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Graduate Reflections

Reflections: Graduate students reflect on the impact of the Let Me Learn Process on themselves and others

When most people think of the classroom, they think of elementary or secondary students. In addition to these, graduate students too have learning experiences. These are reflections by graduate students who are now present school administrators. They wrote these reflections while in attending Dr. Christine A. Johnston’s courses in Educational Leadership.

Vicki Tomasco
Lynda V. Browne-Kidd, Rowan University
An Anonymous Student, Queen’s University, Northern Ireland, UK
Orla McKinley, Student, Queen’s University, Northern Ireland, UK
Eimear Elliott, Student, Queen’s University, Northern Ireland, UK
Monica Dannenberger
Keith Patterson
Personal Reflections On Myself As A Learner, George Engle
Personal Reflection on Experience with Let Me Learn by Janice McGrath
Personal Reflection by Donnamarie Wojtko, a school counselor at Lumberton School District, Lumberton, NJ, USA
Michelle Robertson, Rowan University
Angelina Tofani, Rowan University
Reflection of Learning, Joe DePalma, former principal at Dorothy L. Bullock Elementary in Glassboro, NJ, USA
Joann Shilinsky, Rowan University
Steve Mallory’s reflection

Vicki Tomasco

As I come to the end of this graduate course, I am excited about the fact that not only have I learned more about myself as a learner, but also, I have come to better understand my fellow Administrators. I have been with this school district for a relatively short period of time, and I already knew the people with whom I work are a dedicated, caring group. It usually takes quite a long period of time to get to know colleagues and how they like to work. Spending time with the Administrative Team with the Let Me Learn project has given me a great opportunity to get to know these people on a more intimate level.

I have learned about each person’s learning patterns, how they like to work, and what types of assignments are important to them. I think this is a valuable tool. Debbie, our Curriculum Director, will soon leave our district to become a Superintendent. She has expressed an interest in getting to know her new staff using “Let Me Learn.” When a course ends, it is usually soon forgotten. The Let Me Learn concept will not only be remembered, but I believe I will continue to use it and hopefully continue to gain more practical knowledge in the future. I have also come to believe that educators seem to use the Sequential and Precise patterns more widely than the Technical and Confluent patterns. Recognizing this may help us gain better understanding of why students with these patterns seem to be more successful and why educators need to focus on alternative teaching methods to include other types of learners.

If I had one criticism of this course it would be that a sixteen-week semester would allow more time for in depth study. I feel as if the time has passed too rapidly and I still have so many questions and so much more to learn.

Lynda V. Browne-Kidd, Rowan University

Reflection #1: Who Am I As A Learner?

Well, change is ever-present. When I realized that I had to take the Learning Connections Inventory (LCI, Johnson & Dainton, 1997) again, the first thing that came to my mind is “How in the world can retaking the LCI be any different from the last time?” As I was taking the LCI this time, I was more deliberate in my responses, more in tune with myself. I really thought about each statement and how it related to me. I thought that if I really took my time, perhaps took more time than before, the “real me” would come out. My scores would be drastically different. I was wrong. When I tallied up the numbers, they were still very close.

Here were my scores from February 2000 July 1998, and April 1998, respectively:

Sequential 28 26 22

Precise 32 30 28

Technical 31 32 33

Confluent 28 27 28

I appreciate the non-threatening manner that the LCI obtains the information. Looking at the table and comparing my LCI scores over two years, I see myself in a very universal way. The scores validate that although we may change, we really stay the same. At this time, in my school and educational career, preciseness is very necessary for me to keep things in perspective and manageable. Sequence has taken a back seat because I usually have so much to juggle. Doing a few things at a time is alright with me. If I had to complete one thing first before starting on something new, I would never get anything done.

As I come to a better understanding of myself, how I do things, think, interact with people, and deal with all the other necessary “evils” of life, I am sure of one thing. My ability to know my combinations and have them surface when needed, each one sometimes dominating at different times, is an asset. The real challenge for me is to be sure that my patterns do not dominate others, so as not to offend, but to aid in their development and mine. Isn’t that truly what collegial leadership is all about? Leadership that I think brings results and exchanges that ultimately benefit all learners.

Student, Queen’s University, Northern Ireland, UK

I was dubious about the LCI concept at first but after completing the LCI, my views changed. The idea that people approach learning differently was intriguing, as I have often wondered why it was difficult to retain facts or write essays in the accepted form. I discovered it was not a defect, but simply a difference. When I was at school. my ideas were often ridiculed and I was left wondering why, but now I have discovered that I have a technical learning preference.

