Posted: August 29th, 2013
Throughout life, all people are engaged in learning either at school, home or in social and official places. However, the ability of a person to retain what they have just learned depends on the individual capabilities as well as the style of learning that best works for them. Therefore, knowing our most productive learning style is the first step in retaining knowledge or what we learn in the long term (Riklan, 2007). People have different learning capabilities as well as capacities. However, people excel better in certain areas than others, and sometimes the factors preceding are not the learning capabilities but learning styles. In schools, I realized that some students would perform better under the instruction of a certain teacher than they would with a different teacher. Alternatively, some excel better in more complex subjects than in simpler ones. Everybody has a learning style under which one may understand and store information better (Sadler-Smith & Evans, 2006). For instance, some people will learn best through visual styles while others will learn best through listening to the teacher read from a book with others preferring using their hands, where something is demonstrated, and they do it on their own. The hands-on approach works best for me, and for what is taught through listening to the teacher, I prefer reading on my own later in the evening since I grasp very little through this method.
I learned what my best learning style was through my experiences in school especially in class and the subjects that I liked best. Throughout my schooling since the first grade, I had always excelled in practical lessons and visually explained lessons. When it came to theory lessons especially in theoretical subjects, I had to put extra efforts by reading on my own harder than practical lesson. I did not understand why, while some people enjoyed such lessons. One thing that made me hate the theoretical subjects was the fact that they were taught in the traditional way that involves reading from a book. Most often than not, I found myself losing attention during theoretical classes. Even today, I still find it hard o concentrate in class when I am required to listen to the lecturer teaching from a book through reading. When I am not doing anything with my hands when a teacher is teaching through the reading method, it becomes hard for me to pay attention for longer than 30 minutes without being drawn to something else around me. Mostly, I find myself doing other things such playing around with my pen and scribbling on my book. This was especially so during my junior or elementary school. However, today I have learnt to control myself through taking short notes as the teacher teaches to avoid distractions and loss of attention.
I realized that I excelled in arts and drawing and sciences better than other subjects did. It was easy for me to learn arts and drawing easily despite not being my favorite. My favorite subjects have always been sciences, especially biology in high school. In lower school, I passed in arts and drawing, and sciences easily without much effort unlike history, which was taught through reading history books. In high school, I dropped arts and decided to take up sciences, which I liked more. More so, in my favorite science, biology, I realized there were some units that I had to put more efforts to learn since they were taught in theory form. In learning sciences, I enjoy experiments more than any other part of the sciences, and diagrams ere quite interesting for me especially when it comes to drawing and naming them. Visual learning is also good for me since pictures remain in my head more vividly than through listening to a teacher. When I listen without visual aids such as diagrams and other visual aids such as slides, I tend to forget within a day, much of what the teacher said.
Throughout my lesson in history from junior school to part of high school, my teachers have always complained of my nuisances and lack of paying attention. They always caught me off guard doing other things than listening. Sometimes I could disturb other students and even try to pass written notes to other students during long theory lessons. I came to realize that I was poor in learning through listening. However, despite losing attention during such lessons, I still managed to pass my exams in all subjects. During my personal studies at home, I would do some in-depth reading in theoretical subjects. This boosted me further in my grades since without them I could have failed in theories such as history, which I still do not like even today.
In one history lesson before we took a continuous assessment test in high school concerning the civil war, the teacher caught me off guard perusing through the textbook viewing diagrams and pictures. He asked me a question on what he had just said which I failed. He highly doubted that I was ready for the test. Later that night, I went to my room after having supper and did an in-depth reading on the same topic. I did several questions to be sure I was ready for the assessment the next day. After the test, two days later, he brought the tests result, which I had passed, including a question that related to the topic he had concluded the previous day. This made me realize that listening was not my best learning style. Since was determined to pass all my exams, I relied much on learning theory through personal reading.
