Today’s Daily Prompt asks, “What’s your learning style?”
I had a terrible time zeroing in on a topic for my Masters thesis. I had so many ideas, all of which interested me, but most of which seemed overwhelming. Then one day my advisor rescued me from my self-imposed cognitive chaos when she said. “Anna, you’re trying to do a PhD. This is just a Masters degree.”
If “biting off more than you can chew” can be said to be a learning style, it would be mine.
I have made the study of how people learn my life’s work. That makes it difficult to know where to start in responding to the question asked by today’s Daily Prompt. I could get technical and tell you that on the Kolb Learning Style assessment I fall into the most extreme reaches of the “accommodating” quadrant. Which means I learn by doing, and I put my feelings before my thoughts when it comes to processing what I have learned.
That’s pretty accurate, actually, and according to an analysis that plots ideal careers against the Kolb learning style model, I am ideally suited to educational administration. Which is, coincidently, what I do for a living.
I could also say that I’m a visual learner, even though current research has pretty much discredited the notion that some people are primarily visual or auditory or kinesthetic learners. It is more likely true that we are capable of “taking in” learning through all of these modalities, but that we might have a preference for one over the other.
But the truth is that for all of my academic study of learning styles and theories, I still think the best way to describe how I learn is “reflective bumbling.” I just do stuff, and then I ponder what it felt like doing it. If I like how it felt, I keep doing it. If I don’t, I do something else.
I headed off to church this morning thinking about this prompt, and contemplating what I wanted to write about it when I got home. And then, wouldn’t you know it, we sang these words:
Dance in the darkness, slow be the pace.
Surrender to the rhythm of redeeming grace.
And it struck me that “dance in the darkness” is exactly how I learn.
You can do this dance too. There’s only one step, and it’s simple: take a step forward. It doesn’t matter if you can see where your foot will land. It will always land on something.