Sunday, 8 December 2013

WordPress Daily Prompt: Learning Style

What’s your learning style? Do you prefer learning in a group and in an interactive setting? Or one-on-one? Do you retain information best through lectures, or visuals, or simply by reading books? 

Photographers, artists, poets: show us LEARNING.


That is me in the middle. Yes, I have been there and done that, one of the numerous educational training things our company did from time to time to keep up with the newest developments in the/our machine tool world. This photo was so long ago, I do not even remember why I was there.

I could never really register my preferences when the company decided; I just appeared on a mystical list and had to be there. Sometimes the educational training was intern, in the company and other times they let us out. Being let out was interesting. You saw other towns and places and the rooms for the educational planning might be in a large hotel or in a training center. There were various reasons for this improvement in understanding. If we were lucky we were also fed with a free meal thrown into the bargain in the hotel.

I remember a particular lecture where a special training organisation was engaged. A man appeared, being the chief guru, and it was his job to teach us all how to answer a telephone and treat customers as gods, without giving them the impression that they were gods. Do you get it? I did not either, but that does not matter. He earned his money and I was there. There was an example he gave using me as the victim. “You have to bring across that the customer, Mrs. Angloswiss, is the most important person in your life” or something like that. I cannot remember exactly. Sorry, I could never take those things seriously and at the end of the three hour torture training he asked each one of us what we had learnt today. I am an honest person so I told everyone the truth “I learned that Mr. X knows that I am the most important person in his life”. Ok at least we had something to laugh at, Mr. X was at a loss for words, his face turned red,  which was probably a rare thing in his life and I probably made an alteration to his teaching plan.

Learning something new is an enjoyable pastime for me. Even in my golden oldie age, you have never learnt everything and new developments happen in the world all the time. Over the years I have realised that if the person teaching me just wants to show how good he can do it, it will not work. I am a “learning by doing” person and I like to take over and really do it my way.

Computer stuff is no problem, I sort of grew up with it over the past twenty years, I had to. Our company expected it and if you did not learn it, you were out. What did I do? I was not content to just know which buttons to press and which mouse movement to make, I wanted to know why. I enrolled for a computer course and even took an examination at the end, which I passed. The company was paying, so they must have had faith in me. I think I was then around forty-five years old or perhaps fifty. I know it was all based on Windows 98 which was the newest example of Bill Gates development at the time. As I was applying the new found knowledge every day in the office, I got the hang of it. I even learnt Windows Access, which has died a slow death since and I am sure I never really applied it anywhere.

Learning languages was another tick I had, which are easy to use in Switzerland as we use four different languages, together with zig dialects which not even the Germans always understand: although I do not always understand the various German dialects. The best way to learn a language is to speak it, which is a feasible task in Switzerland. What happens when you learn something like Russian (I did). Who can you speak to? I could speak once a week at my Russian lesson to the teacher (she was good) and the other suffering members of the class, but in daily life this was not so possible. I did not know any Russians and Mr. Swiss had no interest.

After 10-12 years of attending classes I left the course. The class was always beginning anew due to loss of interest amongst some of the students, and I started the book at least three times. Russian is not easy, it is still a mystery to me how a Russian child learns his mother tongue perfectly. Eventually I discovered that one of my neighbours was married to a Russian lady, so I attacked her with my knowledge now and again when I met her in the garage. She was delighted to find someone who spoke it. Unfortunately I did not always understand what she said.

There is also a lovely lady who works in the local supermarket. Her German is almost better than mine, but her mother tongue is Russian. Oh how often have we spoken in this language whilst I am standing at the cash desk and she is tipping the items I am buying. I would add, much to the amusement of the other people waiting behind me or her fellow workers. “Look that is Mrs. Angloswiss, she can speak Russian”.

I like to use the things I learn in life and that is the best way to learn for me. Sometimes I might get hold of the wrong end of the knowledge stick, but who cares. I am rarely at a loss for words and asking is always the best method. I would add as a word of advice, do not learn to drive a car with your partner, it does not work. Don’t you think so Mr. Swiss, Mr. Swiss, Mr. Swiss? – ok, he is reading a book and does not want to be disturbed.

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  1. I tend to learn best by reading up and then doing. I've never been good in a classroom situation.