After 17 years in public education and always battling the artificial nature of that education, I arrived at my current philosophy – the more aware we are of our beliefs, the more we will see them manifest.
It all boils down to three stages that describe the way we naturally learn; whether consciously or subconsciously. Let me sum this up in the following points.
1) Collecting Knowledge
As an educator, I know that we as learners must be motivated. Curiosity sums up this concept. The question is this: what techniques might we use to develop or increase curiosity?
How can we actually grab hold of all that information? How can we make something of the thoughts and questions that we have about life?
The term intrinsic motivation describes the desire to learn that comes from within oneself, a natural curiosity that can definitely be engendered and formed using specific learning tools. A natural starting point, then, is to list all the questions that you can brainstorm about whatever you desire to learn.
Time yourself and spend at least one minute on each question asking: who, what, where, when, why and how. Then record, annotate, and respond to those things that answer to or relate to your questions.
2) Connecting Ideas
The second phase of learning engages our ability to organize all of that collected information. We must have ways of organizing information in order to see connections that allow us to make meaning of it all.
When we have interactively collected information, then we have the means to refine some guiding questions that will lead us to further discovery. When we are collecting, we are analyzing information, if we are truly collecting it.
Now, when we make connections, we are synthesizing ideas; we are discovering. This leads us to form opinions and draw conclusions – ideas, that are informed and vital. Most of the time those ideas are so awesome that we want to express them, which leads us to the next phase.
If we have engaged in a task with curiosity, and we have enthusiastically made discoveries, this is the phase where we get to communicate not only our discoveries, but the way that we have thought about and/or implemented our discoveries.
At the very least, we have created new knowledge for ourselves! Our demonstration of learning may involve artistic expression through pictorial, musical, or kinesthetic means, or perhaps we will express ourselves in some written genre. Whatever it is, it will be unique.
That’s it! With this awareness as we pursue our interests, we may allow ourselves to consciously move through these phases in order to fully experience the joy of true learning – an education that we obtain because we intrinsically desire it. For most of us who love to discover not only ourselves, but to explore the world and Universe, this gives us a framework of awareness.
Engage yourself in the Connect, Collect and Create process and be inspired by the outcomes!