Best method of teaching/learning?

The school experience. School related queries, discussions, and stories that aren't specific to a subject.

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RutabagaTheWarrior
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Best method of teaching/learning?

Postby RutabagaTheWarrior » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:40 am UTC

Throughout school I've learned different things different ways. I've learned from school, by teaching myself, and by doing stuff in a small group.

I've forgotten almost everything I learned from school except for a very few useful concepts, but it feels like those concepts should take much less time to learn. I learned faster and remembered stuff longer by teaching myself. But the best method of learning seamed to be when I was taking scuba diving classes. The classes usually consisted of a few quick lessons from the instructor, then scuba diving to test the learning. I still remember pretty much everything from that class, even though I haven't gone diving in a while.

Why do I remember almost everything from scuba class and not other classes?

RaptorRider
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Re: Best method of teaching/learning?

Postby RaptorRider » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:34 pm UTC

RutabagaTheWarrior wrote: Why do I remember almost everything from scuba class and not other classes?


You remember what you learned in scuba diving class for mulitple reasons. You were most likely interested in scuba diving, increasing your attention and you acted upon what you learned, cementing the knowledge over the times that you practiced it.

RutabagaTheWarrior
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Re: Best method of teaching/learning?

Postby RutabagaTheWarrior » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:02 am UTC

RaptorRider wrote:You remember what you learned in scuba diving class for mulitple reasons. You were most likely interested in scuba diving, increasing your attention and you acted upon what you learned, cementing the knowledge over the times that you practiced it.


Maybe. But I'm not sure those are the most important reasons.

It's impossible to prove but I believe I was as interested in all other school subjects as I was in scuba diving. Though, I was slightly ahead in those subjects, which might have made the teachings seem redundant. And cementing my knowledge over time from acting on things I learned could also be said about any school subject or any action that builds off of previous experience.

I think it had more to do with being in a small group that was also interested in the subject. It could also be that the way I was practicing in scuba was more relevant both to the stuff I was learning and life that I knew of in general than the way I was practicing in school.

So I think it's mostly that the practice was more realistic and less redundant, and that there were few enough people that I couldn't get lost in or hide in the crowd.

Vangor
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Re: Best method of teaching/learning?

Postby Vangor » Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:17 am UTC

Partly this is due to increased motivation. By choosing to pursue scuba training and wanting to master the concepts presented to successfully dive you have tapped two of the biggest sources of intrinsic motivation, autonomy and mastery. Intrinsic motivation is a significant predictor of depth and retention.

Further, you would likely be applying the knowledge which will allow you to learn in several ways. Instructors provide you instructions verbally, you read instructions from texts, you watch others use the instructions, you use the instructions, and you have a novel experience. Plus, there are probably few extraneous facts and such taught during diving courses whereas others are often bogged with things you will never again encounter. This is because others might encounter those things.

As to the idea of how long concepts in school should require to learn, depends partly on where within school you mean. Education systems sadly do not seek to provide such a learning environment, however, which means this could generally be reduced. Still, until about fourteen, in my experience, teaching anything amounts to teaching of tacit knowledge which is done through a plethora of examples and repeated use.

RutabagaTheWarrior
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Re: Best method of teaching/learning?

Postby RutabagaTheWarrior » Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:47 am UTC

Vangor wrote: Plus, there are probably few extraneous facts and such taught during diving courses whereas others are often bogged with things you will never again encounter. This is because others might encounter those things.


I'm not entirely sure what you mean by this. Do you mean scuba courses teach facts that are more related to general past and future life, whereas other courses do not, therefore learning is easier?

If so, I'm not sure if I agree with that statement even half of the time. In physics, the facts taught can immediately relate to many things in life, however the method of teaching seams to be removed from real life. I don't think looking through a textbook for equations to solve a problem in mastering-physics that obviously matches those equations is close to actual physics research. There are some classic problems that are closer to reality, such as an egg-drop, but those are trivial. Exercises that are both closer to reality and challenging could be things like building a laser, rocket, or doing research in general for physics, or building an intelligent agent, a website, or an efficient method of computing... anything, for computer science and programming. But Exercises that are both closer to reality and relatively challenging seem to be reserved for graduate school or late undergraduate school.

Vangor
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Re: Best method of teaching/learning?

Postby Vangor » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:28 pm UTC

RutabagaTheWarrior wrote:In physics, the facts taught can immediately relate to many things in life, however the method of teaching seams to be removed from real life.


Being related to life is not the same as encountering them, at least within my comment. Knowing how internal combustion engines function is related to life, but few people will encounter the need to reactivate such information. This is what I am meaning. All of you within dive school will use the majority of information given to you (hopefully except for emergency procedures), but of most courses in most levels of school the students will not use more than a small set of knowledge.

RutabagaTheWarrior wrote:But Exercises that are both closer to reality and relatively challenging seem to be reserved for graduate school or late undergraduate school.


We seem to be well in agreement on what is related versus what is encountered, just using different language.

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Jorpho
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Re: Best method of teaching/learning?

Postby Jorpho » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:30 am UTC

RutabagaTheWarrior wrote:Exercises that are both closer to reality and challenging could be things like building a laser, rocket, or doing research in general for physics
How in the heck are things like building a laser or rocket "closer to reality" ? Those involve highly specific knowledge that has sharply limited applicability to the reality I know. And a great deal of that knowledge is unlikely to be particularly related to physics. Engineering, maybe.

