Saturday, July 6, 2019

CURMUDGUCATION: Eight Weeks of Summer: Learning Conditions

CURMUDGUCATION: Eight Weeks of Summer: Learning Conditions

Eight Weeks of Summer: Learning Conditions

This post is week 4 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators.

I'm continuing this challenge, answering the questions from the viewpoint of my old non-retired self. Here's this week's prompt:

What are optimal conditions in which to learn, for you, and for students?

For me, it's mostly a matter of opportunity and independence. Probably the biggest single thing I learned in college was how to teach myself, and I was born just in time for the biggest explosion of self-education resources in the history of the world. But that's as an adult, and the biggest advantage that adults have is that we rarely have to learn anything we don't want to learn.

I've always said-- I could probably learn conversational Chinese, but the time and effort involved, compared to the actual benefits, is such that I choose not to. But I'm an adult, so I can make that choice and nobody thinks worse of me. However, if a teenager made that same calculation and choice about my English class, then we might call him lazy or worse. Not that I think teens are necessarily good judges of what they do or don't need to learn for life; just that adults have a type of freedom when it comes to learning that students generally do not.

As a student, what I most needed was a safe space, security. If I spent the whole class time worrying about how other students or the teacher might react if I said X, if I had to carefully watch every single word that came out of my mouth, then it was hard to have much mental energy left to spend on paying attention to the actual lesson.

Students need to be able to work on the content-- what are adjectives, what is Hamlet's motivation, CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Eight Weeks of Summer: Learning Conditions