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kdnxdr
01-14-2007, 09:29 PM
I don't presume to sidetrack such a scholarly discussion. And, I beg forgiveness for attempting to participate even though I have no education to give me license.

After reading such a fascinating dialogue and reading all the links that have been supplied, I want to say thank you.

Also, I now have the question, "What is teaching?" And, "do we really teach?" And, "What is learning?" And, "do we really learn?"

When wondering about what is innate and what is "taught", I again wonder, "Are (we) designed, with templates in place, to catch, sort and store mentally.

Working with young children I have learned that children that are sensory deprived will usually have learning delays or disabilities. The more varied life experiences a young child has gives them an actual edge on learning (catching, sorting and storing) future exposure to information.

From what little I know, brain synapsis growth can be retarded by sensory deprivation. Synapsis is critical in transferring and working with information in the brain. I have read, not current material, that essentially the bulk of (our) brain synapsis is developed by the age of three and that is what we basically work with the rest of our life, with a couple or so of other minor growth windows.

I believe that it is those syanptical connectors that play a big part in the construction of poetry and all other coding systems.

imo

ColoradoGuy
01-14-2007, 09:56 PM
This question is important on its own, so I moved it to a new thread.

MacAllister
01-14-2007, 10:03 PM
kdnxdr,
That's a splendid question--and please don't ever apologize for participating. This stuff is hard for all of us, but so much fun and so important to wrestle with, you know?

There are a lot of things about teaching/learning that are deeply mysterious to me. Different people need to take different paths to learn the same thing, for instance. When you teach writing, and go to teach outlining, there will be a percentage or people who don't and can't really get there--I'm one of those.

So if I had to turn in an outline for an essay, I would write the essay first, then assemble the outline to turn in. I couldn't do it the other way 'round.

Puma
01-16-2007, 03:31 AM
I think it would be easier to follow what kdnxdr said (and continue on) if we had an idea what had preceded it. Could someone post the name of the thread this came from? Thanks! Puma

ColoradoGuy
01-16-2007, 04:10 AM
It came from next door, the welcome thread, which was sort of a mishmash, so I split this one off on its own.

sunandshadow
01-16-2007, 05:39 AM
I think learning is a mix of nature and nurture. To some extent high IQ, which is basically more efficient or effective learning, is genetic. Play instincts are controlled by hormones, the production of which is genetic. But, children learn differently in different cultures and different school systems and because of the different philosophies and techniques of their particular parents. A child who was never taught to read, for example, uses their memory differently than one who knows information can be stored in writing. A child raised in a culture with strong gender roles tends to ignore information about anything they consider not gender appropriate. Whether their teachers emphasize logic or mythic thought, conformity or individuality, creates an operant conditioning system which encourages the child to learn some things and not others.

Pat~
01-16-2007, 05:58 AM
I guess you could say that learning is what happens when new neural pathways are forged in the brain...and teaching is the stimulation of that occurence.

ColoradoGuy
01-16-2007, 07:38 AM
I guess you could say that learning is what happens when new neural pathways are forged in the brain...and teaching is the stimulation of that occurence.
And the more often new neural connections are used, the more "hard-wired" they become. That is what memory is: each time you use a particular set of pathways, they more established they become. Hence the memories that stay with us the longest are those that we "used" the most by thinking of them. As memory fades with age, one thus easily recalls events from decades before but can't remember breakfast.

Puma
01-18-2007, 03:14 PM
This may be a little off the train of thought, but, what about people who are self taught or just able to do things without any evidence the skill was ever taught or learned? What's in my mind is people who are able to play the piano by ear - would that be classified as a savant ability? The same question applies to many artists who can render an excellent facsimile of a person or cow at an early age. Being gifted in the arts is not always synonomous with tested high IQ (but it can be). What makes some people able to do things well that others can never be taught (or learn themselves) how to do? Puma

Cath
01-18-2007, 05:33 PM
Interesting question, Puma.

Honey and Mumford suggest that there are four main ways that people learn - activist (learning by doing/experimentation), reflector (learning by observing and relating to own experience), theorist (learning from theory) and pragmatist (those who learn to do something they need to do).

If you don't understand my explanation there's a clearer one here: http://www.campaign-for-learning.org.uk/aboutyourlearning/whatlearning.htm

They suggest those who learn best use all the different learning styles - although most people have a preference for one or two.

