Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Self-discovered learning

“The only kind of learning which significantly influences behaviour is self-discovered or self-appropriated learning- truth that has been assimilated in experience.”Carl Rogers, Humanistic psychologist

"Too often students are given answers to remember than problems to solve." Roger Lewin, British Anthropologist

Self discovery definition: the ability of an individual to learn through personal experience and natural exploration, often motivated by curiosity. Self-discovery can also be prompted by an external teacher such as a parent, or school teacher. Through the active use of our senses, and the ability to make mental connections, learning takes place.

The life of a child before he enters school is full of learning, Most of this learning is through exploration and experience. The child notices everything. In most cases this learning is encouraged by parental involvement as cheer leaders/motivators.

There is pleasure in being praised.This pleasure serves as a motivator for the learner which encourages further exploring and discovery.

If the child is encouraged to experiment, and exercise his mental processes by asking questions and connecting facts, his learning will go far beyond what just a teacher can teach him. The child is actually teaching himself(Inner teacher).

By the time a student enters high school he depends on others(teachers and books) to provide for him all the information he has to learn. Unlike learning from lecturer and reading, experiential learning is retained at a very high rate.

Educational professionals would do well to develop ways to maintain a high level of self-motivating educational materials and projects for the classroom that will encourage hands on learning and real life interaction experiences with the subject of the class.

By setting up a safe, trusting and comfortable environment it allows learning to take place. Without feeling safe it is hard for students to feel comfortable to change and grow which enables real deep long lasting learning to occur.

Trust allows participants to take intellectual risks and share all thoughts.
The facilitator needs to bring in that learning is
not about success or failure but about what you learn from it yourself.

A rough plan and direction for the learning session provides structure for participants who are not used to self learning which can allow more and more freedom as they become more used to self-discovery.

Teaching steps such as setting broad goals and learning objectives help to keep rewards coming.
Providing responsibility for learning sessions enables participants to feel a sense of ownership.

Self directed learning is all about the adventure of discovering how the world works and how it effects the individual learner.

An example of how we promote self-discovery: “I remember a coworker walking by my desk one day, handing me a pen and saying, "Here, play around with this and see what you think." It was a calligraphy pen. I had no idea what a calligraphy pen was for, but I played around with it and discovered it to be very unique. I discovered that writing with this pen produced a whole new world of lettering styles.It was fun, and motivated the creative person that is within me. I have now been doing calligraphy for about 30 years.” Ernest Smartt

When we place something in front of a student with which they can interact with, or manipulate, or even just tap into their imaginations about, we will stimulate self-learning.

without a teacher, students will step up to the plate and figure out what they need to know. Students will have pride in what they have learned.

They will ask questions and be curious because they feel good about having some control of what and how they learn.
By offering students opportunities to experiment and discover for themselves
how things work, what they do, and ways to use them, we open a whole new world for them.

Curiosity results in learning. The more we can raise the curiosity level in students, the more we will allow them to learn by self-discovery.

If we are careful, we can still motivate self-learning by not giving them all of the information.

By asking questions that will require the child to discover by experience and experiment we encourage self-discovery. Self discovery contributes to feelings of positive self-worth.

When the child feels good about his experience, he will want to have another such experience. Teachers need to be pro-active and encourage questions from the students. Encourage further exploration by the students as they discover new information individually and in groups.

While a grading system helps the teachers and administrators know how well the student is doing, it tends to cause students to compare themselves with each other, leaving some to be discouraged.

What is the reason for teaching and school? Is it to learn and discover new things or just pass on passive information?

In my opinion the deeper and enjoyable learning is more important that knowing how well the student is doing. If a student is needing help they will ask for it. Teachers should be facilitators in discovery rather than forcing what the teacher thinks the students should learn. If a child needs to learn something then they will seek to learn this naturally we don't need to worry about teaching them everything, teaching them how to read and write and then they will teach themselves through facilitator support.

Students hate learning information that they see as being useless so why do we force them? When they won't take it in or remember it.
Students learn things that matter to them and that support how they behaviour within the world.

With the self-discovery method of teaching or learning, it might be best to have
another system of rating, if only informal.

Let the children rate each other's work based on positive criticism from peers. Students do need to learn how to contribute in a critically positive way to the education of their peers. It needs to be understood by students and facilitators that all thoughts are valid.

Social interaction in the classroom promotes self-discovery. Have students ask each other the questions that they were unable to answer as they worked through own projects. Allow them to realize that they can actually help each other to learn. This gives them a feeling of accomplishment, both as individuals and as a social group.

Learning goals stimulate self-learning. If learning is just for grades, students turn it off quickly. They need a reason to learn that will effect how they connect to the world around them.

Like tree seedlings participant learning is enriched by growing in a nourish environment and nutrients such as inspiring people giving talks to students and sharing experiences.

"Every success grows from an idea that has been fertilized with thought, and nourished with hard work." We must both plant ideas into the students minds, and even better, allow for them to express their own ideas. Sprinkle those ideas with a few thought provoking questions, and open the workshop of their minds so they can bring their ideas to life, the result will be success.

I realize that I have lost interest in being a traditional teacher. The act of teaching seems more about the teacher succeeding over real learning by participants. When this happens I find that the results are damaging as it causes the individual to distrust his own experience, and to stifle significant learning.

As a consequence, I realize that I am only interested in being a learner, preferably learning things that matter, that have some significant influence on my own behavior.

It is very rewarding to learn, in groups, in relationships with one to one, or by oneself.

It is important to question our own thoughts and contemplate and question what we are learning.

I find that another way of learning for me is to state my own uncertainties, to try to clarify my puzzlements, and thus get closer to the meaning that my experience actually seems to have.


Carl Rogers Solutions to education:

a.) Such experience would imply that we would do away with teaching. People would get together if they wished to learn.

b.) We would do away with examinations. They measure the inconsequential type of learning.

c.) We would do away with grades and credits for the same reason.

d.) We would do away with degrees as a measure of competence partly for the same reason. Another reason is that a degree marks an end or a conclusion of something, and a learner is only interested in the continuing process of learning.

e.) We would do away with the exposition of conclusions, for we would realize that no one learns significantly from conclusions.

Carl R. Rogers, Freedom to Learn (1969)


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