Oneness Ministry

We are One

Learning to Learn

Let me start this blog by sharing a bit of my journey and warn you this is a long one, but worth the read as this is the culmination of my learning. I will be 60 later this year and have been learning all my life! As have you, most likely. Starting school out in a special needs school, coping with dyslexia, visual issues, and unknown at the time, borderline autism, let’s just say I have come a long way. With much help I managed to graduate High School, 50th in my class of about 500. Traditional higher education did not work for me and I failed at several Universities along the way. I found the University of Phoenix style of condensed learning, one class in 5wks, worked well for me as a working professional. My Masters in Adult Education has not really served me per se (never have I ever made money from this degree), though I do have the satisfaction of knowing I have come a long way. The purpose of this extended blog post is to share what I have learned along the way. It is my belief we are at a crossroads. Traditional education is breaking down as the USA has a crisis on its hands. We are each responsible for our own learning and growth, which at our younger ages falls to our parents to a great degree, though not totally. A child learns constantly from the day they are born. Don’t buy the total innocence of a child. We choose our parents and the path we travel, even before birth. A child is not powerless! As an individual we do have a say, though at young ages this say is through our parents or guardians. The older you get the greater your responsibility for your learning. Accept this as the gift which it is. Pedagogy has served its purpose and now must be relegated to the younger years of development. Andragogy is the way forward now for most of us. Be inspired to chart your path consciously! Live and Learn.

Learning to learn

  • What is Learning
    • Learning and Intelligence
    • Andragogy vs Pedagogy
    • Learning Styles
    • Learning opportunities
  • Start with what you know – right where you are – using what you have
    • What do you know?
    • Where are you?
    • What do you have?
  • I don’t know what I don’t know
    • Where can I find out what I don’t know?
    • What tools do I need for my learning style?
    • How can I put what I have learned to use?
  • What am I going to do with this new knowledge?
    • Practical applications
    • Fun uses
    • Helping others learn.

Learning, simply stated, is becoming aware of knowledge, information, or the acquisition of a skill previously unavailable to an individual. Intelligence often relates to learning. “Although there is no single clinical or common definition of the word, intelligence can be thought of as an ability to find solutions to problems, often via a knowledge base or skill set. As the combination of genetic and environmental factors, the source or route to intelligence is often hotly disputed, especially given that conceptions of intelligence change over time and context.

Today, intelligence is often described in terms of analytical and reasoning skills, which are an essential component to the success of many learners. However, there is no fundamental reason why other intelligences, such as language abilities or emotional awareness, shouldn’t be seen as an equally valid sign of intellectual prowess.

Learning, on the other hand, can be thought of as a kind of mental or behavioural journey, with successful learning resulting in a reliable change or development of behaviour at the end of that journey.” (Lambda Solutions, 8/14/19) So intelligence is not innate, it is learned. I am a perfect example, in first grade I was put into a special needs school and my IQ was 105 throughout grade school. Now, after years of study, a Masters in Adult Education, and half a century, my IQ rates over 140. While we each have our gifts and our limitations, anyone can learn anything they will put the effort into. Often it is a simple case of practice makes perfect, though the effort required for some skills takes more than one lifetime.

To explore this further one needs an appreciation of the difference between Andragogy and Pedagogy. Basically Andragogy is adult learning and Pedagogy is child learning. We start with pedagogy from the point at which we individualize, the age of 3-6 years old. It consists of repetitive, method oriented approaches to learning, is usually very structured and requires memorization. The modern educational system follows this approach to at least 12 years old and often all the way through higher education. I posit that Andragogy should begin at the age of 13 and remain for the rest of ones life instead.

Malcolm Knowles and his theory of Andragogy goes like this. The following principles are the corner stone of all learning above the age of 12-16 and include the following; adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction, experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for learning activities, adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance to their job or personal life, and adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented. (http://tip.psychology.org/knowles.html)

Each individual has their own learning style and getting to know your own will greatly assist learning. Learning style consists of how one learns. For example,

The Seven Learning Styles:

Visual (spatial):You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.

Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.

Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.

Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.

Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.

Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.

Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

Often learning style consists of a combination of the above listed styles. Getting to know yourself then will require exploring each of these styles and observing the results. This most often happens during pedagogy, not all schools expose students to all of these styles though, so I encourage exploration! I recommend rating the styles from 1-7 in the order of your preference. If one or more of these styles seems foreign to you, then give it a go. Read a book by listening instead of using the eyes. Audio files are readily available these days. I took a class in logic in college and failed, so I quickly learned that I am not a logical person. Failure is how we grow! Perhaps music inspires you or being in a group does. Get out there and explore! By the way age is no excuse, we are learning our entire lives. Temet Nosce.

