Teacher,

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What has, or would have, helped you to learn better?

There are so many educational paradigms – industrial, constructivist, instructivist, technological to name a few. All defined by a set of characteristics, designed to encourage the process of learning.

I want to remove the labels, take learning out of a box and simply find out what real experiences have helped you to learn better, or would have helped you. I will give an example, I always hated English at school, I was OK at it but it bored me. Then one year I got a teacher who was so passionate about the study of English that I just sort of caught her bug, well at least for the time she was my teacher. I learned more in 1 year in her class (I was fortunate to get her 3 years straight) than the rest of my schooling years put together. So I would conclude that an inspiring, passionate teacher enhances the learning process now and into the future – for me at least.

If you think about it we are all experts – we have all either taught something or someone and we have all been taught by someone. I just want to know what things happened to make you learn successfully or what things would have helped you better.

  • Aug 6 2012: I think that our education now in England is more to do with our creative side and our new ideas. What I don't think we're focusing enough on is the basic knowledge that we need in the first place in order to gain new, intuitive ideas. I think that it's all a bit too relaxed and we need a tighter education system, because it's all well enough to bring things such as iPads into our learning, but because of this students would rather play games and socialize instead of supposedly being inspired by what technology can do these days. So I think sometimes we need to go a bit more old school so we don't take things for granted but enjoy learning at the same time.
  • Aug 7 2012: I think learning in group, like telling to each other what's actually in the textbook and then discuss it is a very good way to memorize things.
    I think that lectures in college or even high school should do this more in classes. Just let them read a part of the textbook and then discuss that part classical.
    This way of study helped me through some subjects in College
  • Aug 7 2012: A good question. At school I had grat difficulties with languages. I studied Spanish and really didn't know how to cope with it. And that's why I tried different games, like scrabble in Spanish ( http://playscrabble.net/ ) or crosswords. It all helped and now I can speak it pretty well.
  • Aug 7 2012: My econ teacher inspired me to learn more. Mr.Thompson. Most of his teaching is not from the text book but from his business experiences. He worked for various of companies before going into teaching.
  • Aug 6 2012: Healthy eating and drinking and good sleep.
  • Aug 6 2012: Amanda,

    I too had a an advanced composition class that did more for me in a semester than all my other English classes combined. The format was simple. Learn about a style of paper, or technique for two days, write a paper using the style, teacher graded it over the weekend, peer review on Monday, rewrite with comments, final submitted following Wednesday. We did this for about 10-12 papers. We were graded on initial product, critics of other papers, and final submission. It was a lot of work, but it provided me more confidence than any other writing class. The technique of being included in the review process and being given the opportunity to correct your mistakes and learn form them was excellent. 10-12 papers in one semester in a high school class was a lot of work, but in retrospect it was time well spent.

    I think we need to place more emphasis on things like learning how to learn, independent study, building one's own knowledge management system, learning how to mentor, and experienced based learning. A trip to the museum means a lot more if you prepare for the trip with some advanced study, and follow-up with a review of what you have learned. A trip to a government meeting means more if you know what issues are to be discussed, and the role of the meeting in the other overall process. A trip camping means more if you are going to learn how to cook or build a tower as part of the outing. This type of learning takes the combined effort of parents, educators, and students, and involves trust, responsibility and accountability.

    I think this sort of learning experience is the next frontier. Perhaps the internet can be used to help make it happen.
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    Aug 6 2012: education delivered as entertainment always holds peoples' attention.

    i don't believe we are all experts but we are certainly all enthusiasts about something.

    that is the button to push as a teacher, which is why teaching to assessment fails at every turn.

    we should be teaching children, not methods or process (like doctors should treat the patient not the disease).
  • Aug 6 2012: I want to have a room of my own , then I can think deeply without distraction and I will have more freedom to make plans of my study .
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    Aug 6 2012: The only thing that has really helped me learn over the years is experience. I remember in High School learning about the American Civil War. The teacher was really passionate about the subject and would draw battle lines on the board. I got so bored I couldn't stand it. This general... that battalion,,, this city... that year. It was mind numbing.

    Then the following semester I had the opportunity to go on a history tour for credit. Two weeks and you could get an entire history credit. I saved over the summer to go.

    Then we got to see Gettysburg, and we got to see where Pickett's charge actually happened. There was a lot of historical information available. It made all the difference in the world. A trip to Washington DC is worth so much more than a government class.

    Many students cannot make the trips but I try as much as possible to share my experience. Instead of drawing on the board...
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    Aug 6 2012: I would have been able to focus more on my studies at university if I hadn't worked alongside that as much as I did. this challenges arises also for some high school students whose financial or home obligations give them little opportunity to focus on academic work.
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    Aug 6 2012: Pretty much a lot of things that didn't have to do with textbooks. I don't like forcing myself to memorize some stuff just so I can forget them and never use them again. I also don't like it when a bunch of definitions are thrown at me at once. That takes me longer to understand. I want laymen's terms when first starting to learn something new. Then we can get technical.

    Oh, I also like analogies that I can see/relate to. That helps me better understand definitions and concepts.

    Animations, concise explanations, cool technological black magic are also bonuses :)