How do we learn what we learn? – Understanding how our minds work
Before we can understand the world around us we must understand ourselves. One key aspect of self-understanding for an agroecologist is our personal approach to learning. It is crucial as autonomous learners that we know best how we internalize information so we can be confident when we must find something out for ourselves and validate our learning. A seminal figure for understanding how we approach learning is David Kolb and his learning cycle, which you will hear about many times this semester. The above diagram depicts Kolb’s Learning Cycle, divided into four quadrants that represent stages of learning: Accommodating, Diverging, Converging, and Assimilating. Reflecting on how you process information and your emotional response to it might benefit you for drawing connections, digesting content, arriving at conclusions how we process information and our emotional response to it. This process of metacognition, thinking about thinking, is important when we want to improve our learning and identify our knowledge gaps.
We each build our own world for understanding our experiences. This means our self-knowledge about our learning landscape not only makes us better learners, but it also helps us understand what we bring to the table. When we think about our learning this way, we see that all of us have something unique to bring to our collective work.