I can now understand why some pupils . . . ask questions or give information which seems irrelevant. I now will be able to reassure pupils who constantly demand it, and not see it as a ploy by them to obtain more attention. . . . It was also helpful to learn that teachers do not need to teach sequentially to achieve good grades but that a variety of approaches proves to be more effective. Pupils can change their learning preferences to adapt to a new teacher, and this can partly explain why there is a need for a “settling in period” at the start.

I have learnt a great deal about different learning preferences and my interest has been awakened.

Orla McKinley, Student, Queen’s University, Northern Ireland, UK

For the last number of years I have been coasting along in a state of quiet acquiescence, never questioning what I have been doing, never experiencing self doubt. The module has provided a much needed opportunity for introspection. My classroom practices have been insular and restrictive. They have assumed that learners learn in much the same way and that each lesson should have a uniform tangible outcome. Facts and testing were of greater importance than learners and learning processes.

I now realize the need to have recourses to a variety of teaching strategies to meet the needs of individual learners. I no longer think, ‘I hope David knows this’ but rather ‘how can I teach this in a way that David understands it’. In arriving at this understanding, I have thought about many issues. These include the prescribed curriculum, which fails to take into account that pupils learn in a variety of ways, the need for shared expertise and the implications this has for the management of staff and resources within schools and the need for teacher training and in-service to promote greater understanding in the way that pupils learn. I look forward to putting into practice the knowledge that I have acquired in the hope that it will improve teaching and learning within my classroom.

Using the LCI has helped me understand how children prefer to learn best by identifying their individual pattern of learning preferences. This in itself has been of particular value to me but the implications for me as a teacher have been much greater. I have had to stand back and assess myself as a teacher. I discovered I need to change my practice. I needed to change my attitude towards the pupils. I had to move away from concentrating only on what I had to teach and look at how I taught and how the children learn.

Eimear Elliott, Student, Queen’s University, Northern Ireland, UK

Conducting the LCI has developed my awareness of the diverse range of connections and patterns encompassed within the process of learning, and has reinforced for me the idea that learning is an interactive process of cognition, conation and affection, as opposed to just cognition. This knowledge of pupil learning preferences which the LCI has afforded me has highlighted the need for a more effective employment of specific techniques and strategies to help pupils facilitate their learning in more appropriate and relevant ways. Now that I have gained this insight into the variability of learning preferences among different children, and more specifically within my class, I think I can be more understanding, more flexible, and hopefully more patient as a teacher. I have gained an overwhelming sense of empathy, which I feel will enable me to be much more accepting of others, and their needs for learning.

Monica Dannenberger

HURRY, HURRY! Step right up to the Circus of Life! We have learners of every pattern performing amazing feats of sequence, precision, technical skill and confluence.

You’ll see two groups weaving their patterns together in a death-defying show of collaboration and teamwork. And in the center ring, all alone and needing no one, is the amazing Three-Patterned Woman, using Sequence, Precision and Confluence at will. Watch how she takes over the show! Watch…wait! Her self-constructed pedestal seems to be collapsing! Yes, she’s down, ladies and gentlemen – this learner forgot that she avoids anything technical. Oh, well, back to ring one . . .

Of course, it’s not that simple. I always knew that I enjoyed words, details, and order from beginning to end of a project. I also knew that I could come up with a more interesting way to do many tasks, and that I enjoyed the learning much more if I let myself forget the “right way” and tried something new. I was successful in school without being a noted scholar. Loved English. Hated math. Distrusted tools and scientific equipment. All in all I was a fairly typical girl student of my ordered, desks in a row learning environment. I graduated from high school convinced that I must do something with books and reading, because that was where my talent lay.

Four years later, armed with a BA in English and a not very real desire to work in a publishing house, I gathered up the man that everyone of my generation said was the real college goal for girls of my generation and came to Southern New Jersey. Not a publishing house in sight, so I spent a year in the auditing department of the local Sears store, knowing that this was not where my educational compass had meant to lead me.

Grabbing the first chance to get out, I began work as an aide at a brand new elementary school. I was soon back in college and seeing myself for the first time as a “learner”, finding in my courses a safe outlet for my need to approach things in new ways, and being mostly validated by the more confluent world of elementary education. I appreciated the sequence of courses and wondered why I enjoyed tests while fearing them. I was fortunate to have several professors who encouraged thinking “outside the box”,” although I did not know the term then. I happily joined the ranks of creative, child-loving first grade teachers. It could have been enough, but for some reason it wasn’t. I didn’t understand why I needed change so often and became bored so easily within the constraints of the existing curriculum and methodology.

