Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Question for The Not-So-Young-'Uns

OK, yeah, so I'm still having my regular ASL lessons, in order to be able to do this speech in sign.

My tutor is really quite good.  I ended up rewriting half the speech the other day, which -- given the current deadline -- was a pretty scary thing to do, but I was confident enough in her ability to teach me to sign this thing.

We did about four paragraphs today, at which point my brain said, "OK, that's enough to memorize for now.  Let me work on mastering that for a few days and get back to you."

Got me thinking about what it must be like for people who go back to school after a number of years off.  I haven't actually learned anything in quite some time.  Sure, in some ways I learn new things every day, and my job involves a lot of research from which I learn specific things.  But not this kind of learning.  The have-a-teacher-show-you-how-it's-done-and-then-you-go-off-and-do-it type of learning.  I haven't actually done that since Law School.  (Learning to figure skate doesn't count.  Because, there, my brain got hold of something long before my body did -- teaching my body how to do something I mentally understood the mechanics of is, again, a very different type of learning.)  This is strictly get-your-brain-around it stuff.  The hands pretty much do what I tell them.

My tutor thought we could probably cover a few more paragraphs tonight, but I stopped because I didn't trust myself to remember any more signs.

And I thought, "Can I go further tonight?"  And then I thought, "I haven't the foggiest idea."  If I was still in school, I would've known my educational limits for the night, but I was at a total loss.  So I took home what she'd taught me to that point and got to practicing.

But it does raise the question:  Have I actually forgotten how I learn?  And have the rest of you experienced something similar?


dklars said...

I went back to school after raising the kids, the youngest was in 6th grade.  I think that adds up to around 20 years I'd been out of school.  I graduated with honors, but I really did have to study a lot harder than when I was in high school/college the first time.  I think our brains slow down when we "stop" book learning.  ~~Kath~~

hewasolddog299 said...

There's an old saw in science fiction, attributable to Robert Heinlein, to "tell me three times" as a memory tool.

I've been taught, when learning to teach adults new information, to "tell it three times" in this manner:

First, tell them what they'll be learning.

Second, teach them the new material.

Lastly, tell them what they have learned.

Keep your sessions to a max of 20 minutes, break for ten and go back to it for another twenty. Break for twenty and then wrap it up for twenty. No session should exceed two hours without at least an hour break between for maximum retention. That's for professionals who are not students in a formal educational course of study.

As always, your mileage may vary and the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your existence...

helmswondermom said...

Yes!  I think we learn differently as we get older.  It's almost as if we have to re-train our brains to learn.   You'll do it, though!