The opportunity to learn occurs constantly and if you look for it you will see it. Being sent to your room and grounded for a week is a wonderful opportunity to learn! Bullying is an opportunity to learn. Pretty much any situation offers an opportunity to learn. However lets say you are looking for more formal opportunities, then just ask! With the internet now days this is so simple. Learning starts with asking questions. Start with those closest to you, usually your parents and then branch out to those who are most likely to have the answer. Also understand that each person you ask will have their own perspective answer. Meaning there is rarely only one answer to any question. When it comes to answers I like taking the smorgasbord approach, combining the answers I get to form what works for me. My own personal Theory of the Universe! Learning takes emotion, desire, intent, and practice. The choice to learn is not up to anyone else. Most of all though it is driven by need, even if it is just an ego desire to learn a skill or knowledge for the fun of it. If you have no desire or need to learn something the actions you take will be futile. Learning occurs on a need to know basis, so get out there and learn! Life will present the lessons and will continue to do so until that particular lesson is learned or fully assimilated.

So what do you know now? It is good to establish a baseline and establish what is needed. Set a goal and take action to achieve the goal. Pretty straight forward. As an example say you know you’d like to have fresh veggies and you’d like to grow them yourself to save money and for the experience. It can be fun to know the food you eat came from your own backyard! Oh, so you don’t have a backyard. Then establish what you do have. Do you have a balcony or porch where you could put a few containers with soil? Will they get light and rain. Will they be exposed to pests, like squirrels or birds. What kind of plants would you like to grow?

Where are you in your learning? Meaning do you have the resources to find out about the topic you wish to learn? Just because a person has a doctorate in one subject, they may know nothing about another. I will stress here that learning takes curiosity, passion, and a will to learn. Necessity is the mother of invention… and learning.

What do you have? Okay, so you have established a baseline and a need. Discovered what resources are available for learning and are ready to get started. What do you know about this topic or goal? Taking the gardening example, you may know you wish to grow tomatoes, but not how they grow and what their requirements are to thrive. There are also tens if not hundreds of varieties of tomatoes, so you will need to determine which varieties grow best where you are. It is often best to adjust your needs to the environment rather than the other way around, however it is possible to grow tomatoes anywhere with the proper elements, light, water, and soil nutrients. We can even grow them on the Moon if need be. I have personally seen a greenhouse in Alaska growing huge prolific tomato plants year around, even at 40 below zero temps and very little daylight. Of course they were using advanced techniques, but nothing anyone with the desire can’t learn.

I don’t know what I don’t know

What is it that you need to know to achieve the goal you established? Do you even know what you don’t know? Some topics are really huge like space travel or learning about the Ocean. Maybe you discovered that you need an advanced degree to achieve your goal. There are some topics that take a lifetime to learn. Not to get started, but to learn fully. If you wish to be a doctor for instance, start by learning the sciences, language skills, math, and critical thinking. What some would call a basic education. Learning can be a step by step process. Sometimes we can only go so far and no matter how hard we try, we fail. Accept defeat and work with what you have. As an example, I was going to be a doctor, but failed so I became a Radiology Technologist and had a great career, a happy career. I was on track to be a professional athlete, but eventually failed at that too. The physical demands were just more than I could handle. So I focused on what I had, a dream for a career in medicine. There are always failures along the road. Accept them and reassess how to keep moving forward. The real question when it comes to career is “How can I serve?”. What do I have to offer? Nothing else matters in the end. (This blog is what I have to offer)

Where can I find out what I don’t know? So to be a doctor you must go to medical school or a lawyer goes to legal school, engineer to engineering school, etc. There are schools for just about anything. Going to a specific school though is not required and is often not even worth the hassle. In 2 yrs. I had an associates degree in Radiology Technology and was working in a hospital making good money! Being a doctor takes 8 years!! (after high school) So achieving your goals does not depend on going to school. In fact I recommend apprenticeship or learning on the job in most cases. Experience is the greatest teacher! Find someone who knows what you wish to know and work with them. Often this is done for little or no money, but the skills learned can then be translated into a wonderful living. Begin by researching in books or on the internet. Professional journals are a good place to get a feel for the career. Depending on the career, internships are the next level of getting started. Career programs with tours of facilities where what you want to do takes place could also be a start. I recently toured a fish farming facility the state uses to stock ponds and rivers and found it wonderfully interesting and something an aspiring aquarist might pursue.

What tools do I need for my learning style? Going back to learning style, certain tools will be used to learn the topic desired. By tools I mean computer, books, instruments, tools of the trade, etc. Not only the things used in practicing or performing a topic, but also the place and opportunities. Maybe you learn best by doing, then these are the opportunities you seek. Maybe you learn by observation, so watching youtube videos or volunteering where what you wish to learn is practiced. Often it will be a combination of tools like, reading about it first, then watching demonstrations and instructional videos, then getting out to help others do it, and then doing it yourself. Like a said, learning is a process.

