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Centerpointe Research

How We Learn

English: Level/Time of competence when learnin...

Two things that can help us learn:  good teachers and connection of the content to something we have learned in the past.  Having had a lot of education experiences, I have experienced both and learning is a very frustrating experience when you don’t have either.

Having studied writing, drawing, sculpture, as well as many other things, I found that while the teacher may be a good writer, a good artist, or a good musician he or she may not be able to develop those talents in others.  I have taken classes in these subjects where I was to practice doing these things that the teachers were able to do very well.; but I got no instructions on basic techniques like the use of perspective in drawing or  how to use various media like watercolors, pastels, or acrylics.  I learned to play the piano with practice, but I was not taught music theory.  Currently I am singing in a choir and learning new things about chorus work from a director for the first time who knows everything about choral work and voice.   In psychology, I had an instructor who was very famous for her research in the area that the course was to cover.  She could not teach what she knew about her work.  It was a very frustrating experience to be in her class and we did not do very well on her exams in spite of the fact that we, her pupils, were graduate students in psychology who had to successfully compete against other applicants for our positions in our class at the big ten school.

I have had the experience of learning more about a subject that I had had the good fortune of having previously studied and it was easy to integrate new knowledge with old.  I have also floundered and struggled learning a subject that I had not heard about before. When a teacher gives examples and can integrate them with people’s everyday experience, it is much easier to learn a new subject. It is also true that some people have a knack for certain kinds of subjects. I never got the hang of calculus although I had done just fine in other math classes that had been required to be taken before it.

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