July 16, 2013

Adapting Our Learning Styles


I was reading an article in a past issue of The New York Times about a past race for Governor of California, but it was one particular part of that article that reminded me of the importance of adaptation to learning and self-education.

Gavin Newson, the then current Mayor of San Francisco, was running as a candidate for Governor of California. Part of the article mentions Newsom’s own particular style of self-education that he’s developed over many years. According to the article, Newson dealt with severe dyslexia as a child and this resulted in him needing to constantly re-read, underline, and otherwise markup what he’s read in order to identify the important points. He then has someone type up what he’s underlined to produce an abbreviated set of notes that he studies and refers to, a sort of CliffNotes.

The most important take away from this is that Newson cleverly and appropriately “adapted” his learning style to accommodate his particular situation. It is only by adapting that any of us can optimally learn. No two of us on Earth learn best in exactly the same way. We’re unique individuals and our approaches to self-education should be unique and individualistic in any ways that produce better learning. In the article, when Newson is quoted about learning, he said we adapt “in ways that can nurture creative solutions.” I love that quote. Creative solutions are what self-education is all about. How do we each learn best? What strategies can each of us use to best educate ourselves? To use an overused term, we all need to “think outside the box” to create solutions that help us learn best.

We can all learn from Gavin Newson’s example of adaptation. I encourage you to do the same.

If anyone reading this has their own particular unique creative learning solutions, I’d love to hear about them.

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