Skill Acquisition/Learning [6]

We are not all auditory or visual learners, some of us learn kinesthetically, a form of physical learning where mechano-reception is the primary source of sensory input:

  1. Kinesthesia – awareness of transition and trajectory across space;
  2. Position sense – alignment without sight;
  3. Force tension sense – how much pressure is being applied and its intention.

Kinesthetic learning is achieved by feeling sensory inputs instead of watching or hearing.

If we all learn differently, if we all learn in a slightly different combination of auditory, visual and kinesthetic inputs, then how can we expect children to learn when we standardize how they are supposed to learn? Standardization provides for efficiency, but is efficiency the goal of educating our children, of offering them the experiences they need in order to learn?

Imagine yourself to be a child, a child who doesn’t learn easily or quickly through auditory or visual inputs. Imagine yourself in school or in sport where instructions are primarily verbal cues with a visual demonstration the odd time, and rarely if ever through tactile means… how long would it take for you to believe that you aren’t smart, that you are slow, stupid?

“Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing its stupid.”   Einstein

Imagine yourself to be an athlete, an athlete who doesn’t learn easily or quickly through auditory or visual inputs.  Imagine yourself training with a team, or club where instructions are yelled out by a coach, repeated once, where failure to follow instructions is met with scolding… how long would it take for you to believe that you aren’t an athlete, that you are in fact incapable, uncoordinated, have been tested and been found lacking?

If we were truly invested into educating our children, into developing our children into whatever it is they are supposed to be, then we would not be standardizing anything around our children.

Instead we would free them and teach them to explore, to make mistakes, to learn through all their senses, to discover their learning pathways, to learn to learn about themselves and the world around them, to foster a lifelong obsession and fascination with learning.

If we were truly invested into training our athletes, into developing our athletes to their fullest potential, then we would not be standardizing any aspect of their training.

Instead we would encourage them to experiment, learning how to evaluate their own performances, to assess quality of movement, to play by moving differently, by hypothesizing, then experimenting and testing, showing them how to learn about themselves and the world around them, to foster a lifelong obsession and fascination with learning.

Now imagine that you find out that you aren’t stupid, or slow, that you simply need instructions made available in a different manner….

Scott Sonnon’s TEDx Bellingham talk titled:
“How We Suppress Genius and Create Learning Disability.”