Some current learning insight (for me…)

The most significant learning challenge (let alone retaining the new information) that I have had throughout my entire educational life, that being in every grade (K – College), was learning all mathematic levels of Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus. Some may ask, what about Arithmetic? To clarify for the purposes of my discussion, I went back into history to reexamine the differences between Arithmetic and Mathematics. As a refresher, Mathematics is a considerable size field of study, which is used as an essential device in just about every field. There are two fundamental branches of mathematics; applied arithmetic and pure mathematics. Additionally, the branches can be classified as arithmetic, algebra, calculus, geometry and trigonometry.

On the other hand, in the branch of Arithmetic, as the oldest, most basic class in mathematics, it involves basic calculations with numbers. The 4 fundamental operations in arithmetic are addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Therefore, arithmetic can also be described as the arithmetic of numbers (real numbers, integers, fractions, decimals and complicated numbers) under the operation of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division (Difference Between.com, 2011).

In studying and learning Arithmetic, hands down, I never had problems in this area. In fact, I run a property management business so standard bookkeeping is an everyday activity for me, and my books are always in order, as are my balance sheets and financial statements. Additionally, I actually excelled in Geometry. I always had a keen understanding of spatial differences and similarities, numbers and measurements, the relationships between shapes and sizes and a very clear visualization ability. With that said, I did become a Graphic Designer, and I know my ability with geometry was a key component in my successes in that career.

So during this week’s reading, the light went on. I finally now understand why those subjects were just so elusive and difficult for me. Having heard this quite often, left-brained people are more analytical and rational, while right-brained people are more creative and artistic. Yes, I am indeed right-brained dominant – artistic, creative, illustrator, photographer… I can definitely (and still do) conquer those spatial demands. Can I be left-brained dominant – an analytical, critical thinker? Perhaps somewhat, but definitely not at the level my two sons achieved as engineers in their fields.

I understand now that learning mathematics is a cumulative learning process, that being, everything builds on what I Iearned early on. It now makes sense that I probably never really fully learned/understood the first pieces. Moving forward, it got very difficult, almost at times impossible at times to make sense of the later, higher level components of mathematics.

Now, with a better understanding of information processing, I would incorporate these six interactive aspects of the “learning” process to provide better and successful learning experiences:

  • Attention
  • Memory
  • Language
  • Processing and organizing
  • Writing
  • Higher order thinking

These procedures engage not solely with each other, but additionally, with emotions, the actual learning space, behaviors, individual social skills, teachers and family. In order to engage, motivate and instruct all learners to each of their best, individual levels, instructors must possess a complete knowledge of the learning process, recognize, react and support students’ individual character, their emotional and cognitive profiles and select educational techniques and methods that are optimal for diverse learners. To increase the likelihood that all students will expand on new information (in any subject), instructors must prompt their prior knowledge and make this new knowledge meaningful to them (Thomas, 2010).

References:

Difference between Arithmetic and Mathematics. (2011). Difference Between.com. Retrieved 7 November 2018 from https://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-arithmetic-and-vs-mathematics/

Thomas, A. (2010). Understanding the learning process to effectively differentiate instruction. Center for Learning & Development. Retrieved 7 November 2018 from http://www.cdl.org/articles/understanding-the-learning-process-to-effectively-differentiate-instruction/

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