Grasping Knowledge

“Ah! I can’t seem to recall what it is about but I vaguely remember studying it in school.” How often has this happened to you or someone else?

Have you ever wondered if all those years spent reading, memorizing and learning was effective enough? Also, how much information was actually understood and stayed as a form of knowledge inside your head? Yes, it’s a given that our minds are not all great and perfect, but we are a uniquely intelligent species that if given the right approach, our brains can engage very well.

A Passive Listener You Are – yoda style

Actually not just you, probably almost all of us. Since young, the most common method in which we are given knowledge is by sitting in groups (classrooms/halls/lectures) and then listening to that one person (teacher/lecturer/tutor) go on and on about something that we most probably have almost zero clue about. While it is not hard to listen and make sense of their content, our lack of engagement with the topic leads to a minimal purpose of understanding knowledge… regardless of whether we understand it by the book or not! This passive style of learning is the root cause of why we often cannot grasp the knowledge given to us. We generally know the cold hard facts as what they are, but lack the inquisition of how and most importantly – why this knowledge is relevant to our daily lives.

Learning IS Diverse. And So Should Teaching Be

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Using a one size fits all technique rarely works in this complex “thing” called life – but how are we still running on a “read, recite, repeat” approach to almost all the things we teach? The nice way to call such learning methods would be to conveniently dub it as “classical” but honestly I feel it’s just plain old outdated. While it may have been effective in the past, society is definitely more demanding right now and that calls for a more complex approach to learning. Merely Knowing facts no longer suffices; we need to understand them and see their importance.

Addressing the Truth: One Size Does Not Fit All

You can’t teach a 12 year old with university materials for he/she cannot begin to understand; can’t educate the importance of technology to someone who is starving for he/she does not care; and most probably can’t instill the value of compassion in a warmonger for he/she is already blinded by bloodthirsty greed. The point I am trying to draw here is that learning, like many things in life in relation to humans, is extremely situational. There is no such thing as a sure-fire method when it comes to teaching and learning, hence the reason why we as a society need to acknowledge the importance of different approaches to learning.

Approaches to Learning

Once we recognize that the approach we use in learning is important, we can also identify that teaching something can be done in ways only limited by our imagination. To give a simple example, one can teach physics in countless ways… ranging from a boring recitement of the textbook in class, or perhaps a visit to a power plant to learn about electricity, maybe even conducting an experiment about magnetic polarities in a lab and so on… The ways one can learn is never limited to only approaching text, as humans can learn through discussions, research, reflection, actions and many more.

The whole idea to diversify our approach to learning is not only to make learning more interesting but to ensure that the knowledge is delivered in the most effective manner possible. Case and point:

Let’s say a classroom wishes to learn about human ethics towards the environment, using learning approaches that involves communication (exchanging ideas), collaboration (discussing and debating with others) and reflection (examining self thoughts and actions) would create a more suitable environment for students to engage and understand the subject more holistically.

In contrast, if the history of British colonization was the central topic of learning, using approaches that involve research (searching facts and sourcing information) and critical thinking (analyzing beyond the facts, learning cause and effect) would be a better way in order for students to understand the subject.

Summarizing It All…

Outdated methods that promote passive learning are no longer effective in a world that encourages change, engagement and creativity. Education should be flexible and more importantly, adaptable. Approaching this with a case by case basis attitude allows us to achieve higher efficiency in terms of knowledge perceived. Stagnant education methods aren’t helping at all and it is high time we see the importance in the different approaches to learning and the benefits they can bring us.

In our efforts to achieve better accessibility and effectiveness of education, BeED has developed the Learning Experience to include elements like the Micro, Macro and Conceptual Lens in order to provide the proper guidance that learners need to grasp knowledge better. On top of that, our simple 3 phased stages (Knowledge, Action and Reflection) promote analytical skills, engagement (be it with the environment or society) and reflection.

Find out more at www.beedtheworld.com


References

  1. “Approaches to Learning.” HighScope. HighScope Educational Research Foundation, n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.
  2. Bajak, Aleszu. “Lectures Aren’t Just Boring, They’re Ineffective, Too, Study Finds.” ScienceMag. American Association for the Advancement of Science, 12 May 2014. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.
  3. Christenbury, Leila. “The Flexible Teacher.” ASCD. N.p., Jan. 2011. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.
  4. “The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.” Approaches to Teaching and Learning (2005): n. pag. International Baccalaureate. International Baccalaureate Organization, 2014. Web. 8 Feb. 2017.

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