When I finally returned to college, this time for a master’s degree in administration, I found Let Me Learn, and the pieces began to come together. The Learning Connections Inventory showed me where I began my learning and where I avoided it. It showed me the restless, confluent part of myself, and explained why I was so comfortable with details. I learned to reflect on myself as a learner and to accept and understand where others began their learning. Frustration with children’s seemingly endless resistance to learning and with colleagues’ inability to understand my perfectly simple (to me!) explanations gave way to understanding and new energy.

I now understand that I am not the last word in learning. I am firmly committed to the cooperative learning process for adults as well as students. I know from study that adult study groups are essential in the practice of teaching, and I know from Let Me Learn that learning is not a matter of bringing teachers together and turning them loose to reflect. I understand a lot of things, but as a learner I am just beginning.

Keith Patterson

S= 23, P= 19, T=20, and C=26.

I am a learner. I am making that statement for the first time because I have a new appreciation for the word and the processes involved in how individuals can learn.

In my first 16 years of formal education, my teachers, parents and I considered me a poor student because I could not force myself to pay attention in my classes. I set goals for myself, budgeted my time, organized my life, but I only did what I had to do to get by. This caused me to attain marginal grades and few accolades. I was considered a smart kid who didn’t work, a lazy student squandering the gift that God gave him. Diane Heacox would label me a Complacent Underachiever and some doctors would have labeled me ADD. Needless to say, my self-esteem has not always been high.

Even now, as I write this, I am exhibiting the same tendencies! I read only the pages in Let Me Learn, looked at only the few links on the Let Me Learn site that I needed to look at, and skimmed over a couple of old textbooks I had to get the quotes for this paper that I needed. I am typing off of the top of my head. I have not made an outline or even a rough copy, but for the first time I now begin to see WHY I function in this manner and that it is not necessarily bad. A young lady in my group, whose name I can’t recall because precision is not one of my high patterns, spent the first five minutes of our group time asking the group to define the assignment over and over again. I stared at her in disbelief for the first few minutes. “Who cares?” I thought. Then I began to get worried. She and the others were making the assignment much more complicated than I believed it to be. Was I missing something? It was then that I looked at her scores on the Learning Connections Inventory, noticed the instructor’s interest in the conversation, and began to piece together that her learning style was affecting her reaction to the assignment. My lackadaisical attitude about the assignment’s details and my annoyance at my group members were a result of a difference in not only how we learn in class, but in how we perceive the world.

Learning, I began to realize, was not being defined by the instructor as the knowledge drilled into our skulls, but encompassed everything in which we engage. On my trip home, I cogitated on this new appreciation of what learning is and how learning processes affect our perceptions. I applied this new appreciation to my role as a father, husband, teacher, student, and supervisor. I began to hypothesize as to the LCI’s of my family, friends, students and colleagues. I began to appreciate that the annoying things they do could be affected by their learning processes and that I now had a tool to help decipher them. I started thinking about the in-service our district is planning that includes Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. I began to wonder if we really have different intelligences or are they simply manifestations of our learning processes? Do we learn best in certain modalities because of our learning processes? I started thinking of a thousand questions to ask, but I had no intention of looking them up myself.

Reflecting on that experience, I now believe that my personal learning comes from varied and fascinating areas of my life and mostly not in a desk during a lecture or in a textbook. I believe that I learn best through careful study of and discussions about my surroundings followed by quiet time to ingest, dissect, contemplate, and then discuss what I have witnessed. I have often said that I need a tape recorder in my car and now I see why. I am not now or ever have been interested in book knowledge, which has made my education laborious at times. The things that I wish to explore are people’s opinions, beliefs, tragedies, accomplishments and ideas, rather than facts and figures mired in tedious lectures in dreary auditoriums.

I also know that others do not necessarily feel this way. In discussing class with Chrissy, I found that she does enjoy those types of experiences. I now know that people will ask me 400 questions in a search for details because they are precise. I know that people may avoid discussing solutions to problems in faculty meetings because they are technical and I know that some people need detailed instructions or they can’t proceed because they are sequential. In order to be a better teacher, father, husband, supervisor, etc., I now know that I need to take learning processes into account in my everyday encounters with individuals, that I need to learn how to identify learning style patterns in people, and that I need to learn more about how the different combinations of learning style patterns affect how individuals interact with their environment.

