1. I experienced the most rewarding learning experience when only within months I became able to express myself in a foreign language.
I was fifteen and my mother and I just came to Germany because of the war in our home county Bosnia. I was going to school there but I did not know any German. I felt lonely, helpless and isolated. However, I was able to redirect these negative feelings into a force that enabled me to excel at school.
I worked very hard, and in addition to my classes at high school, every night I attended German classes for foreigners at a local adult school. Soon I mastered the patterns of the German language, and after this everything I learned about this language seemed incredibly easy. The greatest reward for this effort was the ability to communicate with my German classmates. Soon we became friends, and my life got a lot easier.
2. There was only one occasion in my life that I would describe as a learning “low.” I was in the eleventh grade of high school when I fell in love with a beautiful girl. She was on my mind all the time, and regardless of how hard I tried to concentrate on learning, I could not get her out of my head.
I could hold a book for hours but nothing I read would be “absorbed.” My thoughts were somewhere else, with her, and the grades at school suffered as a result.3. The characteristics and behaviors of teachers that I find helpful to my learning include his or her ability to motivate students.
This can be accomplished in many ways. For instance, a teacher can acknowledge the student’s efforts to improve. He or she also made student aware of the fact that every effort will be noticed and rewarded. The teacher should be fair.
This particularly includes his or her grading policy.That policy should be announced and explained in class, so that the student has a way of controlling and comparing his performance in class with teacher’s expectations. From my experience it is always easier to excel if the teacher conveys enthusiasm for his or her field. Students can judge fairly well, weather someone is interested in what he is teaching.
In this way, enthusiasm for the field of study might become contagious. At this point, many students might discover their future professions. For instance someone might decide to become a teacher because he admired his or her teacher.4.
Teachers whose behavior hinders learning might demonstrate the following weaknesses:Lack of fairness. For instance if they do not apply the same set of rules to every student (double standards). This tends to discourage students from using their full potential. Some students might begin thinking that it that their effort will not be recognized anyway so “why do it in the first place”?Impossible Expectations.
The teacher should be clear about what he expects from the student. The student should have a chance of obtaining the grade he or she desires through the appropriate effort. If nobody in the class can get an “A” or a “B” the teacher should revise his policy.5.
I felt valued and affirmed as a learner when I noticed that my hard work, effort and time I invested in learning of some material “paid off.” Sometimes it could be the perfect score on an important test, for which I studied very long. But luckily, it was not only about grades. Very often I found myself in a situation where I could make use of these skills that were acquired only though learning.
6. I never felt demeaned because of learning. Learning was always considered something positive. It probably has to do with the environment and the fact weather the environment is supportive or not.
A possible scenario I can imagine would be a farm worker family that does not think it is necessary for their son to get educated. For instance, the parents might just solely think about their own advantage.They might selfishly choose free labor over the opportunities created through education for their son. The son’s efforts to break away from this pattern of abuse, could be undermined by associating negative things with learning like, for example, equating learning to wasting time.
7. Effective teaching has to do with preparing a student to better deal with challenges he or she might experience later in life. It goes way beyond grades and “knowing the material.” Through learning the teacher can help the student to adopt necessary techniques to deal various problems and to learn various things.
It is up to the student to make use of these techniques once he is on his own. For instance, the student might use them to make business decisions at his work place when he is out of school.8. The most important thing I realized about myself as a learner is that I cannot get knowledgeable enough no matter how much I already know.
However, I can use my time to learn more and more. Almost everything can be a learning experience. It just needs to be recognized at such. Take for example listening to the radio.
I decided to use the time while I am driving as a time to learn something. For me as nonnative speaker of English it is very important to listen to the correct pronunciation and to expand my vocabulary. I also want to be informed and hear the news. That is why I decided to change my radio station.
Currently I am listening to the excellent information program of KQED instead of dance music from Z 95.7. It just takes a desire to push oneself in the right direction.9.
The most pleasurable aspects of learning for me are its effects on the person’s character. I believe that while we are learning we are becoming better human beings. While we learn we are on the way to self-improvement. Through learning often we end up being interested in various situations, conflicts, and issues and most importantly people.
Hopefully this experience can also make as more emphatic to our fellow human beings. The negative counterpart of this state might be cold and ignorant indifference.10. The painful aspects of learning include abandoning other activities that seem more enjoyable and more convenient in that particular moment.