Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Learning Process: A Self-Evaluation

About, a month ago I took about 3 weeks worth of workshops. The first two weeks were spent learning all about Carl Orff's model of learning music. I am officially Orff Certified in Level 1. The third week I spent at Teacher Academy at Elon University learning about Mindful Instruction. Let's just say, I know more about the brain now than I ever cared to know.

My Orff Level Certification totally pulled me out of my comfort zone. However, this training was better than anything I ever received as part of my Bachelor's or Master's requirements. I came back home with fresh and new ideas that I can't wait to experiment with on the children when school starts. I have a lot more resources (games, etc.) and totally different take on where to get ideas from. I think it really dawned on me after taking this class, how much I have failed to think for myself. What I've taken with me most from this experience is that is no better resource than yourself. I have often struggled to find materials for my classroom that relates to what I'm teaching. I have finally come "out of the box" to realize I can create new songs, materials, and games of my own. It really disturbs me that I have limited my teaching in so many ways, but better late than never.

My course on "Mindful Instruction, Using Brain Research to Redesign Classroom Instruction," was more open to different types of Educators. I learned about the different parts of the brain, and their functions, the different emotional states one might experience, and explicit and implicit memory. My fellow teachers and I were presented with different strategies of dealing with our students' types of learning and their emotional states. We learned a bit about motivation and changing the environment to help students proccess information. All and all, this week plus the two weeks prior was a lot of information for me to process. (Besides, about 99% of all information entering through the senses is immediately dropped from the brain. For ADHD or ADD, it is about 75%. The brain is more like a strainer than a sponge.)

It is only until today, I can draw it all together for some kind of conclusion from my workshops, a sort of self-evaluation of my learning process throughout life. You see, I was reading from my email list this morning regarding a discussion on auditory vs. visual learning, and playing by ear or sight-reading music. I have come to understand some of my personal learning struggles and strengths. Here are some of my observations:

I am a very visual learner. I helps me when learning a new word to see it spelled out along with hearing it. I do fairly well in sight-reading music, but not perfect. I used to be very good at math all throughout school. I occasionally helped classmates with their Algebra problems. I am a very organized person, and like things to be in their place. It is very hard for me to read, study, or concentrate when I have noise.

As for my struggles: I have a very short-term memory. I loose things a second after I let go of them. I struggle with vocabulary and new terminology. I struggled with playing by ear in Orff class. I can't do it in a short amount of time, but can eventually accomplish it. I struggle with thinking outside the box.

Which is my more dominant side of the brain? the left or the right?

As a teacher, it has come to my attention that we do pass down to much information by just handing it down. We do not allow or trust children to explore in a school environment, in which they need it the most. I struggle with playing by ear because I was never persuaded to do so, and have not put that into a lot of practice. Students fail to be creative and expressive because they are not given the opportunity.

I am glad that I chose a profession in which I can use both parts of the brain. I rely on the visuals and symbols, yet I can improvise and be creative. I can use my prior knowledge to memorize a piece and play it perfectly, yet I can sight read a difficult piece and fight my way through the new challenges.

What are your learning obstacles, strengths, and weaknesses?

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home