Value of Learning…

What is learning?  As the saying goes, you learn something new everyday.  Is this true?  How do you know if you did learn something, and if you did, is it something useful to you?  Is it something of value?

So many factors go into learning that people will forever be studying ways of learning and what is means to gain new knowledge.  In my class tonight we were discussing what defines learning, so my group developed this representation:

Neural Pathway of Learning

What would someone gain from this representation?  Can you relate to anything mentioned in this picture? Did you learn anything by looking at this picture?  By relating to something, did that help you to understand what it being conveyed? Does it help to create questions about your own learning?

I know for me, I learn by doing.  Repetition is essential for memory, and once stored in my memory, I feel that I have truly learned the information.  Then once I have this new information, I continue to refine my knowledge and understanding by learning through more repetition.  I also learn (and value learning) by my strong desire to constantly better myself in some way.  To me, a day is wasted if I haven’t done something to help contribute to this betterment. But what works for me may not be the same for my students.  Regardless, the desire to learn is one of the foundations of learning.  With out some value and drive to gain new knowledge, or refine existing knowledge, then will any learning occur?

To me, the value of learning is essential to the success of our nation.  A desire to learn more, and then apply that knowledge towards whatever path you choose in life, contributes to making the most accurate and well informed decisions possible.  This applies to both performance and decision making. Without knowledge, how do you know that someone isn’t selling you an alternative medication claiming to help you loose weight quickly, when it in fact doesn’t help you to lose weight, and can potentially harm you.  So many people fall victim to these scams, which you would hope would help people to see the value in knowing science to determine if the scientific claim the seller is making is accurate or not.

In the scientific community, we do our part to help educate others.  In the scientific community within my classroom, I work to help my students value learning physics (and any other scientific principles we cover) in order to help make them educated, productive citizens.  Though, until they have the desire and excitement, or at least a personal value to explore this world of science, then the learning will be few and far between.  Don’t even get me started on the way the state determines whether my kids have learned anything!  The beauty of teaching and learning is that each day is a new day, a new canvas to paint.  So bust out those colors and go wild!  Learning science is meant to be messy and colorful!  I hope that I am the teacher that inspires my students to create a colorful canvas of knowledge everyday, with the desire to return the next day to create more.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes, by a great mind Albert Einstein, for you to reflect upon:

“The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.”

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