Why It Pays to Learn Things at Your Own Pace

Oftentimes, we are so driven by work assignments or tasks that we overlook the need to spice up our life with things that are something new to us. I don’t mean things that we could buy, or see, but those that somehow make us feel a tangible delight in learning something new. People often become more concerned with looking at trivial things like writing posts in Facebook, or taking photographs for posterity sake, going to the mall to entertain themselves with things they could buy or indulge in, or simply engaging in friendly conversations with close friends or colleagues at work.
But what really perks me up is when I discovered something new, anything that amazes me when I thought I could never accomplish it. Or, when you have come to learn something that is novel to your eyes, or senses. Sometimes, this fascination would last for a day or two, or for as long as your full attention is focused onto it for more than a couple of months. Then, when the fascination has evolved into something akin to addiction, or more like obsession, or just plain love of doing it, then learning has become lasting and intangible.
Every work I got into, from just a mere market research surveyor to becoming a full fledged Chemistry and Physics teacher, has taught me a lot of things that have moulded me the way I am now. I have come to cherish the tasks that I mastered, making them a meaningful part of my everyday concerns.
Somehow, there are things that were never a part of your common tasks. Like when you’ve come across a site that encouraged you to set a blogpost, or your very own webpage, learning becomes even more utterly fascinating and all-consuming.
When I decided to ‘scoop-it’ articles that interest me, I have discovered a myriad of ideas, technologies, apps and techniques that are worth trying. Learning something at my own pace is more satisfying as I am driven to explore what I could possibly do.
The pressure that I set in learning something is really of my own making. I continually strive to create something I’ve never done before. And it is precisely the pleasure of seeing what I’ve done – something that’s new to me, unknown to even my spouse – that stirs me to try even fancier ways, with the aid of tips I could cull from the internet.
This type of learning – more of a discovery of something new that is not really encouraged in my workplace, but somehow would prove useful to me in my very own work – adds zest to my mundane existence.

Week 1- Expectations from the course and ideas about the future of education?

I would like to be able to gain some insights about how some of my fellow course participants view about the future of education. I am particularly interested about getting ideas from most of the interview videos and creating reflective journals to take note of what I learn each week. Though I have started quite late in signing up for the course, I found the Clare’s talks with Dr. Fiony Rodger more of confirming my ideas about how we learn and examining what works and exploring other ways of learning. I pride myself for being an independent learning but I also welcome opportunities when I get to interact with my peers. The quick exchange of ideas and the emotive nuances that come in discussion make for interesting and far more lasting learning for me.

I see the future of education as to be more technology-driven. Internet will play a dominant role in furthering education both inside and outside of the classroom. Certain websites that will enable a teacher to register her class to function like a social network group, will be subscribed to in more countries around the world. Also, students will need to produce learning outputs that are in digital format and these will need to be uploaded or posted online. This kind of assessment would become a preferred model in some schools in the future.LEARNING-STYLES

How do I learn_Reflection 03102014

I always value learning. I find that even with just listening and looking closely at what my teachers were explaining in front of the class, so long as I stay focused, I could easily understand the concept she is expounding, or the technique she is demonstrating.

I became aware of my aptitude to learn things just by closely following what I hear and see when I was around seven years old. If my teacher tells a story or an anecdote to drive her point across during class discussion, I remember most of the details even better.

One successful learning experience I had was during my Chemistry class in my second year in college. My teacher had such enthusiasm in what she was teaching that I could easily comprehend the structures of carbon compounds. She had the class practice on writing the compound structures on our notebooks while she engaged in some storytelling of her past life as a university student. Some of my classmates could not do things all at the same time – writing structural formulae while keeping tuned to my teacher’s stories. I discovered that I could really do a task or two all at the same time. When I started teaching Organic Chemistry seventeen years later, I could very well recall the structures of carbon compounds, including the stories that my teacher told my class during my student years in college.

One unsuccessful learning experience that I truly wished I should have done something about was learning advance engineering math skills during my postgraduate studies in Materials Science and Engineering. I undertook my advance studies twelve years after I finished my bachelor’s degree. I was really miserable trying to re-learn the techniques in analytical calculus and advance mathematics in a short period of time, such that I thought of dropping the subject. I admit to have forgotten some of my mathematical skills, as I have never used them in my work as a planning officer for a government agency. I bought an engineering calculus book to help me but, with my work and family responsibilities, I just read through a mere five pages of the book.

I was feeling so anxious to gain some mastery of advance math that I would stay up so late for three consecutive nights each week, but I felt inadequate in truly understanding certain techniques. There was a compelling need for me to go through the basics in calculus again so I could work my way through advance math. I reasoned, however, that I just didn’t have the time to review, as I had to go to work every day of the week and devote some time to my family. I only enrolled for two night classes each week for my master’s study. Whenever I entered any of my classes in Advance Math and Analytical Chemistry 1, I felt uneasy trying to understand my teachers’ lectures as I could not exactly recall some of the key concepts in either of the named subjects.

In the end, I wished I could have pursued my advance studies right after my graduation from college. So many of the skills I learned in college have gotten buried – unused and obliterated from memory – a realisation that hit me when I have gone for my master’s study.

The key to continuous learning is utilising what you know so the skills you learned could be aptly remembered when called for. That is, if you decide not to change career, or engage entirely in a different type of work.

This unsuccessful learning experience didn’t affect me that much through the years. I never get to complete the first semester of my master’s study when I decided not to pursue it any longer, thinking that I would not fare well in the subjects I enrolled.

I later decided to change my career as a teacher, rather than maintaining a profession which requires my training as an engineer. I returned to university three years after discontinuing my master’s study (in Materials Science and Engineering), obtained some teaching credits so I could apply for a license as a secondary science teacher. My knowledge in Math, Chemistry and Physics just came in handy when I became a teacher of these subjects in high school.

I never regretted becoming a teacher after engaging in many different types of work. I found my niche, after a lot of introspection and re-evaluation of my options.