natural learning

In my experience, learning is talked about outside of education on a regular basis. My husband is learning the banjo and I am learning the washboard. My parents (in their 60รข€™s) are taking college
classes and so are my nieces and nephews.

I work in an upholstery shop and this past week one of our delivery guys was out sick and we brought in a temp. He has a full-time job but works temp jobs, he said, because he loves to learn new things. He's excited to be learning about how furniture is put together. It's one of the things I love about the job - even my boss, who's been doing this for 40yrs, still finds new things to learn.

When I used to work retail, I worked in a fabric store and by far the best part of the job was that every day, or nearly, someone would say "I've never done this before." Sometimes it was said with trepidation and a plea for help, other times with gusto: Whoopee! I've never done this before! It was magical.

Here is a question for you: How does one learn without some kind of external
stimulus? Yes, learning is very much an internal process but there must be
something there for the child to learn.
In a way, it's a trick question because learning is a kind of... interface between the internal and the external. It's part of how we organize perception. Learning is an internal process in the sense that it depends utterly on our perceptions - that's what makes education so tricky, you can control the stimulus to an extent, but not how it will be perceived. But because learning depends on perception it's heavily affected by the external world... just not all parts of the world equally.

That's a big piece of the puzzle in "atypical neurology". It isn't that some people learn differently so much as that some people take in a different subset of perceptual information and that affects learning. But in a sense Every person's subset of perceptual information is at least slightly different from every other person's - that's why people at the same events remember them differently.

I think my discomfort may also come from the fact that I tend to use things in my environment to remember stuff. An example is when I learned to drive a 5 speed. When I think about that, I think of my dad and the neighborhood where I practiced. My dad showed me how to do it and then let me drive around the neighborhood on my own. I learned how to drive that car but that was sparked by something in the environment. (I am not sure if that is making any sense.)
Yes! That's exactly what I mean by subsets of perceptual information!

I remember taking a dance class as a kid where I learned a set of moves all from one part of the room, always facing the same direction. Then the teacher tested us in another part of the room facing a different direction and I couldn't do any of them at all... until I closed my eyes. It's one of the tricks people with dyslexia in the written form use for figuring out which way a letter faces - closing the eyes, I mean.

Similarly, when I'm learning something on the piano (I'm not any kind of pianist, I just barely dabble in it) I always have a big leap of confusion when I try to learn something with one hand first and then add the second hand. All the "data" is different when I'm using both hands and I remember the piece in terms of the relationship of movement between my two hands - a relationship that doesn't exist when I'm only playing one at a time.

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