Learning, learning learning

1 10 2008

Tech task 7:

 

In a way it is strange to be asked to look at myself to be student rather than a teacher as, for the past 3 years and again this year I have constantly been told to stop thinking of myself as a student, but rather as a teacher.

So, I will take a step back and think of myself as a student. We are always constantly learning, there is no point in our lives where we will ever stop learning. Of course  there are things we learn that we will never really use again in the context we thing we will, but we will always come back to everything we have learnt. Even some of the things that we all learnt back in grade 10,11,12 math. We (unless we plan to teach math to someone) will most likely never use that knowledge for math. On the other hand we will take what we learnt in those classes and put it into our everyday lives. Now, obviously I am not talking about the math curriculum ( I have yet to use most of what I ever learnt in high school math) I am instead talking about the things we learn in class because of the problems we may (or may not) encounter. If we are people to become frustrated in class (I know I was one of these people in math) then we learn how to work with those frustrations. We learn how to deal with stress due to extra homework, we learn how to approach our teacher (or peers) for help. If we happened to be one of the lucky ones in a particular class and did not have any difficulties we also learn things. In music for example, I was one of those lucky ones. In that case, we learn things like leadership, communication, and of course we are able to learn more than other students (of course only in some classes).

What do I like to learn about? Well, that’s a good question actually. I have been thinking about how I would answer this question for a few days now and what I have come up with is this:

Simple, I like to learn. There is nothing in particular I like to learn about, there is not a specific subject. But what I like to learn really ties in to how I like to learn. Basically, I like to learn about anything but I find a problem with learning. My brain, I find, tends to shut off in two cases; the first one being if I get bored of whatever it is I am doing (which includes homework), and the second one being if I am forced to learn something. I have examples for both of these situations:

 A situation (that is actually very crucial to the degree I am currently in) where I was forced to learn something was actually during my lesson last year (music education students have a necessary lesson once a week on their instrument, which is their major). My major (instrument) is trombone, as some of you may know, (usually professional) trombone players need to know two different clefs (bass and tenor). In my second year of lessons, my lesson prof began working with me to learn the second clef (tenor), I found this extremly difficult but nonetheless I was willing to learn. Throughout my second year and the beginning of my third year, I struggled with this clef. During that first part of my third year my prof decided that I was not learning it well enough, he then insisted I learn it better by giving me a jury (like a final, except performance) piece which was mostly in tenor clef. After he did that, my brain refused to learn the clef and I ended up failing my lesson.

A great example of something being boring  would actually be music history. Firstly, I have never been able to memorize, anything, and secondly I have always thought history was boring (which seems strange the more I think about it, because history should be exciting). Then again, this might just be another example of the first problem. I was forced to memorize dates (as well as numerous other things), which I knew I couldn’t do, though I tried anyways. What happened? Well, I ended up not doing very well.

 

For me to actually be able to learn something, I need to feel like the subject (or teacher) is engaging and that I am not being forced to learn the subject. I also learn better, not by reading but instead by doing. Though if it is something I do not understand at all (take music theory for example) I will not learn the subject only by doing, I need someone to rationally explain it to me and show me as well as watch me do work, and correct me right away if I seem to be doing it wrong.

My learning network, that is a huge question for me. I have been thinking about this question for two days now and well I have come up with the fact that my learning network is huge. I include everyone I talk to, or could easily talk to at any time, in my learning network. Who does this include? Well of course there is the entire music department at the U of R (the music department is different from other departments, we are all put together into a very large family, almost any music student will tell you this). I don’t know if I would include all of the students, but I would include all the professors. I also include anyone in thier learning networks as well, as they are able to talk to these people and through them I will get information. This means that I have all of the music teachers in Regina in my network, and through them, the majority of the teachers in Regina. I also am friends with one band teacher in the city, and so of course I include the teachers at her school for sure. I also have one teacher in my learning network who teaches in Winnipeg. Also in my learning network are all of the teachers at my old high school (because I still keep in contact with them) as well as a few others from the district. I include the 79th Glencarin Scout group. I include everyone on two websites I am active on. One is a teacher website and the other is a website for teens that I assist teens on. The teacher website has 7,702 members currently and the other site has 58,198 members. Of course, currently I also have everyone in three out of four of my classes this term (I do not include on because we do not talk to anyone in that class). As you can see my learning network happens to be fairly large (or at least what I consider to be my learning network). If you do not agree why I include some of these people in my learning network then please say so. I have arguements for each and every person I have mentioned (if you want I could even go into detail about each one of the 58,198, and I’m not kidding) 🙂

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2 responses

2 10 2008
Ian H.

I would hope that someone who is going to be a teacher never stops considering themselves as a student – it’s key to being able to bring new things into the classroom constantly. As for your learning areas – those are important because you will be able to relate to students having the same difficulties with boredom or “forced” learning (many HS students would claim that all material is “forced”). How do you, as a teacher, use your experiences as a learner to help those students in the same situation as yourself?

2 10 2008
afprizeman

I agree, it is important to always consider ourselves to be students, as we are constantly learning. Unforuntetely, it seems some professors want us (or at least the classes I have been in) to step out from the role of student.
What a great question, I have to say! In my future classrooms (which will hopefully be either HS band or drama) I am hoping to steer far away from boredom. Boredom is (fairly) easy to stay away from in drama as is ‘forced activities’ unfortunetely both of these things are very hard to stay away from in the world of band. There will always be someone who is bored (or a group of people) and there will (almost) always be students who are not been challenged enough, and those who are being challenged ‘too much’. I will have to think more about your question, and possibly I will dedicate a post to the question.

Thanks for commenting!

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