How can I put what I have learned to use? Teaching is demonstration according to Jesus. Thus the crucifixion and resurrection (teaching us that life is eternal, the body may die but the person does not). Most of us have been taught that learning leads to a career or job and while this may be true in a very limited way. Leaning does lead to achievement. Building a house requires learning. Sailing the high seas requires learning. Any task requires learning and the only way to know what you have learned is through demonstration. The question at hand though goes deeper. Putting what you have learned to use involves more than just simple demonstration. I speak of service here. Whom do you serve with this learned skill? Jesus was serving all of humanity. In effect we each serve humanity with the skills we learn. Learning to use a knife involves many skills, some constructive like in cooking and some destructive like in combat. Each act of demonstration defines who you are, though this is by no means fixed. The choice to be good at what you do comes with varying definitions. Be cautious about comparing your skills with others to define how good you are. The level of skill you have consists of efficiency, competency, and service. Does what you have learned serve others? The more you can serve the more successful you are by my definition. This is why professionals often earn more than others, though this can be difficult to nail down to a formula. Some lawyers make millions and others barely get by. I would not use income to define success! Nikola Tesla is another good example of success not defined by income. To sum up this section, putting what you have learned to use by serving others, motivates.

What am I going to do with this new knowledge?

What you do with the learned knowledge will define the person you wish to be. The choices are endless. My goal here is to inspire, ignite, and enable learning for everyone. Be a dreamer, embrace possibility and catalyst will find you.

The practical applications here are to define your needs and desires. Ask for help if need be. Explore and research their fulfillment. Then take action by observing, assisting, and leading.

Fun uses are up to you. For many of us the simple reward of achievement can make learning fun. For others it may the actual skill which is fun, playing the piano, flying a plane, scuba diving, acting in a play, the options go on and on. A positive attitude will go far in facilitating your learning and the fun you get out of it.

Helping others learn can be a great outcome of learning. They say you don’t have anything till you give it away. Meaning, what you give, you receive. Sharing is caring…. It also enhances what you have learned. We never stop learning, so being a coach to others only deepens your own skills. Of course there is deep wisdom in the saying “Use it or Loose it”.

Sequoia Elisabeth

https://onenessministry.info/

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The Future of Education

Education is said to be the key to civilized man and if this is so why has our educational system gotten so badly outta balance?  Do you realize the true purpose to the educational system in the USA?  It is designed to create obedient, passive, and smart (but not too smart) factory workers!   Now that the age of factory work is gone in the USA it is high time to abandon the old system of teacher centered teaching and embrace learner centered learning!

The flaws in our educational system are fairly obvious so I will not get into the problems so much as stay focused on the evolution of education and the system we need to implement yesterday.  In the present system children are treated like cattle, herded into classrooms, force fed, and then expected to perform tricks (like remembering and understanding everything thrown at them on a test).  Testing has proven to be ineffective in teaching, but it remains to be the focus because it lends itself to mass ‘marketing’.  So what are we to do about our ailing educational system?

There are no shortages of ideas and many families are exploring these methods right now.  The large increase in homeschooling for instance is one method, but this system lacks socialization.  (More on Homeschooling)  With the expansion of the internet it is now possible to learn just about anything you need online, and many see this as the future of education, including myself.  The socialization issues are easily met by attending community activities, summer camps, and other classes.

The Waldorf school system’s “overarching goal is to develop free, morally responsible, and integrated individuals equipped with a high degree of social competence. Teachers generally use formative (qualitative) rather than summative (quantitative) assessment methods, particularly in the pre-adolescent years. The schools have a high degree of autonomy to decide how best to construct their curricula and govern themselves.” (Wikipedia.com)

Andragogy are teaching strategies developed for adult learners and based on a humanistic conception of self-directed and autonomous learners and teachers as facilitators of learning. (Wikipedia.com)  While this is best for adults, it is this authors opinion that it can be applied to children as young as 9yrs old, so the pediogogical approach of memorization and repetitive drills are good in the early years for learning language, math, and basic principles, but by the time the child reaches the teen years they should be ready for a broader more self-directed path to learning.

Montessori education is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits and respect for a child’s natural psychological development and is used in over 7,000 schools worldwide. (Wikipedia.com)  The problem with this method is the lack of discipline.  Working and thriving in the world today requires discipline and unless the child also takes classes in say Martial Arts, Music, Dance, or Sports.  They will not be prepared for the demands of adult life.

This brings up my final point for today.  A balanced approach which works both sides of the brain and body will produce a balanced individual, so simply focusing on the intellectual aspects of learning, as our present system does creates an individual who is out of balance.  I hated gym, art class, music, and sports in elementary school but I was forced to take them and eventually I excelled in all but music.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to develop a “whole brain” and thus the reason we have teachers and parents to guide us. (Please focus on what you do have and not what you lacked)

Please look carefully at your educational path and your families.  If you are a parent take the time to really consider the impact of sending your child to a school which still uses the old system of testing and cattle prodding!  If you are a teenager thinking of college, please read the next blog which will focus on the higher education trap!  The future is for the bold and it will take courage to forge your own path, but ultimately it is the right choice for most.

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

Unity in Gender Diversity     Free eBooks click here

 

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