Feb 092014
 

Child with learning difficultiesThis week I have been asked to share a memorable learning experience and based on this weeks readings, explain why it was memorable. The problem is… I don’t remember much about my “learning” back in the day. It wasn’t a pleasant experience, not many ah ha! moments or warm fuzzy revelations carefully engineered by some master pedagogue. Quite frankly my grade school experience was a struggle filled mostly with misery and frustration.

When I got this assignment the first thing I did was dig up the first and last Psych Ed assessment I ever had done. It was done way back in 1987 and I was trying to get into University. Doors were repeatedly shut in my face because I simply didn’t have the marks to get into any institution of higher learning. Then one day, I stumbled upon a research project at the University of Alberta that was looking at Learning Disabilities. It was this project that got my foot in the post secondary door. The only condition was I had to be a part of the LD project and they would let me take one course, Psych 100.

This psych ed assessment was the first step in establishing that I wasn’t the moron that grade school had led me to believe. It was a relief in many ways, as it pointed out some significant deficits in my short-term memory, auditory learning  and visual discrimination. Learning about why I didn’t “lern nun so gud” was an educational turning point for me.

Going through the materials for this weeks assignment made me realize that the past 40 years of my formal “learning” has all revolved around people and events; I guess this would be considered episodic memory I suppose. I remember in pictures not facts or details. I remember how to physically do things and demonstrate it but could never verbally explain it.  I can’t remember passages from books or poetry, I struggle with my times tables to this day, I forget most of what I read almost immediately after my eyes pass over it… This is my learning life and this has been this way for as long as I can’t remember.

I wish I could give you all an example of some wonderful learning experience I had over the years but quite frankly there hasn’t been any, or perhaps I should say if there has been I don’t remember it. All I know is that somehow information got into the vacuous space between my ears we call a brain.

The only thing I can share with you that I feel has shaped my learning over these many years comes from my very patient and understanding parents.

  1. People don’t care why you can’t do something they just want it done.
  2. University requirements are what they are. Meet them or don’t.
  3. All we expect is that you do the best you can.
  4. You can always make a living at the end of a shovel.
  5. If all else fails be nice, kind and helpful.

That is it… Nothing to see here now move on.

 

 

 

  One Response to “EDCI 335 – A Memorable Learning Experience”

  1. Keith, your post makes me wonder how many students are told that they “learn nun so good” without giving them a chance to demonstrate their learning in a way appropriate to them. It seems that too many students aren’t given opportunity to shine in their own way because we have to “prepare” them for university by using an archaic grading system.

    I hope that teachers are changing the practice of “learn this my way or else” so that each student can flourish.

    I, too, have episodic memories that flash as pictures in my subconscious. It’s those experiences that shaped my view of what school was for me…and how I wanted to teach similarly or differently to the teachers I had. It is a shame that your memory of school is so negative…and what a testament to your inner fortitude for figuring out a way to make it possible for you to get a university degree!

    I hope your memories you are creating of #tiegrad are more positive than those of your grade school experience.

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