Where to start? Well, I’m onto my third week of my class. We received our points for the first week – I received all the points!!!! Yea, so for now, I have 100%. I am very excited about that. I feel I worked hard and was very concise, if not a bit much with the amount I wrote for the assignments (there was no limit on the amount you could write. Big mistake to give to a writer. While many in the class wrote a paragraph or two, I was working on four or five and even more at times. I guess I just had a lot to say and I did a lot of research). The entire class is about learning how you learn the next week’s lesson (I’m a little ahead) and using metacognitive (learned that from the Critical Thinking chapter) thinking. I didn’t know what it meant until I saw the definition: “thinking about one’s own thinking.” I thought it was about ‘above thinking’, you know beyond yourself, like metaphysical. I guess in a way, it is.
Overall, class has been exciting, frustrating and fulfilling. If those things even go together. I have learned about the Theories of Learning. Yes, they exist. How we learn. Why we learn. If we learn. Honestly, there is a lot to learn about learning. I found out that psychologists, socialists, behavioral educationologist (just made that one up) have a lot to say about learning. The three theories we worked on: Gardner’s Theory of Intelligence, Bloom’s Taxonomy (structure, I had to ask) and William Perry’s Learning Stages (which I found out in my research he hated that term and liked to use ‘positions’ instead). Our discussions took us to new worlds of understanding ourselves and how we learn. Pretty fascinating, right?
To be real though I think what I have learned the most is how to communicate and interact on line in discussions. We post our discussion (assignment) and then we have to comment on two others. I find this part fascinating and frustrating (I just love when two adjectives have the same first letter, it’s just like that phenomenon that people with the same first letter get married. i.e. Antonio and Allyson. Sorry, that’s me!). First of all, commenting on posts is difficult if you don’t know what to say about the posts other than those annoying one word encouragements I talked about in my last blog. “Yea! Wonderful! Great!” Secondly, if I have more to say I started to worry about my wording, the sound of my intention and all those things that happen when you are allowed to use words to get meanings across. As a writer I enjoy that medium, but as a person writing these responses it is worrisome. What if I sound too overzealous about someone’s post? For instance, I read the grading rubric on what makes a fair, poor, good, great post. Watch out! Here comes my over thinking. Always working towards the grade, yep that’s me. I want to receive the best score possible, right? Why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t anyone? So I add in references, use the textbook information and try (try, try) to be insightful, pose questions, etc. Then my brain goes into overload. What if the person on the other computer screen thinks I’m pretentious or elitist or whatever? I don’t mean to be. It’s not my intention. So, I panic. I write, re-write, re-write and re-write until I have the wording completely, unbelievably, painstaking perfect. As if there is such a thing. Now I hit ‘post response’, that scary, intimidating button on the bottom of the response screen. And wait…and wait…and wait…and wait.
Finally, an answer…and then another…and another. Yea! It sounds all right, no one seems upset. Of course, if I loosen up even a little on my wording maybe someone will get upset. So I don’t. Then, as fate would have it, the next chapter is all about Formal versus Informal writing. Oh good, now I have “experts” who can tell me how to sound a certain way to not offend. Here I go again…
I learned from writing about William Perry’s Learning Positions that I have commitment. (It’s a whole process we apparently go through according to Perry, who by the way, did his research on Harvard Freshman, following them for 15 years from 1950s and 60s – yea, I know way too much research. It wasn’t in the book. I just like to know who those researchers are and who their study groups were. Seems like I understand it better that way). He came up with “positions” that help us learn: Dualism, Multiplicity, Relativity, and Commitment (and by the way if you thought I did that from memory – nope. I only remembered what they are, not the name for each). That’s how according to Mr. Perry, we all learn. Anyway, my commitment about Formal versus Informal writing is: Informal writing (for me) can be so much more difficult. I want to make certain the intent is correct when I write it. (I was tempted to say “I want to make certain the intent is right when I write it”. I thought that was funny. See, Formal Writing helps you not say those things. I guess that means this is all informal. Considering they use blogs as an example of informal writing would make sense).
After we learned writing style, we learned how to write and critical thinking. Critical thinking is defined in the book as “self-assessment”. Self-assessment is defined as thinking and evaluating our quality of thinking. Ok, difference between metacognitive and critical thinking? Any answers appreciated. Self-assessment, (steam rising as I’m thinking, insert here) I have done a lot of self-assessment over the years and critical thinking, I guess. I question my decisions. I wonder why I do what I do. And I always come to the same conclusion – something I did wrong, and not just wrong, but aggrievedly wrong. Something I can really dig into and remain not happy. Why be happy when I can find so many things to be miserable about as well? Yea, it doesn’t work well and maybe it’s human nature or ironic, I would really like to be happy. There are so many things to be happy about. My husband, our daughter, my friends, my abilities, the world in its changing autumn colors, Christmas is coming (I love that season!), and so much more.
I had a critical thinking and metacognitive moment last night. I found out that I am a “self-fulfilling prophecy girl” (oh yea). Now I can actually see how I push people away without meaning to. I have hard evidence. Believe me, that is scary and sad…and now knowing it, accepting it, has actually lifted my spirits. I said some things to friends of mine yesterday that I have wanted to say for years, but couldn’t because I was afraid. Afraid that the “other shoe would drop”, afraid of my own feelings and feeling very, very insecure. The feelings were that I loved them and I didn’t want to lose them and I am not trying to push them away. It felt good to finally get it all out. Now the hard part comes in the transformational learning process (another thing I learned from this book, helpful, huh?): Implementing the solution. I need to live it and stop myself when I get insecure. That’s it. I’ll see how I do. But right now, I want to do well at this. I want to be me. The real me not the one held back by ‘baggage of the past’.
Well, that’s my metacognitive thoughts for the day.
Until next time…