Scuba diving is indeed very different. The things you need to know (and always will need to know) are immediately and directly tangible and require a minimum of abstract thought in order to comprehend, if I'm not mistaken.

RutabagaTheWarrior
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Re: Best method of teaching/learning?

Postby RutabagaTheWarrior » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:21 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:
RutabagaTheWarrior wrote:Exercises that are both closer to reality and challenging could be things like building a laser, rocket, or doing research in general for physics
How in the heck are things like building a laser or rocket "closer to reality" ? Those involve highly specific knowledge that has sharply limited applicability to the reality I know. And a great deal of that knowledge is unlikely to be particularly related to physics. Engineering, maybe.


Compared to only doing calculations and never applying them to anything or never having your calculations be tested in some way, I think an engineering task that utilizes some physics or a demonstration of the rules that were taught in the class could be more useful in teaching some physics classes. This might not be the case in other physics courses. Secondly, if it is limited from the reality everyone knows to the reality you know, then I don't think it decreases how effective the teaching is for you.

Jorpho wrote:Scuba diving is indeed very different. The things you need to know (and always will need to know) are immediately and directly tangible and require a minimum of abstract thought in order to comprehend, if I'm not mistaken.


I believe you are correct. But I'm not sure whether that is because of the subject being taught or the way it is taught. Some very basic things like breathing, swimming around, and trying not to damage underwater life should be obvious. Other things like how and why to maintain your equipment, how that equipment works, and the cause/effects of compression and decompression are slightly more difficult.

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Re: Best method of teaching/learning?

Postby Vangor » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:11 am UTC

RutabagaTheWarrior wrote:But I'm not sure whether that is because of the subject being taught or the way it is taught.


Likely a combination thereof, but the former simply makes the latter simpler and more obvious. Practically anything which could be taught is able to be taught in a tangible manner. Not all things are, and I would say extremely few things are. Teaching scuba diving without the process of scuba diving seems ridiculous. The way it is taught is extremely important, but the subject being taught informs the likelihood of effective pedagogical methods.

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Jorpho
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Re: Best method of teaching/learning?

Postby Jorpho » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:25 am UTC

RutabagaTheWarrior wrote:Compared to only doing calculations and never applying them to anything or never having your calculations be tested in some way
The real world is often obnoxoious and poorly behaved. http://xkcd.com/669/
I think an engineering task that utilizes some physics or a demonstration of the rules that were taught in the class could be more useful in teaching some physics classes.
Don't you have physics "labs" where you're from?
Other things like how and why to maintain your equipment, how that equipment works, and the cause/effects of compression and decompression are slightly more difficult.
If nothing else, the fact that it's your equipment, you'd have to pay a lot of money to replace it if it gets damaged, and that you could quite possibly injure yourself severely if you mess it up can be powerful motivating factors.

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Ixtellor
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Re: Best method of teaching/learning?

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:30 pm UTC

1) Its going to be different from individual to individual. Reading > Listening in some people, etc. So there is no 'best method'.

2) You are going to forget a lot of stuff if you don't use it. I have basically forgotten Math. Inspite of having a degree in eco and being certified to teach Math. Since I stopped using one and never used the other.... I can't access that knowledge that is probably still in my brain somewhere. So just because you forgot something doesn't mean you didn't learn it in the 'best way'. I still have 2nd addition D&D rules memorized because I used them on a daily basis for years.

3) Clearly we 'learn' a lot but its only stored in short term memory. I think of many college quizzes I got A's on, but totally forgot that information within days.
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RutabagaTheWarrior
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Re: Best method of teaching/learning?

Postby RutabagaTheWarrior » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:23 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Don't you have physics "labs" where you're from?

No. :(

Jorpho wrote:If nothing else, the fact that it's your equipment, you'd have to pay a lot of money to replace it if it gets damaged, and that you could quite possibly injure yourself severely if you mess it up can be powerful motivating factors.

Yes, motivation is probably a huge factor. I agree that avoiding money loss and injury would be somewhat motivating, but if it was just those, then you could avoid those by not learning scuba in the first place. I think how fun someone thinks something is could be a large motivating factor towards learning that something.

Ixtellor wrote:just because you forgot something doesn't mean you didn't learn it in the 'best way'. I still have 2nd addition D&D rules memorized because I used them on a daily basis for years.

3) Clearly we 'learn' a lot but its only stored in short term memory. I think of many college quizzes I got A's on, but totally forgot that information within days.


I'm not sure if I agree with this. How would you define when you've learned something well? Would you define it as when you can continue to use the knowledge successfully for a relatively long time? Or when you can get A's on your college quizes?

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Jorpho
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Re: Best method of teaching/learning?

Postby Jorpho » Sat Feb 04, 2012 2:15 am UTC

RutabagaTheWarrior wrote:
Jorpho wrote:Don't you have physics "labs" where you're from?

No. :(
Really? Nothing? No tossing air pucks or weights suspended on springs or anything? What level of schooling are you at so far, if I may inquire?

I might say that I don't think they had much of an impact on me, but then, I don't know what things would have been like without them. (Really, a lot of the grade depended on proper formatting and reasoning and such forth.)


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