There's More to Life Than Knitting!

Join Suna as she stops knitting long enough to ponder her life, share her joys and concerns, and comment on the goings on in the world.
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Friday, August 31, 2007

Learning Styles Insight

Me Knitting
Originally uploaded by sunasak

My post yesterday on how much I like to sing, then Stephanie's comment got me thinking about why I pick the hobbies I pick. I love to sing and knit (and type, i.e., blog).

It dawned on me that both singing and knitting are things I use my kinesthetic learning style on. Both I learn by how it feels to do an action I may have mentioned before that the reason I don't often forget a harmony part is that my throat remembers the feelings of each note in a song--I don't remember the note values; I remember the pitches relative to each other.

And I remember how to knit various patterns by how they feel when I do them. The fact that I learn patterns better from a chart than from written-out knitting instructions also has to do with learning physically--I can see the direction the decreases or increases go in on a chart, so I don' t have to thinking "K2tog" or "SKP" -- I just do the "thing that leans left" or the "thing that leans right," physically, as depicted in the chart without having to translate into the words for what I am doing, which is an extra step in my mind.

Certainly, one reason I like doing these things, and also why I like typing, is that I enjoy the fact that I can get my body to be so precise and do exactly what is needed to create something of high quality--a song in tune, a sock, a quickly typed email with few errors. It feels good to be physically adept at something.

Anyway, just a short insight into how I do things and why I like them.

OK, we all know we have a mix of learning styles in us, and that there's more than one way that people define learning styles. Robin (see comments) suggested that some of my liking for knitting and singing might be due to being a visual-spatial style learner. Are you? If you want to know, here's a set of questions and here's an interesting comparison. I found it interesting to look at, because I do share many (probably most) characteristics of someone with that style, but with a few marked exceptions: I am an excellent speller and I like to speak in public. However, sure enough, I visualize words to spell them, like the comparison mentions.

Enough about me--what truly struck me was how the descriptions fit Beccano, and the comparison, which I think is intended to show why folks with this learning style might not fit in well in a traditional academic setting--fit my boy Beccano. To a "t" even. Makes a lot of sense. Really makes it clear how he can be so "gifted" and have such a high IQ but not be a great traditional student.

So, thanks, Robin, you educator, you!


Robin said...

I think some of it might be that you are a visual/spatial learner, too. Check out this site that I just found.

Liz T-G said...

And might it be that the reason I have to work so hard at knitting is that I am NOT a visual/spatial learner? I've been knitting on and off for 10 years. I've just now learned to identify what, exactly, a knit and a perl are each supposed to look like.

I also have to turn maps to read them. Dweeb. :-)


Suna said...

Yep, I think you have hit the metaphorical nail on the head (if you are good at that sort of thing). When I teach knitting it's really obvious that some people can "see" what they are doing and grasp it in one fell swoop, while others have to carefully learn it sequentially and take a long time to grasp the gestalt of it. Those are also the people who have more trouble "reading" their knitting (telling knits vs. purls, what to do next in a lace pattern based on how it looks and feels, etc.).

Different types of learners tend to be motivated differently, too. The ones like me like the process of knitting--doing it--while others knit to get something to wear or look at.

If I go back to school, this will be my thesis topic, btw. Adult learning of a physical process. If we ever get to where ONE of us has a stable job, I can work on this plan.