Learning about learning
People come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, with different personalities and perspectives. We also come with different styles of learning. Being aware of and learning these different styles/modes, is known as metacognition, "Meta" means beyond or above; "cognition" refers to every thinking that goes on inside your brain thinking, perceiving, and learning. Meta cognition is thinking about thinking, learning about learning. It's your ability to stand "above" your mental process-to observe them, and to take conscious control of them.
The physical arena is a magnificent learning environment. It is a school within which, through experimentation, we come to understand what causes us to expand, and what causes us to contract, what causes us to grow, and what causes us to shrivel, what nourishes our souls and what depletes them, what works and what does not.
Learning plays a big part in almost every way we develop. It influences everything we think, feel and do. Learning is not merely getting information about the world. It is also getting new views of our roles and potential in it. Learning helps, us grow in the understanding of things. As we grow from babies, we learn ethics, values and ways of behaving, by imitating others. We watch how others do things. If something works for them, we think that it might work for us. Therefore, we copy what is successful. A lot of times, imitation is better then going through this trial and error method. Learning by reasoning, derives from testing theories in our daily life, and in changing those theories based on the feed-back we get.
We have four learning style preferences for how we perceive and process information. (1) Concrete Experience ("Feeling"). Those who like to learn things that they feel are important and relevant to them. (2) Abstract conceptualization ("Thinking"). Those who like to absorb many concepts and gather lots of information on a new topic. (3) Reflective observation ("Watching"). Those who find it important to watch others as they learn. Like planning things out, and taking time to make sure that they fully understand a topic. (4) Active Experimentation ("Doing"). Those who enjoy hands-on activities that allows them to test out ideas to see what works. Which of these best reflects your preferred learning style? No matter what aspects of learning you've tended to prefer, you can develop the ability to use all four modes. Also, by at lease being aware of them, we will be able to better understand people who learning differently from us, decreasing the potential for conflict while increasing the effectiveness of our relationships. Remember that each approach presents an option, not the final word an learning styles.
When we learn, two things initially happen. First, we notice new information, and then we perceive and take in what's before us. Second, we make sense of the information, and we process it in a way that helps us understand what is going on, and make the information our own. When we learn anything new, our brains change and make new connections. However, when we do not learn any thing new our brain disconnects. This is why life long learning decreases our chances of Alzheimer's disease. We must always continue to learn about how we learn, and continue learning.
Jeorald Pitts/Lil Tone is the author of the book "To Bang or Not to Bang-A Book of Questions" now available at Borders and Amazon.com.
Mr. Pitts can be reached at