7 learner and knowing yourself is a skill itself.

7 years later and Iam now an Undergraduate student at Brunel University London studying BAContemporary Education. In this piece of work, I will imitate on what skills itrequired to get through these years and additional skills that I gained in theprocess, as well as what I can develop.  Being responsible for your own learning iskey, the first thing you must do is to get to know yourself as a learner. It isimportant you are honest with yourself and your mode of learning in the pastmay have worked and been effective, but for every level of education its neededto make a step change in order to get the most out of your studies.

You may notthink so, but being a good learner and knowing yourself is a skill itself.   First question yougot to ask yourself is how do we learn? The chances are that you learned manyof the skills you possess not through the formal educational system, butthrough your own initiative. You were motivated by desire or need. You may havelearned them with the assistance and guidance of others, or possibly youlearned them through your own endeavours. Learning is a natural process, andcontinues throughout life.

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It is usually associated with practical experiences,which means actually physically doing something, usually repeatedly untillearning takes place. This is one of the secrets of learning. Each person hasthe capability to learn and develop themselves as a learner.  Fleming and Mills(1992) suggested four modalities, “VARK” which stands for; visual learning,auditory learning, read/write learning and kinaesthetic learning. Visual includes thedepiction of information in maps, spider diagrams, charts, graphs, flow charts,labelled diagrams, and all the symbolic arrows, circles, hierarchies and otherdevices, that people use to represent what could have been presented in words.Auditory describes a preference for information that is heard or spoken.

Learners who havethis as their main preference report that they learn best from lectures, groupdiscussion, radio, email, using mobile phones, speaking, web-chat and talkingthings through. They have need to say it themselves and they learn throughsaying it – their way. Reading/writing is for information displayed as words.Not surprisingly, many teachers and students have a strong preference for thismode. Being able to write well and read widely are attributes sought byemployers of graduates. This preference emphasizes text-based input and output– reading and writing in all its forms but especially manuals, reports, essaysand assignments. Kinesthetic by definition, this modality refers to the”perceptual preference related to the use of experience and practice in reallife”.

Although such an experience may invoke other modalities, the key is thatpeople who prefer this mode are connected to reality, “either through concretepersonal experiences, examples, practice or simulation” Fleming & Mills,1992, pp. 140-141. It includes demonstrations, models, videos and movies of real things, as well as casestudies, practice and applications. The key is the reality or concrete natureof the example. If it can be grasped, held, tasted, or felt it will probably beincluded.  However, eachindividual will learn differently because people perceive and processexperiences in diverse ways, and therefore learning is very much a matter ofpersonal preference or style. This will be influenced by personal and speakingfrom my own experiences my teachers and friends have had major influence on mystyle of learning.

Kolb (1984) identifies what he calls the “ExperimentalLearning Model” p.13, in which he describes in four stages: doing, thinking,speculating and active experimentation. Kolb (1984) points out that this cyclerecurs continuously. It is suggested that each learner has a tendency towards aparticular part of the cycle and this will then form a shape for how anindividual prefers to learn.  Furthermore, moving onto my own personal learningexperiences and needs. Time management has to be one of my top learning needsthat I have learnt to work with and yet develop on. Once I realised that thereis only 168 hours in a week and I cannot save it, therefore I had no choice butto spend it wisely.

Since the age of 16 I have always had a part time jobalongside with my studies, I use to think that was a challenge trying to managethe two together especially at such a young age. I was always told thatUniversity is extremely different to Secondary and College, however I canconfidently state that over the years I have found a balance between studyingand working, also social activities in my little free time. I made a choice tobalance and prioritise in order to be successful. Timeis something that you can lose and never get back. I use always wish I had morehours available in the day. The solution to this common problem is easier thanone might realize.

With a few minor adjustments in how you utilize your timeyou can change how you manage your time. Proper time management is something that can change yourlife on a fundamental basis for the better. Every daily cycle consists of a twenty-four-hourperiod.

This is one of those things that is what it is and cannot be changed.Even though you can’t control time, you can control how the time you have isused. This realization is the first step to being effective in your own timemanagement. It is important to take stock in what is important in your dailylife and focus on allotting time for these things.

Anything that isnon-important should be eliminated. Developing skills to effectively manage your time willbring forth improvements to your life on a dramatic scale. You must beaccepting to making fundamental changes. You have to learn to prioritize andtake things one step at a time. Chances for failure increase when you take onmore than you can handle or when you take on too much at one time. Developingtime management skills will also help you get to know yourself a little better.

This is the first step in proper time management. As people age, it becomesmuch easier to lose track of important things in your life. It seems crazy thathumans allow this to happen, but it is something that happens really easily.The first thing you must do is get in touch with what it is you want toaccomplish from your life- at this moment I am picturing Graduation day atBrunel University 2020. This is the point where you locate your vision.

Whenpeople are young, they believe that anything is possible. I think back to my youngerdays and remember how I envisioned my life at that time. Many of my prioritieshave changed since then, but some of the core ones have remained the same. I began by focusing on the things I want toachieve. Picked something big and something small. After I have decided on whatthose things are, I take steps to formulate a plan that can set me on a path toachieving these things. Completing one step toward each goal is an excellentstart.

By going at my own pace, I began to plan and manage my time much moreeffectively. Planning is key to mapping out the direction in which I know Ishould head. However, one of the greatestbarriers of effective time management – procrastination. One reason why I procrastinateis the fear of being tarnished if my project doesn’t go well or if the lecturerdoesn’t approve of it. Still this day I’m learning to get over my fear and anxietyand start working on what needs to be done – and what motivates me to do betternext time is when I am praised for my work besides any feedback that I receive.