Saturday, 10 September 2016
Good Schools & Good Teachers Are Obviously Better Than Poor Ones.
HOWEVER, FAR MORE IMPORTANT IS
THE LEARNING SPEED & ABILITY OF
THE INDIVIDUAL PUPIL.
SO WHY IS “LEARNING HOW TO
LEARN” TAUGHT IN LESS THAN
0.001% OF BRITISH SCHOOLS ?
Especially when starting with the subject of “LEARNING HOW TO LEARN” can make every student (including some of those with a physical or mental disorder) eligible for a fully merited “Grammar School Education”.
Everything Theresa May has recently said on this subject is fundamentally correct. Except for one thing. The same thing that a majority of educationalists get wrong.
They place too much emphasis on “the school” and on “the teacher” instead of on the barriers to study which can confront any and every child irrespective of their family background or wealth.
“Barriers to Study” which are developed in the very early weeks and months of their experience of life since birth.
Every family is intent on having the child learn to listen, to speak, to read, to write, to spell, to crawl, to stand, to walk and to learn to add up, subtract, multiply and divide, etc., etc., etc.
And the confusion which granddad, grandma, mum, dad, the brothers and sisters and the rest of the family can unwittingly generate in a child during his or her first and second year is enormous.
On examination one finds that the biggest barriers to learning are initially small unresolved misunderstandings leading to even further non-comprehension and confusion, and that this arises from being given or picking up false, erroneous, misleading or totally wrong and inaccurate data at an earlier point in time, and is very easily done – even perhaps in the womb – or (as many today would have us believe) in some past lifetime.
Be that as it may, when grandma offers a blue coloured plastic cup full of orange juice to her baby grand-daughter, the older lady can give her action “meaning” or “significance” in numerous ways. She can say: “drink” or “cup” or “blue” or “yours” or “orange juice” or “nice” or “this is lovely” or “you'll like this” or “get this down you baby” or “yum-yum” or any of a number of different accompanying words or phrases.
And so also can Dad and Mum, elder sister and brother or baby-sitter, etc., all with the same colour of cup or another colour or shape and with the same contents or another drink, hot or cold, sweet or savoury, etc.
Then they can also all so easily do similar confusing multiple actions and “word noises” with food in a bowl and a spoonful directed towards the baby's mouth.
But contentment lies in certainty. Very little to do with whether baby likes the food or the drink. Very much to do with their confidence and understanding.
Are they being told to “eat the cup from the drink”, or more correctly but still somewhat confusingly, to “drink” (verb) the “drink” (noun) from the cup ? etc.
In other words, quite apart from the child's own inherent learning ability, there is the question of how clearly, logically, accurately and coherently is the information being presented, because simple repetition of the same combined action plus the same speech factor provides a far faster learning gradient than a constantly changing choice of words attached to the same actions or items.
In fact from the above, we begin to recognise that, quite apart from the child's own immediate ability to learn, there exist numerous “barriers to study or learning” which derive from the new born child's environment and particularly the people in it.
The first of these barriers we have just looked at.
THE SPEED OR GRADIENT (sequence of ascending / progressive steps) WITH WHICH THE TEACHING AND / OR LEARNING PROCESS PROCEEDS.
Learning simple words before you learn the alphabet and its phonics, before you learn longer words, and learning words before you learn sentences, and sentences before paragraphs, chapters, and the full story, etc., can be one type of gradient.
But if you miss out the alphabet, or the phonics or an understanding of the different sorts of words, or get them out of sequence, etc., the whole gradient can soon collapse, and you finish up with no story. No punch-line. No comprehension and feeling foolish or bewildered.
As another example, gradient sequences are involved in safely and efficiently starting and driving a car. You don't start the engine until you have depressed the clutch or checked that the gear lever is in neutral. You don't move away from the kerb before you have checked your mirror, made sure the road is clear and signalled your intentions, etc.
And you certainly don't try to swim the English Channel without many months of gradual training, body-building and safety preparations.
The second important barrier is quite different.
It is fairly easy to observe that each piece of “knowledge”, each fact or truth is more comprehensible to the degree that it contains a balance of mass and significance (meaning), rather than either a complete absence of mass or no significance whatsoever.
(i.e. Is the object, idea or action actually with us and observable in the “here and now”, along with a matching significance explaining the existence / purpose of that object, idea or action ?)
