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Pedagogy 101: Learning How To Learn

Pedagogy is the way we learn and the way we teach. Depending on your high school experience, you may have a fixed or rigid way of understanding this concept. Basically, there are only so many ways people learn and there is a right way to teach and be taught. According to “The Strategic Learner,” a style guide by Sheila Collett published by The Academic Skills Centre, there are three kinds of learner: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. The audiocentric, ear driven learner takes oral instruction better than written instruction and usually needs visual aids vocally explained to them. They are great story tellers and prefer Trent Radio over Arthur Newspaper. Those who were given an eye for an ear want instructions written down. Diligent note takers that prefer Arthur Newspaper over Trent Radio make visual aids to help them in their never ending quest to get the entire lecture down on paper. These learner hawks can tell what you are saying by observing the way in which you say it (body language).

The kinesthetically inclined must be involved and doing. Too many coffee breaks make it so that they prefer to stand while working. Space is the place; they need to know their environment in order to feel comfortable working as a part of it. Hand-talkers and touchers enjoy using their hands and have a reputation for being high energy and in need of relaxation. Some advice from “The Strategic Learner:” Ears: tape record lectures, talk to everyone about everything all the time, use stories and rhymes to remember, and study out loud. Eyes: visualize information, look at the lecturer’s face, write everything down all the time, and use visual aids and colour whenever you can. Body: take loads of breaks, do something with the information you are given (experiments, building models, explaining it to others), read on a bike or balance board, and double read (skim fast then go for detail).

This is a very linear pedagogical model. We are all eyes, ears and bodies, and will therefore have a combination of these habits. One problem with the more classical psycho-educational models of pedagogy is that it sometimes forgets that people are people and not just observable patterns of behaviour. Form relationships with your fellow students and your professors. It feels good and you learn more. Form relationships between concepts too, most of everything comes from similar places and is just formulated differently for a specific purpose. Finally, sometimes it is important to take some time with yourself to be alone with the information you have received. We go to school in a forest, take advantage of that.

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