Taco lessons for life

Life lesson #223

I had a similar conversation on separate occasions with two of my kids following some unwise choice both had made. It went something like this:

“There are three kinds of people in the world. There are people who learn the easy way. There are people who learn the hard way. And there are people who just don’t freaking learn. [I confess the original language was harsher—but it was a really unwise choice he or she had made more than once.] You’ve already shown that you are not the first kind. It remains to be seen which of the other two you are.”

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Knowing and “knowing” are not the same

doctor smoke

I just came from the grocery store. You see people you know there if you live in a relatively small town. As I was checking out, I saw one of Hannah’s respiratory therapists outside the front of the store. I knocked on the window to get her attention, and she reacted, but didn’t seem sure what the noise was or where it came from.

She then put a cigarette to her lips and pulled a long drag.

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The most overlooked prep time for speakers

mayan_calendar
Looooong experience

Austrian journalist Karl Kraus once famously defined a journalist as someone who has nothing to say but knows how to say it. Journalism students have a tendency to fill a college career with nothing but journalism courses, which can lead to exactly the situation Kraus described. That’s why schools accredited by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication require students to take no more than a certain number of hours in journalism courses–they need to have something to write about when they graduate.

Speakers have related challenges, in that hardly anyone speaks simply to speak. You must have something to speak about. Continue reading “The most overlooked prep time for speakers”

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Stop worrying about learning styles

Regular readers here know I am somewhat skeptical of research about learning styles. I am far from alone on this.

Regular readers also know my frequent theme about the need for teachers and speakers to go beyond serving merely as information transmitters.

You can imagine my delight when I stumbled across a post that combines both of these, although you have to look several paragraphs into Getting Over Learning Styles to see the connection. Continue reading “Stop worrying about learning styles”

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The experience of learning

My friend and colleague Kat Bailey at APSU has some great observations on Lessons from the Game Culture for Education. For instance:

[E]xperience is the heart of learning, it is the best teacher. Flat knowledge in books or lectures are leap points for learning, but activity is the key to success in the learning cycle.

This shows something of why Second Life can be an important factor in teaching a variety of subjects, but it obviously goes much more broadly than that. It’s not so much that Kat gets at a reason to use games and game environments in teaching, but rather that she gets at the very nature of learning.

Here’s another one:

Too often, we define learning by objectives, assessments and due dates. The experience of learning can be described but not explained by statistics.

Amen, sister! Preach on! My take: this is not anti-assessment. Just a recognition that the really important stuff goes beyond assessment.

There’s an old story about a drunk searching for something around the base of a street light. A passerby says, “What are you looking for?”

The drunk says, “I lost my watch.”

So the passerby helps look for a bit, and then says, “Are you sure you lost it around here?”

“No, I lost it over there in that alley.”

“Then why are you looking for it over here under the streetlight?”

“This is where the light is. It’s dark over there.”

If we focus only on the stuff that is relatively easy to measure, we are going to miss the important stuff.

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