Module 1: Theories of Learning

image source: gettingsmart.com
image source: gettingsmart.com

I could have sworn Roberts, in his video on What is Learning (2013), looked me in the eye when he said, you are an adult returning to learn. Indeed, I am finding myself having to worry about learning now, than decades ago, when I was younger and more energetic. But I have yet to include age as a factor in learning since I now have the specific advantage of life experiences and examples – putting me to a test of wits as I reflect on this module about learning.

Learning is indeed a very personal thing, and for me, I think it’s almost the discomfort of something new or maybe even a rude awakening or jolt. This is not to state that I approach learning negatively.  There was a time but I was a laggard at new things and tend to defend old-school modes until I get outdated. It was good that I started to have kids because if I didn’t, my transition into the digital world would have been way slower than the internet speed of the country’s ISPs. I must admit not all learnings are pleasant but almost all learnings have been necessary to make me understand the world better. (Smith, 2003 ‘Learning Theory’ the encyclopedia of informal education)

I was very fascinated with the Venn Diagram on learning and teaching from Atherton (2013), and have identified myself to be in that one learner’s shoes. I believe that the mind chooses which information to process, with convenience, for sustained learning. This also expresses how our minds behave when we are faced with learning matters of personal interest, as opposed to forced learning.

Atherton, JS (2013) Learning and Teaching: What is Learning
Atherton, JS (2013) Learning and Teaching: What is Learning

I know that if everybody had their way, implicit learning will be favored over conscious and formal learning, simply because it’s almost like human nature. There is fluidity of words and actions when we are unconsciously learning and we like the feeling of accomplishment, with least effort, along the way.  Of course this is wishful thinking, as we mature and discover that, to lead productive lives, one must develop his/her full potential and competencies to perform a myriad of responsibilities in this world. (Huitt, 2011. Why study educational psychology? Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA.)

Maslow's hierarchy of needs, represented as a pyramid with the more basic needs at the bottom ( https://web.archive.org/web/20100211014419/http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/maslow.htm)
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, represented as a pyramid with the more basic needs at the bottom ( https://web.archive.org/web/20100211014419/http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/maslow.htm)

Looking upon learning as a process has a lot to do with where you are in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, where I am definitely at the self-actualization stage.  Now I can finally declare the life is a learning continuum, and that I cannot seek to just impart knowledge and skills but I must also learn from learners and adopt new strategies to seek my full potential.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs)

On the other hand, I don’t have a full grasp as yet on the specific kind of teacher I want to be, but here are some thoughts of what skills and competencies I would like to have:

  • Be a good resource person. I feel I will inspire, motivate and gain respect by first and foremost, having a mastery of my field.
  • Be more facilitating than lecturing. I want to learn how to do positive provocations and lead learners to understand from differing perspectives.
  • Do more interactive teaching methodologies for livelier discussions.
  • Lessen unnecessarily high expectations and seek to understand individual idiosyncrasies.

I feel we have our very own “hidden curriculum” in the local setting and I would be delighted to be assigned to work on ‘labelling’ and its effects on a person’s future education or work.  Some ironic laughter is at the background for me, as I have been a victim of being told I was poor in Math since grade school and for that, I have never tried harder than a passing grade.  It would be really interesting to view survey results and interviews to investigate this hypothesis. I know I will get to also know myself even more in the process.

Thank you for giving me these opportunities to learn everyday!

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