My own private learning; the extreme inputs of learning coming from Rosa Say’s Joyful Jubilant Learning September at Talking Story; the mid-semester exam experiences of my 16 year old son Captain Scarlett; and those of my daughter in her first year of high school, feeling close to overwhelm from the amount of work she is expected to get done. (Not to mention, of course, the day-to-day learning experiences of being a growing human being…)
Captain Scarlett, in his study for his exams, physics in particular, recruited the assistance of his tutor – a friend who left school only a year ago with the highest marks possible. In the prep for physics, he was given sample problems, which were to be solved using excel in the exam. She couldn’t figure out the problem, and he since found out that it was graded a second year uni level problem!
So he struggled, and spent hours on the computer working it out. And work it out he did. But he doubted his ability to replicate it in an exam setting. Imagine, then, his jubilation when I picked him up after the exam, and he felt he’d aced it. He was so proud of himself.
He worked through the problem, which in the end produced a graph. The graph was flat, and he almost panicked – he knew it should look like a mountain. But somewhere along the line, all that exam technique that we and his teachers have been drumming into him kicked in, and he went back to the beginning and began reviewing his work. Finally he realised he’d left out "Radians" in the initial equation. (Don’t ask, I have no idea! I never did physics.)
He then spent the remaining 20 minutes going through every single point of his answer, to ensure he was 100% happy with it.
He was so proud of himself, so positive and excited. It was a great way to start the holidays. And the best thing? He’d managed his learning himself, and nutted through the problem until he knew it inside out.
To me, this is a great lesson
of real learning – and learning about learning – one that I hope will stay with him for the rest of his life (or at least through university!) You can learn anything, if you know how to learn.
He’s finally worked out what effort is required to get the marks he needs to be able to choose what he wants to do at uni and beyond. And I am so proud of him.
Related posts: Joyful, Jubilant Learning