I’m Just Curious: The way we learn

by Debbie Walker

Yes, I have been into my books again. Okay, now give me a chance, quit rolling your eyes. It might be interesting. (I can hope!) Make a cup of coffee or tea and sit for a spell.

This morning I found a book that I hadn’t seen for a while. The title is The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. It has to do with how we all learn in different ways. I wish our schools were able to teach to the individual style needed for each person. How incredible that would be.

The portion I really liked was in the chapter, “How Do We Understand.” The man ‘speaking’ was a police officer who helped investigate auto accidents. One thing he discovered was that three people could be looking at the same scene yet they will see different pieces of the same scene.

One witness gives an accurate description of the cars involved, the year, make, and models (Ken). Another witness could tell nothing about the vehicles yet could give an accurate description of each driver (me, of course, I am going to talk about the emotions involved, too!). The third witness would tell all about the accident and how it appeared to happen (also Ken, but he wouldn’t talk about how it “appeared,” it would be a “fact”).

Okay look at it this way: we are all looking through different windows (our mental view). My window is a mess; I even have “clings” on it. Ken’s windows are crystal clear because he needs to be able to “see” clearly. I can see past the “clings” easily.

Ken would look through my window and be extremely frustrated. Ken is a retired truck driver and mechanic. The mechanic part is amazing. He’d take those motors all apart and put them together again. I might be able to get the thing apart but I believe in trying to put it together again I would have parts left over.

It becomes obvious we would need different styles of teaching to learn the same information. Think about all the frustrations you may have felt in teaching your child, a sibling or a co-worker, or sharing with your partner, does it make more sense to you now? I don’t think many of us are thinking about “the different window theory” when we are feeling frustrated and can’t get a point across or can’t understand something being explained. Try to remember there are different windows.

The person you thought of as “impossible” to teach or the person you want to understand you or… Remember about the windows.

I’m just curious if you will understand ‘the way they learn’ and be able to use the information in this New Year. Contact me with questions or comments at dwdaffy@yahoo.com. Check us out on line. Thanks for reading!

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