the 7 1/2 habits of highly effective learners-

Um – okay. I’m supposed to write about what is easiest and what is hardest for me? This really isn’t easy!

The reason is that whether a habit is hard or easy can (still) depend on the subject or skill I’m trying to learn. I have no problem at all accepting responsibility for my own learning or viewing problems as challenges when revising a story or learning a song, for example. But trying to learn Spanish on my own is a little more difficult, and putting together a new stand or bookcase more difficult still, although I can do it. As for struggling with an unfamiliar spreadsheet program or economics¬†text – well. You see what I mean?

In general, though, I’d say habit 7 1/2 always comes easily to me. I like to play – who doesnt’? ! And I noticed years ago, as a teenager, that those people who were relaxed and confident and playful learned faster – I noticed this with physical skills like dance or skating. Unfortunately, I do tend to tense¬†up when I’m asked to learn a new physical skill. And it gets worse when people are looking at me. I prefer to watch quietly and then practice whatever is being modelled quietly, with small motions, in the background – and without an audience! I don’t like simply having to DO something without any preparation.

So – do we get to choose two things that are difficult for us? I’ll start with the biggie. I’d say I get instantly repelled, and start to shut down, when told I have to set goals. It’s too much pressure. As a kid, I was a perfectionist, and tended to procrastinate as a result. And, as an adult, I’ve found that I can learn more effectively, and more playfully, if I focus on the process and worry less about the result. I have to tell myself constantly, “This doesn’t have to be perfect. Just start doing it!”

I guess what I’m saying is that, to me, focusing too much on the goal or end result takes me out of the playful mindset I need to be in to learn most effectively.

The other thing that sometimes gives me problems is number 4: “Have confidence in yourself as a competent, effective learner.” Sometimes I have confidence, and sometimes I don’t; it depends on what I’m trying to learn.

I think that I’ve generally been good about accepting responsibility for my own learning. Well, I guess that’s obvious! I’ve been going on at length about what makes it easy and what makes it hard for me to learn, haven’t I?

So what do other people think about this goal thing? Am I just interpreting this badly? It occurs to me that I do all right when I combine goal and process, and also when I *don’t* combine goal and result. For example: “I will have a publishable novel written by the end of the year” is an absolute killer, and “I will be published” even more so. “I will send out two manuscripts to at least two different places” is helpful, and “I will work steadily on finishing a draft of a novel” still more so. The same thing applies in other fields, of course!

Sorry for the length – I do go on! But this was an interesting exercise.

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