w5/ Imagination


Last week for my MOT class, I got to take the teaching styles inventory by Grasha- Riechmann and found out that although my facilitator/delegator style of teaching can be advantageous, it can also be disadvantageous for the students who need more direction, and supervision. Interestingly, at the same day, when I was about to introduce a new discussion in the class aiming the students to integrate various conceptual information in a contextual manner, some of the students asked me to show/tell them clearly what I want them to do, and how I want them to think. Realizing I’m living in my own infj-centric way of learning/teaching, and yes -not all students are like me-, was definitely a teaching moment for me.

In this regard, the Robert Talbert article was quite a reminder that:

– Learning also happens by the means of listening and observing (remember the long, boring lectures that served as models for your thought processes).

– Structured thinking and a solid conceptual knowledge are necessary in order to be able to think creatively (remember picasso: “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”).

– Learning through sharing experience and personal stories help. We love stories, we are stories.

– Tying the contextual dots when introducing the concepts help new neural pathways to be formed, make the knowledge essential, effective and easier to retrieve. Who cares of a knowledge, if it is not retrievable? It does not matter if there is a cake-house in the deep forest, if you can not find it.

I guess particularly the last point is in line with the assumptions of Mark Carnes. The intellectual games help the students to develop new neural pathways and strengthen the already present ones. Yet, at first, you have to learn what the basic concepts are, how the games are played, as James Paul Gee mentions. When there is a stimulation in the brain, the students become no longer interested in other mind-killing/time-wasting tools, as the potatoes happily grow under the fertile soil instead of developing sprouts when they are on a garage.


Sep 19, 2015

6 thoughts on “w5/ Imagination

  1. Ayesha

    Yesim, i like the way you described your experiences and how you had to take a step back to evaluate the room. I think realizing what we do is really important and I believe that listening and observing to long lectures may still be the best way for some but not all the students.

  2. Xiao Yang

    This echos Ken Robinson’s TED talk. Maybe the purpose of the four points in Robert Talbert’s article is to explore students’ interests and motivate to learn. What teachers should do in the lecture is just to create the soil for the potatoes. One more thing important is that we need respect individuality of students. We should never use the same set of criteria and methods for different students. Different students have different motivations, knowledge backgrounds, and cognitive styles. That may be why a teacher can never satisfy all students in the class.

  3. A. Nelson

    I love the potato metaphor! Actually I love everything about this – but especially the way you responded to the realization that students needed and wanted more structure. Perspective can be everything. And even “the best” learning environments will work better for some people than others. So, I salute your wisdom as a teacher to recognize that your students’ needs and learning styles were different from your own. We all need to do that — but it isn’t always easy.

  4. fdelamota

    I like the quote from Picasso. It relates to the idea of having a solid background on pedagogical techniques so that you can actually let your teaching identity “take over” the class. Then you can weave your personal stories into the material to, as you put it, “tie the contextual dots”.

  5. Aritra

    ‘Structured thinking and a solid conceptual knowledge are necessary in order to be able to think creatively’ — I agree and I loved the Pablo Picasso line that followed that. As long as it’s acknowledged that the concepts are not the end result but tools to achieve something bigger — to ‘break the rules’ – we should be good, but most of my classroom experiences indicate that concepts were thought as the be-all and the end-all for the course.

  6. Kristine

    I love how you mentioned personal experiences, as well as observation. I believe I learn best through observing others and through personal stories, because then I can relate the concepts to these memories. I do have difficulty in figuring out how to make the class more personal but not “too” personal. How much is too much to share with students, for example, or is it best to make experiences shared objective and from other people’s stories versus the professor’s stories?


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