Learning Styles

Learning Styles

I’ll start by stating that I have more questions than answers on this topic.
We all have preferred methods for learning.  When it comes to movement/martial arts, some of us would prefer kinaesthetic/tactile models of learning.  Others prefer, verbal or visual.  Which one are you?
I prefer a mix of all three to varying degrees.  In order of preference, they would be visual, then kinaesthetic/tactile and finally verbal/auditory.  It would be the same with most of us.  There would be a mix of all three I believe in varying percentage and order.
When teaching a technique, it’s important to cover all three modes, but how much time and emphasis should a teacher spend on each?  As students, some of us would love to see a technique four or five times.  Others want the finer points described and discussed in more detail.  While some just want to get up and have go at it!  Age, sex, physical attributes, nutrition, motivation and cultural bias’ will also play a role in the mix of learning styles that benefits us most.

In weighing all this up, a teacher must be sure to cover all three modes: kinaesthetic/tactile, visual and verbal, but ultimately I would argue, the onus lies with the student.  It is up to us to garner the flavour, essence and finer points from the teachings, no matter who is teaching or in what method.  I, for one, have come across good and bad teaches in my time, but perhaps it was also my own bias, motivations, expectations and preferences that held me back or drove me forward with ease.  Who can say?  The thing I keep coming back to though is motivation.  What is driving us to learn?  Why are we here to learn?  What do we hope to get out of it?  Do we have expectation or are we open to take on whatever gifts the art may impart upon us?
Some want self-defence, cultural riches or tradition, self-confidence, praise, or character refinement.  Those who stay on for more than year or two will no doubt attest to the fact that the priority of this list shortens, lengthens, changes order and level of importance as you go on.  Some need validation or feedback, others need the sense of camaraderie and belonging in order to progress.  Some need rankings; others need gradings for a goal to focus on or a yardstick to measure by.
How best do you learn?  What drives you?

Travis de Clifford
Sessa Takuma Dojo


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