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We Never go out of Learning Style

Three weeks into grad school and once again last night I was sleepless at 1 am, second guessing my ability to learn new things quickly and participate intelligently. Why can't I make connections quickly and speak my mind in class?

While walking to class this morning, I was re-listening to an episode of  This American Life called Is This Working on the role of punishment in the School to Prison Pipeline. It opens with a mother talking about her preschool age son being suspended unfairly. Even though I had heard this before, it brought me to tears.

It also made parts of what we have learned the last three weeks come together for me. Specifically, how Nodding's ethic of caring points to the shortcomings of some No Excuses schools to help students grow emotionally by learning from mistakes versus facing no-tolerance punishment. How do strict discipline practices in No Excuses schools fulfill their responsibility to complete the sense of caring within their students?

It isn't a thesis worthy connection, but it a question worth discussing.

So why couldn't I think of this during our class discussion on Noddings? Why did it take listening to a podcast (again) for me to think of something "smart" to say in class?


I think it took me being emotionally connected to the pieces to put them together. My feelings of empathy towards the mother enhanced my understanding. Has it seriously taken me 35 years to realize my learning style?  I am  not sure if I fit neatly on Gardner's scale... Is needing to feel a connection to the subject in order to derive meaning interpersonal or intrapersonal?

Another piece of evidence from class our first research class this summer: my results on the Learning Styles Inventory ranked me high in Reflecting and not Doing, which I would have thought.

My skewed kite.

Alright so there is no need to rush off to therapy, I am a functioning adult. Maybe reflecting can be a good thing? Sure I spend nights awake wondering, but reflection fuels my friendships and teaching.

But it turns out that grad school doesn't always give me time to reflect. Thus far in group assignments, I have felt like a weak contributor, rushed and confused. This isn't anyone's fault; we are given rich tasks to be done in short amounts of time. I think the problem is that I feel unable to participate well because I haven't had a chance to relate to and give meaning to the task. I need time to reflect, chit chat and brainstorm before diving in and there just isn't time.

I suppose knowing is the first step. I can't change everything to suit my every whim (aw man!) so I'll have to ask for time when possible and step it up when it's not.


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