What do I want to learn?

Yesterday while reading Michele Martin’s blog I came across a link to a post on Sacha Chua’s blog entitled “What do I want to Learn?” It’s a good question.

The easy answer is “everything”, but that simply isn’t true. I’ve learned enough to know that there are lots of things that I don’t want to know any more about. I have no desire to understand particle physics or how to make an atom bomb. I know that don’t want learn the gory details that a coroner uses to determine how long a body has been rotting in the woods. I have no real interest in card tricks and I really hope to avoid learning anything about a celebrity divorce trial ever again. Even with all of the things that I don’t want to learn about, there are still more things that I want to learn about than I could ever hope to master in my time on Earth. This post is to help me prioritize some of my learning goals.

Teaching
I want to learn how to be a better teacher. I believe that good teachers need to know what is important to teach and how to make others care about learning it. In general, I think it is more important to teach skills than content, but I’m still trying to learn which skills are most important to teach. While I am struggling with which skills to teach, I am simultaneously trying to figure out the key(s) to motivating people to learn and to change. Additionally, I believe that to become more successful as a teacher I need to improve my communication and presentation skills.

Languages
I want to learn to be a world citizen. I believe that in order to be a true world citizen, I need the ability to communicate with speakers of other languages. I am a native English speaker and I have an intermediate-level ability in Spanish. Based on these two languages alone, I can already communicate with a significant portion of the world’s population, but I am still unable to communicate with the majority of people on Earth. I want to become a fluent speaker of Spanish and I want to learn Mandarin. If I can handle those languages, then I may try for more.

Artistic Expression
I have many, many hobbies. In some respects, most of my hobbies have a very practical bent to them. I like to cook, to knit, to sew, etc. I want to learn basic carpentry and how to garden. Despite their practical nature, each of these hobbies is for me, a venue for artistic expression. They are a way to make my home a more personal and pleasant space for myself and my family. They are a way to make things beautiful. Photography is perhaps my least practical interest, but even it has the function of preserving memories and documenting family history.

In the past, I’ve considered myself completely devoid of musical talent. Despite this, I think that I would like to try to learn how to play simple songs on the piano and the guitar and I’d be ecstatic if I could learn to sing.

Right now, as I work on my research projects and dissertation, my primary focus is to learn about teaching. However, I’m going to try not to lose sight of my other learning goals.

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About Kimberly McCollum

I'm a former middle and high school science teacher and current stay at home mom.
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8 Responses to What do I want to learn?

  1. Sacha Chua says:

    Thanks for sharing! =)

    Teaching – if you can help teach passion, then people will learn skills and content. =)

    Languages: Tim Ferriss has a great post about how to pick languages up quickly. If your library has the Pimsleur audio series, check them out – they’re pretty good.

    Artistic stuff – I’m right there with you! I enjoy taking pictures, and we’ve got a small garden going too…

    Good luck and have fun!

  2. Kim–thanks for sharing your personal learning plan! I wonder if your experiences in learning a new language or how to garden might not end up informing your teaching? Some of the most important skills we need to teach are things like how to learn effectively, how to find information, etc. Pursuing your own learning might be another way for you to come at the whole issue of teaching. Just a thought.

    And I admire your ambition in wanting to learn Mandarin–that’s no easy feat from everything I’ve heard!

  3. inpi says:

    Kim,
    I loved your learning plan!
    Yo puedo escribir en castellano si lo quieres, pero ni siempre estoy segura de la ortografia de las palabras.
    El Castellano es muy parecido al Portugués así qué si estudias el Castellano podrás dominar facilmente el Portugués también. Podrás comunicarte con todos los brasileños y algunos miles de africanos…
    I would love to learn how to use web2.0 tools in the context of the classroom; that’s my priority now, and I’m having real trouble to cope with it. But I won’t give up for I see clearly that the future of teaching and learning is closely related to these web tools.
    (I’ll post a comment on your post about the Award given during our Comment Challenge, for I’ve found it only a few days ago, and just by chance! I was very happy, of course.)
    Muchas felicidades en tu Proyecto de Aprendizage,
    Ines

  4. @Sacha – thanks for the resources.

    @Michele – As you suggest, my experiences in learning a new language or how to garden should inform my teaching. Perhaps the most important thing I’ll learn is patience. . . I expect it will be some time before my ambition becomes reality.

    @Ines – Estoy convencido. Después del Castellano, estudiaré el Portugués también. Puedes enseñarme? :)

  5. inpi says:

    Kim,
    I’ve just discovered your answer to my comment a moment ago, just by chance, because I went to Co comments to get the side bar widget with comments “related to Inpi”. I’m sorry for not answering you sooner, of course te enseñaré el Portugués con mucho gusto.
    Yo creo que encontraremos algo así como cursillos gratuitos online para el Portugués brasileño y también algo habrá en los sites Portugueses para ensenãr estranjeros.
    En este momento yo estoy haciendo la traducción de los tutoriales de WikiEducator para el Portugués; ya están siendo preparados también en Castellano, así que se pueden comparar las traducciones con el Inglés que es una buena manera de aprender el vocabulario técnico de la web.
    Ines

  6. inpi says:

    Kim,
    If you would like to take a look on this Spanish version
    of the Horizon Report 08, perhaps you would enjoy the reading, as you would be joining the usefulness of both content and form :) :
    http://horizon.nmc.org/wiki/Main_Page
    Ines

  7. @Ines – Muchas gracias. Voy a leer el informe este semana.

    También, he buscado cursos online para el Portugués y hay tanto mucho. Tendré escoger algunos para experimentar y encontrarme cual es el mejor.

  8. inpi says:

    Hi Kim,
    Si encuentras uno que te guste, dímelo, pués así podré seguirte “as a facilitator” si lo quieres.
    Ayer, he subscrito Zoho en Castellano, para que mis jóvenes alumnos puedan entender mejor; maybe you would like to compare each one or some of Zoho features both in English and in Spanish, para consolidar el vocabulario tecnico de la web.
    Tambié me gusta mucho leer el blog “El Caparazón”, pero quizá lo conozcas ya.
    Hasta luego,
    Ines

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