Which is a roundabout way of saying not everyone learns in the same way - and that some people prefer to be self taught (activists especially) while others prefer guidance.

I would argue that even in the case of these gifted few the skill is still learned in some way - they're just quicker at learning that particular skill.

Pat~
01-18-2007, 05:56 PM
This may be a little off the train of thought, but, what about people who are self taught or just able to do things without any evidence the skill was ever taught or learned? What's in my mind is people who are able to play the piano by ear - would that be classified as a savant ability? The same question applies to many artists who can render an excellent facsimile of a person or cow at an early age. Being gifted in the arts is not always synonomous with tested high IQ (but it can be). What makes some people able to do things well that others can never be taught (or learn themselves) how to do? Puma

It would seem that in the case of the savant, they were born with some of the neuropathways already established--but that is just my guess.

davids
01-18-2007, 06:35 PM
Just something perhaps away from the target intended. There must be no egocentristic behavior involved in either teaching or learning.

Cath
01-18-2007, 06:43 PM
It would seem that in the case of the savant, they were born with some of the neuropathways already established--but that is just my guess.

I agree to a point.

I find it difficult to believe that someone is born with an ability to do something. I do believe, however, that there must be certain factors present for the savant to exist.

As an example:

An artist needs an ability to see shape and color - which if-I-remember-correctly can be influenced by areas of the brain. However, I also think that individual needs exposure to art at a time when they are open to it.

My family are all pretty good at art - my grandfather was an architect and my grandmother is an artist. I grew up surrounded by people drawing and painting and creating things. So when I come to put paint to paper, I know where to put the blue paint and how dark to paint it. Not because I have an innate ability, but because watching and being exposed to art and artists all my life means the thought process about placement, color and shading are so well known they become instinctual. By which I mean that the thought process happen quickly at a sub-conscious level, not slowly at a conscious one (which happens when I try to play the piano :()

In the case of the savant, I think it's a case of nature and nurture - there are certain dispositions in place but there is also the required exposure for that individual to understand and conceptualise their experience/exposure in relation to those dispositions and translate them into action.

Pat~
01-18-2007, 06:54 PM
Yes, I agree that nurture or appropriate environmental stimulous would be the catalyst to bringing the savant's ability to light. But I think the pathways must already be there, in that they display the ability without any apparent "teaching" or environmental exposure to the skill. It's a fascinating subject, one which I haven't studied extensively, though I have studied gifted education...I'd be interested in looking into it some more.

kdnxdr
01-19-2007, 09:40 AM
It seems to me that a teacher's responsibility is to "bring out" what is already within the student. It's when the teacher becomes exclusively an indoctinator that there is no teaching taking place, only indoctrination.

If teaching within the western culture is motivated to teach for the purpose of designing a workforce for a predicted socital need, such as takes place in "tracking" students, then teaching/learning is not taking place.

When critical thinking is supressed by "teachers" then teaching is not taking place.

Machines can perform many socital tasks that do not entail critical thinking, that is why human workers are losing so many jobs in the workplace.

ColoradoGuy
01-20-2007, 12:35 AM
I put this link (http://www.ed.uiuc.edu/EPS/PES-Yearbook/97_docs/burbules.html)over in the other thread about hypertext and language, but it is an interesting discussion of what learning actually represents -- a balance between doubt and confidence. Go check it out. Here's a quotation from its final paragraph:

We need a more courageous, risky approach to teaching - a way of teaching and not a method - one that respects the educational importance of both doubt and confidence, both strangeness and familiarity, both being lost and finding a way. The teaching dialectic here is not a process of argument leading to higher and higher truths, but an ongoing engagement with difficulty - and, in this, to embark on a journey with an unknown, unknowable destination.

kdnxdr
01-21-2007, 09:55 PM
I've heard it said, and believe so myself, that teaching is a textbook industry. Corporations that make large sums of money influence what is being taught because each year they have new product to sell. The industry creates a need for itself by influencing what is being taught.

In several books I have read, the question is, "Who is monitoring the legislative/industry driven mechanism that affects every classroom in America?" What IS being taught and why?

I've also read that governmental/economic entities drive teaching and pedagogy for the purpose of supplying the needed workers of predicted industries so that learning institutions become factories where workers are produced.

Medievalist
01-21-2007, 10:03 PM
No corporate entity is influencing the way I teach Chaucer.