#WeLearnBy/”Programmed Learning”

Last week, as we did the activity #WeLearnBy…, in and outside my group I noticed a few of my group members and other groups said “repetition”. Because I also learn by repetition and shared that with my group, I then thought to myself, “why do I learn by repetition?”. Then I thought “well maybe because in elementary school when we were given our weekly spelling words we had to write them over and over for a set amount of times and I learned by repeating this notion to this day”…that is how I learning I have to repetitively do the steps or write something down.  Then I thought for the people that said they also learn in repetition if this was their reason why…having been conditioned to repeat write early on in elementary or before.

As I read the “Anti-Teaching_Mindful Learning” piece it started connecting for me. I believe the author mentioned something about programmed teaching or “teaching the basics” but not introducing students to learn and attain information outside those step by step, basic instructions. Is that holding them back? If I would have been exposed different ways of learning spelling words would “repetition” be the way in which I learn and attain information now? Maybe, maybe not but having other options presented to me would have been nice. I remember at the time writing my spelling words over and over seemed so tedious to me and hard to adapt to doing at the time as a 6 year old child. Then I just went with the flow and adapted to it because every year after that each teacher wanted use to write our spelling  words over and over again for a fixed amount of time, so it worked.

I feel like this “mindful” or “mindfulness” concept is a movement, as I learned some mindful skills in therapy and some nutrition and health professionals (my education field) discuss and incorporate Mindful Eating in their curriculum and health education approaches. As I typed in Mindful Learning, just to read a little more on it, I found this quote “Ellen Langer proposes a third approach which she calls ‘sideways learning’. Sideways learning involves maintaining a mindful state that is characterized by openness to novelty, alertness to distinction, sensitivity to different contexts, awareness of multiple perspectives, and orientation in the present”. http://cadres.pepperdine.edu/ccar/ar/c7/Connaghan/MindfulLearning.htm I mean I read this once in the article we had to read for this week but as I read it again in made more sense and connected for me (probably due to my conditioned learning style of repetition learning). But this “sideways learning” outside of the “top to bottom” or “bottom up” approach sound like it is so useful for both instructor and student because at the end of the day a learning style is taught in a way especially at and during the elementary level of learning but every thing does not work for everybody as I believe Langer also subtly argues during the basic learning section.

Technology on the Rise K-PhD

The question of “what kind of educational experience changes lives?” is truly an important question. The goal of educators is to often have high impact on their students so they can go out with knowledge and change the world. However, my self I can only remember a handful of instructors/ classes that really had a strong impact on my learning experience or just me as a person, that is surprising to me as I reflect because I have been in school forever (straight fro high school 2009). It was interesting to find out through Kuh’s article that active learning practices was unsystematic at the undergraduate level of education. But now that I really think about it, it is really not surprising to me at all. I work as a substitute teacher for a awhile. And my GTA focuses on how to teach pre-service teachers science (STEM)  grades K-12 due to the lack of women and diversity in the STEM careers and higher education, this course that pre-service teachers have to take focuses on how teachers can present science in an engaging way. Focusing also on inquiry based learning and Understanding By Design (UBD) model (a backward design model focusing on doing the activity first then talking student through what they just say happening in the activity).

I know I went off on kind of a tangent but this idea of active learning not being systematic at the undergraduate level is not surprising because it is not systematic at the K-12 level (especially in sub filed like science) which is an interesting notion because everyone learns differently and I believe that all 5 senses need to be recognized as instructors teach material due to the fact that everyone attains knowledge and information in different ways.

As I substituted I saw alot of students using internet-based material and technology for learning, such as ipods, ipads, computers (especially for students that were known to act out. Instructions for me as a sub was to just “let them get on the computer”.  I mean yes it made my job easier to handle the rest of the class but to think of all the psycho-social impact that it had on these students that “acted out” is kind of scary. Smart boards are in the classroom there in no more white boards and all fundamental learning games are on the internet or technology based materials for these students. Only one teacher I saw still used and hand blocks and marbles to help teach the students to count. So network learning has taken place in all levels and areas of education. Can this be a good thing to keep society technically advanced? Yes. But I also think there needs to be a balance of networked based learning and the “old school way” of learning as well.