I also know that I need to revisit material that I have previously been exposed to regarding learning processes and review it with my newfound understanding. This is because, then and now, “we all learn differently. The lessons we learn are different. Thus, there is no right or wrong (teaching) strategy, but rather the mismatching of strategies and learners.” When I first read these words, I thought they were my Get Out of Jail Free Card. I thought the textbook was giving me license to try any method I was comfortable with to teach kids. I now know that I was rationalizing my confluence. The authors are actually challenging us to tolerate the learning processes of others and to reach all of our students in spite of the differences in their learning processes and ours. So I can improvise, but I have to plan to meet the needs of the other learners; be they teachers, family members, students, or group members.

Personal Reflections On Myself As A Learner, George Engle

My first fifteen years of formal education were, in short, uneventful. I went to school when I was told, where I was told and did what I was told; longing for the last bell so I could get on with more interesting pursuits. The names and faces changed year to year but the drill was the same; so I played the game and got by doing nothing more than the bare minimum. I wasn’t lazy, between flying airplanes, drag racing and playing ice hockey, school with all its reading and writing just didn’t seem interesting.

After visiting the Let Me Learn Web site and completing the Learning Connections Inventory (Johnston and Dainton, 1997), I have some insight into my feelings toward my formal education. My lack of interest in school was not a reflection on my school, my teachers or myself. Rather, it was a reflection on school as an institution and the importance society places on words as a measure of success or failure in school.

Schools, as an institution, seat people in neat rows before a teacher who is attempting to fill student’s empty heads with the knowledge s/he has attained in his/her seventeen or more years of schooling. Students, for the most part, are expected to sit quietly, listen, take notes, study those notes and regurgitate them on test day as proof they have learned. Unfortunately, words are not my tool-of-preference. I do not place them on a pedestal as school and society does. To me words are, at best, a clumsy way of communicating. This, along with a score of thirty-four in Technical Processing on the LCI probably, in part, explains my interest in mathematics and the sciences; it may be why I teach physics. It may also explain why I can’t spell or read very fast or do many of the things schools deem important. My conative tool belt wasn’t empty; it just wasn’t filled with the tools you need for school.

Personal Reflection on Experience with Let Me Learn by Janice McGrath

1. What have I learned…

a. about myself as a learner? I have learned that I use my technical processing first, followed by my sequential processing and I use precise and confluent processing as needed. I do not avoid any pattern and that is most likely why I don’t shy away from any task. I like being the one who figures a problem out, which is my highly technical side shining through. I like working alone but adapt fairly easily to working with groups. I am a person of very few words in verbal and written communication. This always seemed like a negative trait, and now I can attribute it to my technical processing. I have been able to give reason and understanding to the way that I learn.

b. about myself as a teacher? Through Let Me Learn, I have been given a different, clearer vision of my students. I find myself listening to my students more and dealing more individually with them. I think that incorporating Let Me Learn into my teaching will give me an advantage to reaching the at-risk student population that I work with.

c. about my students as learners? The knowledge and power that Let Me Learn gives to the students will give each and every one of them a better chance at success. By understanding the different learning patterns, the students seem to be much more accepting of others. When the students can identify what strengths they have and can offer to the group, cooperation among the group ‘s members is evident.

2. What have I used from what I have learned? Let Me Learn has opened my eyes to many different things. I have been working with the same group of first grade students all year, and since introducing Let Me Learn to the class I feel that I am just getting to know them and their learning patterns. So much of what was confusing, frustrating and just a mystery has come to light for me as a teacher. I am looking forward to using Let Me Learn in the upcoming school year. I do believe that when the students can identify their learning patterns as well as the patterns of others, learning for them will be more exciting and fulfilling As a teacher, I will take in to consideration the learning patterns of my students as well as my own and adjust assignments and lessons to better accommodate the different learning patterns.

3. What remains unclear to me? So much remains unclear, but I will delve into this with every part of me and discover the clarity I need. The technical processor in me says the more I incorporate Let Me Learn into my teaching, the clearer the answers will become. Learn by doing.

Personal Reflection by Donnamarie Wojtko

It was very enlightening to take the Learning Connections Inventory and to be able to identify myself as a learner. I can remember thinking, as a student, that there must be a better way to teach, but I never really thought about the possibility that I had a unique preferred way of learning. According to Johnston’s Web site information (1998) there are three mental processes, cognition, conation and affectation within each person and these processes “form patterns of behavior within each learner. These patterns consists of sequence, precision, technical reasoning and confluence.” Each learner uses these four patterns to differing degrees and therefore possesses their own unique learning process. (Johnston 1998) This paper will strive to give a brief account of my own learning processes and my introspection as a learner.