FAILING TO HAVE THE MASS (of the object, thing or even a picture of it) PRESENT, AND FAILING TO SEEK A BALANCE BETWEEEN THE “MASS” AND THE “SIGNIFICANCE” OF THAT SUBJECT'S DATA, CREATES A BARRIER TO OBSERVING, LEARNING & COMPREHENSION.
For example, if, in the hope of recruiting workers for a jungle clearance project, you helicopter-drop a bright yellow JCB excavator into the centre of an Amazonian native village, with no explanation or other significance, the likelihood of their worshipping it as some new God from heaven is overwhelming. No Significance. All Mass. And so generation of a false significance.
But if you send a knowledgeable and well trained engineering professor to do the recruiting, with all his technical books and explanations about JCBs, but no machine and not even a picture or drawing, the likelihood is that the professor will finish up in the cooking pot. All Significance. No Mass. No common reality.
There are lots of minor barriers to learning, such as very bad handwriting or very different pronunciation. Try putting a Glaswegian Scot together with an Essex Englishman and they each will tell you that the other cannot speak English.
Or try and speak with the ladies of certain religious sects, and you will not only be ignored but likely even attacked and thrown out by their menfolk.
HOWEVER, THE THIRD AND MOST POWERFUL AND WIDESPREAD MAJOR BARRIER TO LEARNING AND STUDY IS – “THE MIS-UNDERSTOOD WORD”, ESPECIALLY AS THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS IN WHICH A WORD CAN BE MISUNDERSTOOD.
It can be misspelt & / or mispronounced, it can have been assigned a totally wrong meaning, been assigned no meaning, have an incomplete definition, have numerous meanings all spelt and pronounced the same (e.g. catch, feel & see, etc.), be pronounced in two different ways with quite different meanings (e.g. project and project), be pronounced the same although spelt differently, (rein, rain & reign), etc.
And misunderstood words work both ways. You can spread them around yourself, passing on your misunderstood words to others and, you can quite unknowingly pull them in from other people – even teachers, the radio, television and those professionals who like to blind their listeners with science, to prove their own education and your lack thereof.
The teacher, lecturer, trainer, commentator, presenter or professor who starts his discourse with: “Tonight our subject is “X, Y & Z”, and then fails to provide a definition and examples ensuring his title is understood, has not only given his audience a nice new misunderstood word, he has also just LOST his audience – as I might also have done at this point ! For the same reason.
Words are the building blocks of all languages and, whether written or spoken, it takes only one Mis-Understood word (M/U) in a sentence to interrupt the flow of understanding and to completely suppress comprehension of that whole sentence, as well as the paragraph and often the page – particularly if that lack of understanding is not immediately corrected. And that's only the first problem M/Us create.
Where M/Us are undetected and uncorrected, we find the source of stupidity, failing exam results, damaging errors, derisory and harmful arguments, abandonment of study subjects and jobs, as well as friends and even family.
LEARNING HOW TO LEARN. Knowing and handling the main barriers to study are the key to progress, proficiency, friendship and happiness – in many ways the key to life.
And once you've invested a relatively small amount of study-time into learning how to learn, you soon start to earn it back a thousand times over in every facet of not just your other studies, but also your whole life and well-being.
THIS IS WHAT IS KNOWN AS “AN INVESTMENT”, AND “LEARNING HOW TO LEARN” IS PROBABLY THE QUICKEST RETURN, LOWEST COST, LOWEST RISK INVESTMENT YOU WILL MAKE IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE.
Blessed is the child whose family members are wise enough NOT to confuse him or her with misunderstood words or either of the other two main barriers to study, which can lead to further non-comprehension and apparent lack of intelligence. But even in the most coherent of families, some M/Us can still creep in.
Dyslexia is one of the more serious problems which can be handled by removing the barriers to study with the application of Study Technology.
And, have you noticed that a lot of English humour and jokes actually depend on deliberate misunderstanding of some word or phrase.
But it's no laughing matter when misunderstandings and non-comprehension are totally unrecognised by you. Because they can keep you out of Grammar School - even if Dad drives a Rolls-Royce to work. And equally “Learning FIRST How to Learn” can gain you a merited Grammar School place - even if Dad drives a wheelbarrow at work!
If you would like to be introduced to a trained and experienced “Study Technology” professional who will give you a free introduction to “HOW TO LEARN”, with no further obligation, phone 01342 810151 any weekday between 11.00am & 9.00pm.
S.A.F.E. Is A Not-For-Profit Community Support Group Formed in 1975.