Monday, November 27, 2006

Learning Styles

I've been loving this sign language class, it's really got me focused on learning the signs better than I have learned probably anything. Most of the time that I was in school, I was bored. It's not that I didn't want to learn, but that the information could not come at me fast enough to keep my attention. My mind liked to race 6,000 miles an hour and the teacher only talks so fast. Plus he would have to stop to answer a question about what he just explained. Think about it, even in college it's rare that more than 2 or 3 concepts or thoughts are covered in a class. Do you go around and only have 2 or 3 thoughts an hour? I have a ton, and when I get into a class where it's going slow, my mind takes off and goes in a different direction. Heck, even now, some of the best and most creative ideas I've had, were during a class about something else that was just going to slow for my mind. When I go to a class, I take a notebook. I'm not usually scribbling notes about what is being discussed, I'm writing down thoughts I don't want to lose about completely random subjects that have now got the time to surface while the teacher explains the conept a 3rd way because someone didn't get it the first two times. However, with sign language now, I'm not able to listen in while I write down my thoughts on another subject. If I don't see what's happening, I can't learn anything new, because I can't learn anything in this class by just listening. This has been a big benefit for me. Focused learning. I think back to all my classes that I've had in my life and wonder what they would have been like if they had enough information packed into their hour long sessions, and enough visuals to keep my attention. I feel like my mind needs some kind of 45 minute video packed full of information in graphs, speech, quotes, pictures and scenes being acted out. Something like that could be a very powerful learning tool for me. Until then, I'll have to stick to reading, which is my current fastest form of learning. Reading is great, at about 450 words a minute, I get to read quite a bit. Too bad, I can only read that fast when I'm fully rested, so most of the time I'm closer to 300. 300 words per minute still allow my mind to drift and I get frustrated because I can't remember what I'm reading. I'm not sure if it's that I can't remember because my mind is drifting, or because I'm not rested enough to remember, which is the why I'm reading slow in the first place. My learning style my whole life has just been listening, because school is not setup in such a way as to be fully interactive, it's boring. Sing language though, requires you to watch, and if you repeat the signs as they are being shown, and as others are doing them, then you get muscle memory to aid in remembering.

Have you ever paid attention to your own learning style? What is it that makes it easiest for you to learn? Do you like music or silence? Do you have a special place that you like to be to read or learn anything, or does it matter to you?

Me I like reading, but really like lots of information coming at me at fast speeds. Some programs on PBS are great, as are some of the programs on Discovery and History. The only problem is that it's hard to get into something when every 8 minutes there's a commercial about a bathroom coming on. PBS is better, but when their commercials "fund drives" come on, they stay for 10 minutes. By that point I've given up on whatever I was watching in the first place.