My graduate class was asked to complete a Learning Connections Inventory. The outcome of my learning combination was as follows: technical processing – 34, sequential processing – 27, confluent processing – 20, and precise processing 15. According to these results, technical and sequential processing are the preferred way I like to approach learning. I sometimes will use confluent processing but will try to avoid using the schema of precise processing.

When I understood what this meant to me as a student in school, I almost cried. I do learn best when I can build and create; I need to know the value of the subject in the real world; and I become easily distracted when I sit in a lecture. (technical processing) I am frustrated when I have to take notes and the teacher talks so fast that I can’t write everything down. I do need to know complete directions before I feel comfortable with an assignment and need to feel I have time to complete the assignment or my thought process shuts down.(sequential processing) I thought maybe there was something wrong with me! I have struggled through many classes and have gone through much stress but persevered in school because my parents emphasized the importance of a good education.

The following validates my preferred learning schema of technical processing. I can remember being in class and asking the teacher why I needed to learn geometry. Instead of explaining the practical applications of the subject, he ignored me. I did horribly in the class until I helped my father build a set of stairs. He remarked that he wished he knew how long to make the stringer. I realized I had learned the formula to find the measurement! My grades in geometry soared, there was now a reason to learn this subject. Wouldn’t it have been better for me to feel empowered sooner? I love to problem solve real problems that seem impossible to solve and use creative solutions. (For example, I love solving problems in our school’s master schedule.)

Latin class and I just didn’t mix. Now I understand why. Every day I was given five sentences to translate in five minutes. Not too hard, you say! It was very hard for a person who could not think when the teacher called out the time in one minute intervals. I literally did not have time to think.
Through the years I have learned to “compensate” for those learning situations that were hard or stressful for me and have maintained excellent grades. But it was a dear friend who encouraged me to earn my post -graduate degree from Rider University in Counseling. It was his confidence in my ability that kept me going. If it took someone’s belief in me to help me attain my goal, just think of the power a teacher holds by believing in all her students. The Learning Connections Inventory is a great tool that can validate that belief to students and help teachers teach to all learning schema. I just wish this was used years ago.

Michelle Robertson, Rowan University

The use of the Learning Connections Inventory (LCI) has changed my perspective of learning itself. Initially, I had the impression that the LCI only provided valuable information to a teacher. The knowledge that she could gain using the LCI scores would guide her in implementing more effective teaching methods. After spending the semester using the LCI scores as a guide for myself and my learning community, I now know that its use goes far beyond changing teaching techniques.

Using my LCI scores as well as the other learning community members’ scores has guided us in terms of how we relate to each other. We have consistently used our scores on the Inventory to explain to each other why one of us may have wanted to do a project differently. We were able to view the topic almost as if we were different learners. This process was unique and challenging. People do not often think about how they think. Most people are not even aware of how they think. However, as a member of the Educational Organization and Leadership class where I was introduced to the LCI, being familiar with the LCI and working closely within our groups allowed me to reflect on not only my own but my “learning mates'” personal ways of learning. This insight into another person’s thinking is unparalleled in my learning experiences. The knowledge we gained within our learning community was easily transferred over to our presentations. We worked hard to provide information that would reach all the different learners, rather than just the more common sequential and precise processing people.

In general, the topic of learning and the practical use of the LCI scores have been extremely rewarding. I am now familiar with the different learning processes and I know that this knowledge is useful not only in a teaching situation, but in all relationships with other people. The Let Me Learn ProcessTM considers that everyone processes information differently. If everyone was armed with this valuable information, communication would be much easier, and more people would understand what messages were being passed along. Anything that could potentially reduce the amount of confusion that exists in this world is priceless, and unfortunately rare.

Angelina Tofani, Rowan University

According to Angelina Tofani, learning has been a difficult experience. After reviewing the scores from the LCI, one can see why learning has been such a challenge for her. Her LCI results show Angela’s strongest process comes from sequential, scoring a 25. Precise and technical score equally at 21. Confluence is the lowest with a score of 19. All of these scores range under an “as needed basis.”

As a learner, Angelina felt as though she used sequential and precise processes the most. Looking back at school, she noticed that she could only get a project done if she knew exactly what to do. Angelina felt that she always needed either an outline or an example of what needed to do — as would fall under the precise process. She says she never felt herself to be very creative. “I am the type of person who does not trust myself. When I write anything, I always proof it myself and have a second party proof it before I make it public,” remarked Angelina.

