Today’s article is in some way a continuation of the previous two, and we will continue to talk about life, learning and words. How learning affects how happy we can feel, what role in life in general and in learning in particular is played by the words we hear, read, and pronounce. It seems incredible that even words we think are known and familiar can cause confusion and misunderstanding. It is common practice – in schools and in self-reading – that we encounter a new concept while reading a text, but do not even try to find out what it means by trying to guess the context. We were taught at school that it can always be done. Is that right? Imagine you came to the first lecture for future photographers on portrait photography. After acquaintance and opening speech the teacher says: “At the last exhibition I saw a portrait of an old man against a log wall. It turned out just fine, despite the fact that the structure of this man’s head was quite complicated to shoot. The left side of his face with this old man’s scar and the huge left ear that was visible in this picture would have blocked out the whole perception from his expression. But the photographer used a French flag when taking the picture, and that solved the problem. So, for the next class, try to bring a self-made portrait photo that would repeat this effect. Take your French flag for the next class, we will work with it in our studio. If you can’t find it in the shop, make it yourself. I was just passing the shop around the corner this morning, they got the right fabric. See you next time.” You’ll probably feel a little confused. Wow! Is the flag of France capable of performing such miracles? Or maybe a Russian flag could do the trick? Actually, you wouldn’t have a single question and you could easily complete this task. But only if you understand every word of this text. If not, you would have problems. Words that you do not understand do not allow you to act in the field you are studying. Right now, you can check that statement. To do this, stop (do not read the article any further) and try to do the photography teacher’s job. Read more carefully! Focus! (Standard advice from schoolteacher, institute teacher, parents… Don’t you think so?) How’s it going? Words that you do not fully and correctly understand can cause certain physical and mental reactions such as confusion, headache, rubber in the eyes, and others. The above passage is not so big that these feelings will manifest themselves in full. But you will be able to notice reactions like those described when you study a subject that you do not like or understand very much. If you have experienced any of these feelings when reading or rereading the example, you probably did not understand the word combination … “French flag”. In fact, this word combination, like many “ordinary words”, has more than one meaning. The French flag is a piece of black (usually cotton) fabric about 25 by 40 cm, stretched on a wire frame, which is placed above a person’s head 35-50 cm from him and which dims the light falling from the spotlight to make some parts of the face less visible. Now reread what the teacher said and if you have tried his task, remember what you did and compare it to what the teacher would expect from you. Now you would probably be able to do his task. You can imagine exactly what you have to do, can’t you? Once a person understands all the words correctly, he can act and his actions will also be correct, causing the desired effect.
The learning technology describes several ways of clarifying words, each of which is used for its own situation. However, the whole technology does not stop there. It includes knowledge of the obstacles and obstacles to learning, as well as ways to overcome them, technology for demonstrating and verifying learning, technology for presenting material, and even organizational aspects of effective learning. These tools are very precise. Just as you know that if your mobile phone’s battery indicator is close to zero and you need to plug it in for charging, you can know exactly what to do if you or your student suddenly start to sleep behind a textbook, instruction manual or lecture. And you take exactly that tool from the whole arsenal, which corrects this particular situation.
Perhaps you are interested in how this technology came about. The short story is this. An American humanist, philosopher, writer, man of a very wide range of fields, whose name was Lafayette, Ronald Hubbard encountered that he could not always pass on his knowledge to people who wanted to learn from him. Somebody grabbed it all pretty quickly and immediately began to act with consistently excellent results, somebody sometimes got unsatisfactory results for some reason, and sometimes there were people who didn’t work out as well as don’t scold them, don’t explain in any words, get out of your skin. Looking at all that was available in the field of education at the time (those were the 1960s of the last 20th century), Hubbard found nothing to guarantee that the process of appropriation of information by another person and his ability to act in a new field. At that time, he researched the causes of educational failure on his own, and problems were soon identified, classified and exact remedies provided. The technology was described and transferred to classrooms. Later, educators who wanted to apply the technology in their schools became interested in it. They founded an organization called “Applied Education”. Over time, other similar organizations have emerged, and now they all form a worldwide network that has the same name. All you need to do to learn the technology is to contact any of the organizations in the Applied Scholastics network. To get to know each other for the first time, it may be enough to buy one of the textbooks describing the basics of technology of learning, but ordinary reading of this textbook cannot replace a good course: learning theory and practice on the material you have learned. Just as reading a maths textbook or a maths lecture cannot make you compute, it requires practice, however simple the theory may seem. Math example: there are certain rules for fast addition and multiplication (fast computation). But simply by reading them, you are unlikely to be able to get ahead of the person who is counting on a calculator or computer. And it’s easy enough to practice it. As they say, they know how to do Thais. To multiply two 4-6-digit numbers for them in a couple of seconds is a trifle! Practice is very important. In addition to training your abilities, practice is a way to get rid of false positions in theory. However, this is a topic for future articles.