Lesson 11: Learning (homework; self study), Friday 13th December 2013

Learning:

I define learning as a way in which a person develops a set of knowledge or skill through experience, observation, their memory and by being taught by others. Not only this, but after that, in order to be able to say they have fully learnt, I believe they have to apply that certain knowledge or skill in action. Whether this is in an educational manner like in a maths test, or more of a social manner in one’s ordinary life involving friends and trust issues etc.

For example, a person can say they have learnt and understood algebra when they get a relatively high mark on an Algebra maths test at school. Another example is a person (e.g. person “A”) can say they have learnt from their mistake when previously a friend (person “B”) told person A their secret and trusted him/her with it. However that person told other people, which shows disloyalty and mistrust therefore if person B would most likely not be able to trust person A again. However person A can say they learnt from his/her mistake when someone else entrusts person A with their secret, and by knowing and understanding how spilling one’s secrets may affect not only the person who told person A but also others and therefore keeps the secret to themselves; this shows that person A is learning from personal experience.

But this raises a few questions.

1- How can we know and say for certain that test results define if a person is learning or not?

I ask this question because learning and memorising is different. In a test, we can simply memorise texts/passages and basically apply them similar to “copy and paste” like on a word document while not actually understanding what it means. Can this really define learning and whether a person has learnt or not? Also, tests usually pick out certain questions to ask from on a wide range of topics therefore what if a person who did not revise that much was very lucky and decided to revise just one or two topics out of the 10 and coincidentally that test question was based on those one or two topics therefore he/she was able to do well on the test. Can luck determine our success and define whether we have learnt? I don’t think so. However, even today when Universities receive the applications from applicants, numbers and grades play a major role in acceptance. But Universities also have learnt from many years of accepting applicants that numbers are not always everything therefore they conduct other procedures such as applicant interviews where Universities get to see the person more on a personal level, understand and view the applicant from a different perspective.

2- It is an accepted fact that learning is a good thing. However, how can we say that what we are learning is actually correct?

Of course learning is good. However what we learn and who we learn it from may influence on whether what we learn is actually good or not. It is not true to say that learning something wrong is pointless/useless because once we realise that what we have been learning or have learnt is incorrect, we can decide to change and this is learning. However, in some cases, some continue to learn things that are thought or believed to be wrong in the eyes of others. Some examples to support this is such as psychological issues where a troubled mother raises a child. As natural, the child will obviously look for guidance and look up towards their mother as their role model. However, if the mother is not a good role model, this can affect the next generation and the generations following because the following child will always learn from their mother and believe it’s the right way or the right thing to do therefore act upon it, which may be different to how other mothers would act upon.

3- Also like in tests, school and revision, after one has learnt something, there is a high possibility that they forget it by sometime afterwards. Can this still show that they have learnt?

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Some traumatic experiences will cause the person to learn/understand even after they have received help and probably remember for life, however like examples raised earlier like on a maths test. One may revise for the test, learn how to answer questions and pass the test but after a while (like 3 months) they may forget how to solve the same questions. If they forget, even if they have learnt in the past, can this really show that they are learning?

Homework; ToK Blog self study:

The death of photography: are camera phones destroying an art form?

From this article, I understood that in our current generation where iPhone’s have dominated in technology and in the world, more people are using it to take photographs on a daily basis, and is expressed as “the world is downing in images”. The author of this article talks in a critical manner raising some examples such that¬†1- Professional photographers are less employed and less appreciated. 2- encourages narcissistic behaviour/attitude. 3- “photo-taking impairment effect” where psychologists explain as how if we take photos with our phone we are less likely to remember because we think that we have a digital memory of it 4- iPhone taking away one’s experience of being in the moment because they are too concentrated on trying to take a photo. 5- taking photos with iPhone an digital cameras are described as being “lazy” because the person taking the photo believes ‘oh one of these photos will work’ and takes multiple photos by pushing the button a couple of times rather than concentrating on capturing the one special image.

For me personally I understand where the author is coming from and I agree with the author’s voice however I also believe that the rise in iPhone and more convenient technologies to take quick photos should still be appreciated. I believe despite Instagram and iPhone selfies dominating the world, in the end, people will still appreciate the beauty of photography with professional cameras. How do I know this? Simply because I have seen it with my own eyes. My sense perception of sight gives me a clear understanding that despite iPhone selfies as quick and fun, at the end of the day, if I want a high resolution good quality image that I can blow up 20 times it’s original size and not be pixilated I would need to take that photo with a professional camera.