I recently saw an inspirational type of social media post that stated that one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the understanding that learning is a lifelong endeavour. A high school diploma or university degree should not signal the end of your learning journey. I whole-heartedly agree! I love learning new things!
As much as I love learning, however, I have also discovered that for me there is a sweet spot where learning best occurs. The sweet spot happens when what I want to learn coincides with my ability to absorb the information, is crossed with my need to have or use the skill and is multiplied by the person or place I am learning from.
I was reminded of this in a real “aha!” kind of way today. As an Apple tools aficionado, I feel relatively comfortable with Pages, Keynote and Numbers, even though we rarely use them in our district. I feel super comfortable with iMovie and Clips as I use them often. But Garageband has always eluded me. Terrified me, if I am being totally honest.
Not that I haven’t tried! I’ve watched tutorials, read the “Everyone Can Create” guides and I even attended a “way-over-my-head” lesson from one of the creators of Garageband when I was last at Apple Institute in 2019. I had pretty much figured that if I hadn’t learned from all of that I must be hopeless.
However, my word for this year is “challenge” and I decided that I should challenge myself to learn Garageband well enough to use it with students. So when the opportunity to learn from another Apple Distinguished Educator came up, I jumped at the chance, hoping I might learn something.
Luckily, today I hit my sweet spot for learning! I was well rested, not distracted, eager and determined to learn and I had the perfect teacher! She was calm but matter-of-fact and gave me just enough information that I felt successful but not so much that I felt overwhelmed. Kind of like Sheldon’s sweet spot on the couch. After the lesson, I felt curious and ready to try more on my own but also supported as she gave me her contact information and encouraged me to reach out if I needed more help.
BINGO….sweet spot! And another lightbulb moment for me as I made the quick connection to my students. Surely they all have, as you all must, their own “sweet spot” for learning. Maybe today is not the day that they’ll understand how to multiply fractions. Maybe it will be tomorrow, maybe next month or maybe with a different teacher. Or with different examples.
I guess my big point (in case you were wondering if there was one) is that learning is not a “one size fits all” endeavour. So neither should teaching be so. Now, don’t roll your eyes at me and be all “you’re just realizing this now?” I knew this before! But sometimes it takes an epiphany kind of moment to remind us about educational tenets that should be front and centre. Make sure that as a teacher you are also always a learner. I am certain that it makes you a better educator – I know it does for me! Now, hurry up Spring Break – I have a date with Garageband!