In the area of sequential process, Angelina is the type of person who must always number or bullet her thoughts when she puts them in writing. She says she only noticed this, however, after taking the LCI. “I see that everything I feel is important in some form of a list,” said Angelina. “When learning, I must be informed of what is the most important to the least thing needed to complete an assignment.”

These two processes seem to go hand-in-hand with Angelina. She never minded working with others in school as long as she thought that they were the “smarter” one. She allowed her fellow students to be the creative ones while she did the grunt work(i.e., research and typing). Angelina says she feels as though she is a better proofreader for someone than trusting and believing in her own work.

After taking the LCI and reading the article, “Let Me Learn,” Angelina realized that it takes one day at a time when it comes to learning. “Learning does not happen over night, especially for me, but I now realize that it is possible with a lot of effort and hard work,” remarked Angelina. “I have learned that learning is truly a life-long process.”

Reflection of Learning, Joe DePalma

As I look back on my elementary days in school I can see a small two room brick building with hardwood floors and little wooden desks. Today is the first day of kindergarten for me. I walk into the school following the frog footprints to my classroom. At this point many things are going through my mind. When are we going to play? Where are the toys ? I hope I am going to learn my colors. I wonder what book the teacher is going to read to us. Oh my God! The most important thing in my mind – the teacher! What is she going to be like? Is she going to be nice? Will she like me? Well after the first day all of my questions were answered. We are going to have a great time! This teacher is going to teach me everything I want to learn. She did. She was the best teacher ever. She let us explore our classroom, build things, paint, color, and even play with clay. This teacher must have known about Gardner’s 7 multiple intelligences. She gave us a little of everything. I knew then that my years in school were going to be great.

Well first grade is here. Things are not going as planned. This teacher teaches us in a different way. A way I can’t handle or understand. I was always a successful student. I loved school until first grade. This teacher basically told me I can’t learn the way I want to learn. I must adjust to her way. I refused by acting out and being disruptive. I wasn’t bad I just wasn’t being challenged enough. The teacher called a conference with my mother. I figured that this meeting would have helped the teacher understand my needs. Unfortunately, things did not go my way. The week after the conference I was put on a medication called Ritalyn. This was supposed to help me abide by the teacher’s rules and be less of a niche. This was the end of my elementary years memories. I believed that the way I was learning was wrong and this first grade teacher was going to show me the right way.

As time went on I learned how to tune things out that didn’t make sense or that didn’t have a place in my world. I wish that the Learning Connections Inventory ( Johnston 1997 ) was available in 1972 for my first grade teacher. If she had this tool she would be able to see that I was and still am today a learner who is high in technical and low in precise processing.

I recently used the LCI and found that I am very high in sequential(32), on the low side in precise(18), high in technical(33), and very high in confluent(34) After I calculated all of the scores I found this tool to provide a very accurate profile of my learning style today.

In closing , I know how I learn and now I can find out how my children learn and become a better educator to them and they will not have to experience what I had in the 70’s. The key is to use what we have. “We have the tools to understand how children learn; all we need to do is to use them.” (Johnston, 1997)

Joann Shilinsky, Rowan University

Joann Shilinsky always faced the return to school with mixed emotions. She was filled with fear, resistance, apprehension and excitement. In fact, according to Joann, it took a very long time for her to build the confidence she needed to succeed in higher education.

“My reliance on my own cognitive ability was uncertain. Given my experiences in kindergarten through Grade 12, it is astonishing that I even went to college,” said Joann.

Throughout elementary and high school, Joann was most successful when instructions were given clearly and ample time was given to complete each task. She says she often felt overwhelmed when a lot of information was given at the same time. Once in college, Joann began to understand that she could learn just like the “smart” students could.

“I realized that if I sorted out the information and broke it into segments it was easier to remember. Often, I will list and outline information in a sequential form” said Joann.

Joann took the Learning Connections Inventory and realized the following: “I am truly a sequential learner, and after taking the Learning Connections Inventory, I realized that I teach using the same method. Each day I write an outline and list the day’s activities and assignments on the chalkboard. I have a strong need for organization, but it is important for me to realize that not all of my learners will have the same need.”

Joann’s knowledge of her learning patterns has helped her understand better who she is as a learner and this knowledge has helped ease many of the fears she associated with school in the past. She now faces new leaning experiences with excitement and anticipation followed by confidence.