Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Successful learning

This is the first meme I've ever done. Not really a meme because I didn't get tagged. So I don't really know what to call it, but Pat did this on her blog, and challenged her readers to answer these questions. So I have.

What is the most important thing you do to grow yourself as a learner?
I work on learning all the time, not on the knowledge or concepts of what I'm learning - I work on *how* I'm learning, how I can do it better, consciously and continually. I teach a lot of level one university students, and whether they've been in learning recently or not, I find that this is often the most difficult thing to get across - they need to consciously learn about learning as well as learning about the subject matter.

What do successful learners do that make them successful?
It's a very personal thing, different in every case, I think. The thing they have in common is that they have found it. I just keep plugging away. And I set great store by learners taking charge of their learning, especially when they're my students. I actively teach basic student skills, like how to fillet a book for the assignment answer. And I teach them that it's all capable of being fun. And if it isn't then, get interested. That was a lesson told to me by my Latin teacher when I was 13. He told all of us if we weren't interested in Latin to get interested. Possibly the only lesson I really learned when I was at school. I found that it worked.

What do successful learners do to maximize their efficiency?
Again it's a question of what works for you. many people go for walks, limit their time at their learning, leave it at a good stage. Some - not enough in my opinion - keep a journal. I'm quite lazy about that. I've kept journals over the last fifteen years or so (ever since I became a teacher) but it's haphazard. I'll keep one going for a few months, then leave it for a year. In the last couple of years, this blog has served that purpose, but there's a lot of more personal stuff that I wouldn't put down here.

What hinders your success as a learner?
I get bored very quickly. Some of those who know would put that down to spending too much time online, but that's not the case. I've always been like it, especially when I was at school. If were fifteen now, I would probably have been labelled ADHD by now. I'm actually a slow learner. I imbibe facts and stuff at a fairly fast rate, but then I have to wait while I make sense of them. making sense doesn't seem to be something I have much control over. I need to wait while it kind of composts down, and then I can go to a place where I'm not going to be disturbed for an hour or two and sketch it out on a piece of paper. the best places for doing this, I find more and more nowadays, are cafés. There's enough clutter going on in the background to absorb the butterfly part of my brain, and nobody is going to interrupt me because nobody knows I'm there.

What do you do to get over that obstacle?
I have learned to pace myself and to be patient with the times when everything is whirling round in my mind with absolutely no shape or form.

What do successful learners do when they are not motivated?
Get really ratty.

What do successful learners do when they do not know the subject well?
The first thing I do is find out if there's a Dummies book on the subject. I go for something really simple so that I can get the whole picture, and then go for the details.

How does your attitude affect you as a learner?
I've learned persistence. I think that's the most important attitude I have; I just keep going.

To what do you attribute your learning success?
Am I successful? I'm 57 and my learning journey is nowhere near complete. In terms of certificates, yes, I am successful, but I know I am nowhere near the soul of the things I have been examining. I'll keep learning till the day I die. And maybe there are libraries in heaven.