Thinking about Learning….

This first reflection task seemed innocuous enough.

But I found myself avoiding the questions and the self-analysis they required.

What should, I think, have been a fairly quick task has taken me ages!  I clearly need to work on my self-analysis abilities.

1.  Think about something you are good at

I’m good at learning languages – although I’ve forgotten so much through lack of practice in recent years that I feel a bit of a fraud saying that.  I studied Russian at university because everybody said it was difficult!  I like a challenge that other people shy away from.  I was also fascinated by the Soviet Union!  I like the abstract concepts of language (probably more than I like speaking them, to be honest) and so I was motivated to learn.  I worked hard at the difficult stuff, practiced it – but I probably just had the kind of brain that liked learning irregular Slavonic verbs .

2.  Think of something about yourself you feel good about

I’ve set up an after-school computer programming club at my daughters’ primary school.  It’s part of a nationwide project called CodeClub which aims to get programming clubs into 25% of UK schools by the end of 2014.  I’m not a programmer myself, although I have been teaching myself Javascript this year using Codecademy (although I’m hopelessly behind due to lack of time.  Don’t even mention OOP)  But I have become passionate about the need to teach young people – including journalism students – to code.  It’s too late for me, save yourselves!!

We’ve been going a few weeks now.  I’ve managed to find a group of brilliant volunteers who have vast knowledge and experience.  I’ve persuaded the headmaster to embrace the idea.  I’m getting positive feedback from the children and their parents.  And BBC Radio Manchester came to the school on Monday morning to report on what we were doing.  The children were so excited about being on the radio and they were brilliant.

I feel good about it because it involved lots of people feeling positive and happy about a shared experience that I initiated.

3.  Think of something you are not good at, perhaps as a result of a bad learning experience.

I’m not good at driving.  I think it’s because people told me I wouldn’t be good at it and made me feel as if I was putting their lives in danger!  I also dislike cars because they make me feel sick.  So I have very few positive associations with driving.  I also actually quite like public transport so I see little incentive in becoming a more confident driver.

4.  Think of something that you did learn successfully but at the time you didn’t really want to do it.

Social media!  The BBC encouraged us journalists to go on a new course called “Making the Web Work for You.”  It was in the early days of social media when only the real geeks were on Twitter.  The one day course was very intense and I felt like the class dunce.  It seemed irrelevant and time-wasting when there was important journalism to be done.

I stuck at it because somehow the instructor convinced me that this was the future.  I went away with my handouts and worked hard exploring all the platforms and tools we’d talked about.  I lurked on Twitter and Facebook and read about how journalists were using them. I needed to find practical applications to make all this effort worth my while.  It was a slog at times but I’m so glad I did it.  It’s opened all sorts of doors for me.


4 thoughts on “Thinking about Learning….

  1. Hi Liz
    I enjoyed your post and completely agree about how long it took to think about these questions! I am particularly impressed that you learnt Russian (I had quite a fascination with Russia and all aspects of Russian culture when I was younger, and have been there, but the only phrase I managed to learn was ‘sorry I don’t speak Russian’). Language learning seems increasingly rare in this country, so it’s quite an achievement to have mastered a ‘difficult’ one. Maybe you can do your micro-lesson on it??

  2. Pingback: Thinking about Learning…. by Liz Hannaford #lthesep12 | PGCAP News Blog

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