During science classes, I participated fully in the lessons, and the science teacher commended me on my participation and performance. I enjoyed the science lessons more than others since there were experiments to be done. In junior school, I remember the teacher called me in front of the class during most of the experiments to help out, which I really enjoyed. One memorable instance was during a biology practical lesson in the laboratory in high school. In this lesson, we were dissecting a rat in a study of the mammal systems and the teacher asked a volunteer to kill the rat. We were to use chloroform at that, through soaking cotton wool in it then placing it on the rat’s nostrils. Many did not agree to volunteer. I volunteered and killed the rat within no time. When it came to group dissections after the teacher’s demonstration, I did much of the dissecting in my group considering many were afraid of dissecting. Within no time, my group finished the lesson the first. Since then, I have always known that I am good with using my hands and writing down observations that I can see. In practical examinations, I remember my high school teacher commending me for scoring 93%. I also remember I was the first to finish my experiments about 30 minutes to time. I enjoyed watching the teacher demonstrate experiments in front of the class
On the other hand, in arts and drawing lessons, I enjoyed them since there were many drawing lessons. I still enjoy drawing even today, since it involves bringing out picture from the mind to a paper using hands with a pencil or brush. I found this to be interesting. However, despite enjoying the lessons, I still knew at the back of my mind that sciences were my favorite subjects since experiments meant seeing results from using your hands. This fascinated me. However, my drawing teacher in junior school was very interesting and made sure each lesson we made a drawing. This was also often in sciences, and I guess this is where I got more interests in drawing from. In sciences, we made drawings of apparatus that was used for experiments as well as diagrams of living things, such as animal organs and parts of a plant. In some way, what we did in drawing lessons was also done in sciences, giving me better drawing skills that I used even in sciences.
When it comes to my best time for learning, I realized that when I wake up early, I get problems concentrating in class. I find myself feeling down and tired by the time it is nine in the morning. I decided to try studying in the evening after super from eight since my mother served supper early. This worked out for me, especially considering that I did not mind disturbances while reading such as noise, loud music, people hanging out around and television. This made it easy for me to study from anywhere even with my younger sister playing around. I would study until eleven in the evening, and retire to bed after playing my video games for about half an hour. Then I would wake up at seven in the morning, and get ready for school in 45 minutes, and since the school was just 10 minutes drive from home, my mum would drop me as she went to work. This worked out better for me than waking up at around five in the morning to read before going to school.
In addition, I realized that I learn best around ten in the morning and onwards until four in the evening. Morning does not seem to work best for me unlike many people believe. I believed this was the same case with me since the teachers always suggested that the best learning time was in the morning when one is fresh and more relaxed. However, this is not the case for me especially now. In high school and elementary school, one had little choice when it came to the time one would prefer having some lesson. On to the contrary, with college, there are several sessions since there are not many subjects to cover. Therefore, one can chose morning, mid-morning, or afternoons. When I entered college and found this option, I realized that I liked lessons scheduled after break time. Therefore, I choose the mid-morning since I would have time to do personal study until late at night, which I like, and have enough sleep to be fresh in the morning. This works best for me.
To realize that that my learning style was tactile or hand-on approach, I checked out the description of a tactile learner and compared with my learning characteristics. According to Fleming (2012), a tactile learner is one who learns best through doing what is being taught after observation. She cites that tactile learners become bored in long lectures, which happens to me often if the is nothing much practical in a lesson. For me I like experimenting things to learn than listening as I said before, making me a tactile learner. After undertaking experiments, recalling them becomes easier than when it is explained by the teacher. In most cases, I remember things through my fingers than saying them out, especially if they are complex. In one instance, my younger sister asked for the pin code to my phone, which was seven characters long. I missed two numbers, which I did not realize. When I took the phone, it was just easy to move my fingers on the keys rather than saying out the pin in words. More so, I did not mind noise while studying since I never find it disturbing, rather, I enjoy even music while studying to avoid feeling bored since I do not concentrate for more than one hour. More so, I liked taking notes during long lectures to make sure I am busy in order to avoid losing attention.
In college, I have realized that I perform better and have more enthusiasm to learning than in high school and elementary schools. This was so since I knew my learning style, which led me to look for ways to make even theoretical lessons more interesting. Knowing once best learning style is the best way a person can enhance their learning without making efforts that may not show any improvements. Today I can talk with my lecturer over what he can incorporate in his or her lessons so that I can easily learn without loosing concentration considering it would look quite odd for a person in college to start passing notes of viewing diagrams or even playing around with the pen. Knowing that tactile is my best learning method has helped me since I know what I am supposed to do to get the best using my learning style, as well as how to make theoretical lessons look more practical through taking notes during lectures (Padgett, 2011). More so, with the lecturer knowing my learning style, he ensures that he uses an approach that does not keep me out of his lesson, and guides me to incorporate some study habits to compensate for other styles. Knowing ones learning style is very important. According to Riklan (2007), retaining knowledge is directly related to success in learning.
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