To be balanced tonight, I’m also going to post something in regards to the computing course. Interestingly to me, this week hasn’t touched on computing, but again, more self-analysis – perfect personal blogging material! 🙂
We were asked to complete several reflection exercises (including a reflection on what we thought of the reflection questions), one of which dealt with the breadth of intelligence. Most people will have heard of audio-sequential vs visual-spatial thinkers but the breadth description we looked at was a bit more diverse than that, including kinesthetic, mathematical-logical, linguistic, intrapersonal and interpersonal, etc. Breadth of intelligence is all about discovering the scope of ways people learn and process information. So, what was the question?
Reflect – Which two of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences do you believe best reflects your own learning style? How has your preferred learning style influenced your own learning?
As I considered the multiple intelligences, I was a little surprised to find that my learning style differs from my own teaching style, or at least the skills I have developed over the years since leaving school. I also realised that perhaps my learning style has evolved away from being based on certain intelligence types and towards others.
Firstly, my one primary intelligence is – quite obviously to me – Visual-Spatial. In everything I do I always need to be more hands on, need to see the whole to understand the detailed parts, and often need to restructure information provided to me into chunks that my own brain will handle.
A great example is the material for this unit – the individual pages within the various sections of Course Information, Study Guide, Unit Schedule, etc were all overwhelming and in the end, I copied everything from every page into a single Word document, then formatted it with proper headings and divided it into sections that were more digestible for me. Now I can see how the whole thing fits together, and actually get into the individual pieces.
My secondary learning style is less obvious. On the one side I would say Logical-Mathematical is a core style for me – at school I was very mathematical and steered away from the less concrete subjects as much as possible (including English, Geography, History, etc). For me to learn something I needed to see the facts behind it and see a very obvious, rule-based connection. This followed me into adult life as I started my career in IT, being a software developer and analyst for over a decade.
However, while I outwardly hated English at school, I was (and still am) an avid reader and had great imagination/creativity. As I progressed in my career I have evolved into someone with a great passion for the English language and great skill at writing (which led me to write more than a dozen books as well as editing several magazines). I love brainstorming ideas and comparing with others to move forward with conclusions and further questions, and for these reasons, I see Linguistic as being my secondary learning style over the Logical-Mathematical style.
Following on from that part of the discussion we explored the depth of intelligence. This way of analysing intelligence is done to determine how complex the thought process is in a particular task – from simple knowledge through to evaluation and analysis. Again, it turned out that there was a reflection question for this.
Reflect – Choose one task you have been given to complete recently and categorise the various activities involved at the appropriate level of Bloom’s taxonomy.
What I found interesting when I applied an analysis of my chosen task to apply it to the various depths of learning according to Bloom, was that it wasn’t a clearcut progression ‘down the chain’ of learning levels. Rather, it seemed to hop between a lower level learning activity to a higher level activity, and back again, until the task was complete.
One of my jobs is as Marketing Manager for an IT consulting services company. Last week I was asked to prepare a one page marketing plan for a new consulting offering around a new product from Microsoft. To do this I had to undertake the following tasks and activities:
[Synthesis] Create/develop the plan itself.
[Evaluation] Work with others to evaluate each aspect of the plan once created.
- [Knowledge] Define the task itself.
- [Knowledge] Define the product.
- [Comprehension] Understand the features of the product and the scope of the intended offering around it.
- [Comprehension] Identify the different aspects required to be implemented for a successful marketing push.
- [Application] Create a general document plan to move forward with the analysis.
- [Analysis] Analyse the product for
- features that could be marketed.
- opportunities that we could launch PR activities around.
- threats that could affect our successful launch.
As I mentioned initially, these tasks often fed back into each other, and required constant revision – effectively, there were multiple stages of Evaluation which meant further phases of the other activities. This revealed to me the fact that in any given task, we are often required to respond on multiple levels of intelligence.
So, this week, I’ve really enjoyed looking at how I learn and what values I appreciate in good, effective teaching. There’s already been a heap more, and it’s all so darned exciting. I downloaded the Y7-10 Syllabus published by the NSW Board of Studies and discovered just how much scope there already is in teaching IT in school. It’s phenomenal and well worth a look for anyone who is interested in finding out what options schools have to choose from. The syllabus is publicly available here: http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/syllabus_sc/