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My Formal Educational Experience and Its Role in My Life

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Every student has their own preferred learning style through which they ingest, handle, grasp, and maintain accumulated information. There are three primary learning styles by which students can easily remember lessons. They are comprised of the following types of learners: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Likewise, the K-12 educational system is fundamental to formal institutional education in the United States. It lasts twelve years beginning at age 5 and ends around age 18. Compulsory schooling, however, finishes by age 16 in many states. States where mandatory schooling exceeds age 16, stipulate that students continue to go to school until they are 17 or 18. All kids in the United States enjoy free government-funded schools state-funded schools have likewise depended intensely on regional property taxation to meet the immense bulk of school costs. Non-public schools are accessible, yet students or their parents must pay the price of tuition to go to them. Additionally, tuition-based schools (private) consider only skilled and capable kids, and misstate-funded schools have advanced programs and classes. I have experienced formal American institutional education along with all three of the learning styles; in doing so I uncovered my dominant learning style (visual/auditory) as well as my least prevailing learning style (kinesthetic).

Throughout most of my high school years, I had a strong preference for visual and auditory learning. This means that I found it easier to understand and recall information if I can make use of both these methods. Ultimately, the method that I preferred to use depended on the situation and circumstances at hand. For instance, I used this learning style in English, Maths, Science, and History. My high school English teachers did not write on the board at all if my recollection is accurate. On the few occasions where we took notes, the teacher would project the notes outline on the board and would either type in the notes or have them already filled in for students to copy down. After all, math teachers used the whiteboards to write words, numbers, equations, and so on. Likewise, science teachers had students take a considerable number of notes due to the specialized vocabulary and complexities of the subject. This can be seen with history teachers too because there are lots of important historical events for students to study and comprehend. In short, teachers in all these subject areas (excluding math) didn’t write notes on a chalkboard or a whiteboard. In fact, they didn’t have to bother writing notes while teaching because they would project a prepared PowerPoint presentation on the board with information in bullet points, discuss each slide, and students wrote down what was in bullet points onto their paper or the provided notes outline. I recall during my freshman year of English that I wrote two essays in total, a narrative essay about myself for the fall semester. The other one was about socio-economic classes during the spring semester, which I completed entirely outside of school over the weekend. As for every other year of high school English, I don’t recall having to ever write or work on essays for homework. Homework was given daily in math except for Friday when we took a quiz or test. Science courses frequently handed out homework, but not on the same basis as math courses. On the contrary, the usual amount of work assigned outside of history courses was moderate. While going through memory lane, I can only recall a handful of courses where notetaking was a weekly or biweekly occurrence. This can be seen during my sophomore year when I was taking a year-long world history course. Out of all my high school classes, this was by far the one that I took the most notes because I can distinctly recall filling out an entire notebook for that course. Notetaking was extremely helpful in this course because the tests had numerous multiple choices, shoranswerser, and essay questions relating to the notes. In some of the science courses, a notes packet was distributed that followed the PowerPoint with a good portion already on paper with fill-in blanks and empty lines while the teacher gave their presentation. Yet, other science courses provided a note outline. The outline itself had the title of every slide that students were to take notes on while the teacher discussed the relevant information. History was the only subject area that didn’t provide a notes packet or outline, which required the student to have their own paper to write notes on. Furthermore, many teachers would assign projects and oral presentations, which were usually counted as much as a test or essay in trade book ok. Over the entirety of my time in high school, there were vast quantities of worksheets assigned in well over sixty percent of all my courses at the very least. From my personal experience, worksheets were a staple in a multitude of courses at my high school. Indeed, worksheets helped me to practice what I learned in class and I would use them to help me study for an upcoming test. A prime example of this can be seen with a course that I took called business law. The teacher in this course gave the class a worksheet packet twice a week that could be answered by reading the corresponding lesson in the textbook. He would pass out the packets to each student, then gave us instructions on what we were to do. Next, he would tell us to complete the packet and turn it in toto him for grading by a certain date. We had the whole class period to take notes out of the textbook and/or work on the worksheet packet. Then, he went back and sat at his desk and would occasionally tell the class to quiet down and to work on their assignment if it was too loud in the classroom. He initially gave lectures early in the semester using PowerPoint presentations but stopped when the class elected just to work on the worksheet packets. Each packet would have three worksheets covering one lessofromof the chapter from the textbook. The last page was a web quest assignment with questions related to the lesson that required online research to complete. These worksheet packets were the minor grades for the course. We would take a major test every two to three weeks. After I received my graded worksheet packets, the answers to the questions that I missed were provided for me and I used them to study substantially for tests. The final exam was a written test worth 15% of the final grade for the course and it wasn’t even cumulative. I’ve never been in a high school course where we essentially completed worksheets and took tests for the whole semester. Finally, usage of textbooks inside and outside the classroom was a rather rare occurrence because most of the coursework was done in the classroom and many of the course assignments did not revolve around the textbook. There were very few occasions in high school where I had to take a textbook home frequently. These occasions involved the following courses and/or subjects: algebra I, plane geometry, algebra II, three years of English, and one year of sociology. Every day that I attended high school, excluding lecture/note-taking day, teachers would do one or more of the following: have the class watch a related educational video, project, oral presentation, an essay, or pass out a new worksheet. There would also be entire class periods devoted to merely working on assignments, commonly known as workdays.

