Thursday, July 15, 2010

How do you learn?

Education is the process in which we discover that learning adds quality to our lives. Learning must be experienced.-William Glasser

You bring your new DVD player home. What is the first thing you do? Do you open it and then read the manual carefully? Do you set it up and just press buttons to see what it does and how it works? Or do you ask someone in the know to show you how to use it? These are learning styles and we all have one or many. If you are a visual learner, you learn by observing. If you are an auditory learner, you learn by listening. And if you are a hands-on learner, you learn by doing. We often have a bit of all three styles, although one is more predominant. I ask my better half to explain to me how to work the DVD player because he likes to read the manual. There is no one right way to learn. Learning is never linear...we wend and weave as we learn something new, drawing upon a host of styles, skills, experience and past learning to make the vital connections.

There's an exercise I do with my adult learners. It's called '50 Things I know how to do that I can teach others.' We make a list. Often it's difficult to think of 5 things for their list. Maybe it's the fact that the spotlight is shining on them. Perhaps it's because they take for granted, like we all do, what they, in fact, know. I suggest they start by listing simple things like tying their shoes, fixing something, making a dish, dancing a dance, or singing a song. Then we find a partner and teach each other one thing from that list. This is a great ice-breaker, warm-up activity, or party game.

According to Glasser,

“We Learn . . .
10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and hear
70% of what we discuss
80% of what we experience
95% of what we teach others.”

What new thing have you learned today that's worth remembering and how did you learn it? What have you taught someone else today?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Life is a Bowl of Cherries

Life is a bowl of cherries and I am merely a pit. A few weeks ago we awoke to an abundance of red globular cherries dripping off the branches of the cherry tree in our backyard. What bounty! We talked about the symbolism of this tree of plenty, bleeding red like life itself. Birds perched in the top branches feasting while we coped with the yield of cherries on the lower branches. There was more than enough to share! We nestled a ladder against the sturdy trunk so we could go higher to pick this luscious fruit. We gave some to good neighbors and froze what we couldn't eat. It struck me that despite its small size, the cherry is so much bigger than I am, that here I am at its center, its lush red meat the great community and world around me. It made me consider the abundance in my life.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Today I am grateful for...

Have you made your gratitude list yet today? It takes just a moment, somewhere between the family stuff and the household tasks. Go ahead, take out a fresh white piece of paper and write down everything for which you are grateful today. And a quick tip: rather than say "For my this or my that..." write about what you have given yourself. Perhaps you had the courage to stand up for yourself today. That is worthy of gratitude! Rejoice in the little things for these are what count the most.

Today I am grateful for...
  1. A wonderful visit with my family, brought together from different parts of the area and from across Canada, for brunch.
  2. My creativity--I wrote over 2000 words today!
  3. The quiet time in sitting with my mother-in-law who has Alzheimer's and reading her my poetry. She's a delightful audience!
  4. Current life challenges that are making me stronger.
  5. Another sunny warm day spilling vitamin D onto my skin

When we take the time to appreciate what we have, we get more of it. Such is the law of the universe. What are you grateful for today?