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Despite being extremely adept at visual and auditory learning, I suffer from a deficiency in kinesthetic learning. This means that I am not the type of person to learn best by doing or experiencing something. However, this doesn’t mean I am utterly incapable of this type of learning because I’ve had some success with this method to varying situations and activities. During my high school years, I didn’t perform splendidly well in courses such s: P.E (Physical Education) or gym, art, and photography. Namely, in gym class, I performed poorly in the sports-related activities and the pacer fitness test because they required me to exercise and practice extensively to excel at them. Regarding art and photography, I lack creativity and imagination, as well as hands-on skills and experience.

My dominant learning style is comprised of two elements: visual and auditory. As a visual student, I adapt best to learning when information is introduced to me in a written manner or through diagrams and pictures. I like to read the textbook as opposed to tuning in to a lecture to acquire greater knowledge and understanding. An instructor who utilizes a ton of visual guides, for example, notes on the board, show a video about the topic in class, or worksheets are less demanding for me to comprehend than one who just talks. As an auditory student, I adapt best to learning when I can hear information, for example, lectures and group discussions. From my experiences in high school, science courses are best suited for auditory learners because teachers verbally speak during lectures and students communicate with each other when they perform labs and projects. I comprehend and recall things better if I hear them. Furthermore, I can understand better when I read out loud to myself. Therefore, it naturally follows that noises are distracting to me, which is why I study in my quiet room.

To begin with, Mike Rose wrote in “From I Just Wanna Be Average” that “Students float to the mark you set.” In writing this sentence, he meant that students have little to no aspirations to go above the standard guidelines/expectations that are set for them. From my experience, I cannot agrey with his statement. However, I will acknowledge that there is an element of truth in his claim that “Students float to the mark you set.” Indeedsome students willll merely do the bare minimum expected of them to pass and graduate. On the other hand, other students strive to be better than the average student and do extremely well and graduate with high honors. This applies to me directly since I rarely settle for an average grade if possible. I was taught from a young age by my parents to attempt to excel in my academic studies because it would lead to more opportunities and prosperous life. When I attended high school, a reasonable number of classrooms had the traditional layout of all desks arranged in rows and columns facing the front. Nonetheless, this format could serve to limit students’ interaction with one another and make them hesitant to ask questions. While in high school, I would do one of the following: raise my hand to ask the teacher, approach the teacher directly, or ask someone sitting next to me for assistance. In contrast, other classrooms had desks facing the other half of the class and some rooms would only have tables for students to sit at. These classroom formats are much better suited for encouraging group collaboration, building interpersonal skills, and being able to ask questions freely in an open and welcoming environment. I had a few social science courses where students would be divided into two halves of the classroom with a large open space in the middle. When I took a science course, there would be tables instead of desks because desks took up too much space for lab equipment. Regarding the banking system of education, Paulo Freire from chapter two of “Pedagogy of The Oppressed” stated, “It attempts to control the thinking and action, leads women and men to adjust to the world, and inhibits their creative power.” In my opinion, the banking approach to education as Freire describes is extremely accurate based on my experiences in formal American institutional education. The instructor is the oppressor who retains control during teaching. The student, however, is expected to follow. As the follower, a student is to be acquiescent and not think individually. Though, problem-posing is a method that could correct the deficiencies of the banking system by encouraging thinking in students through open dialogue between student and teacher. The physical layout of a classroom is of utmost importance to the problem-posing method because it can inhibit or facilitate students’ interaction with one another. A good example of this can be seen when I took geometry and algebra II. These classrooms would have four desks put together to form a table. Consequently, students worked on solving math problems without too much reliance from the teacher as they had their peers aid them in their endeavors. This classroom seat configuration made the problem-posing method effective to some degree so long as there was at least one student in the group that knew how to do the math and solves problems. Regardless, the physical layout of the classroom would revert to the traditional row and column style on test days to reduce the likelihood of cheating among students.

In conclusion, my dominant learning style of visual/auditory learning enabled me to succeed in high school. This method continues to aid me to this day in my college studies. Unfortunately, kinesthetic learning continues to elude me. The physical layout of classrooms can be a hindrance or a constructive advantage. The same could be said of the banking system of education and teachers should be assessed on their ability to teach as well as their subject matter. I think the education system should incorporate both the banking method of education and the problem-posing method into our schools since foundational knowledge and group collaboration are necessities in the learning process as well as in the real world.

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