Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Tuesday 7th August - A Time for Learning

One of the most important aspects of the long Summer holiday is it gives me a chance to learn something. This Summer I've become fascinated by water colour painting, and have been immersed in Youtube video tutorials, particularly Rick Sucowicz and Angela Fehr.

In one of her posts, Angela made reference to the 'Competence Ladder', which I had either forgotten or hadn't come across (at my age one can't be certain...)

Here is wikipekdia's definition;

  1. Unconscious incompetence
    The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognize their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage. The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.
  2. Conscious incompetence
    Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, they recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage.
  3. Conscious competence
    The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.
  4. Unconscious competence
    The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become "second nature" and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.

    So obvious, really, but nice to see it set out so clearly.

    The other thing I am learning about is gardening. 
    'That camelia needs to be in the shade' says James, in passing (he's here again; another fence panel has gone in, and he's about to start on next-door's conifers.)

    'Is that skimmia in ericaceous soil? No? That;s why its leaves are going yellow.' I repot  it in some ericaceous soil that has been waiting for the camelia.

    I guess that I'm at all different stages;

    probably 2 or 3 for water colour painting, gardening, knitting, sewing, novel writing

    3, heading for 4 with playing the harpsichord

    4, with the piano, and teaching it, but in danger of sliding backwards if I don't do some serious practising in the very near future!

    I consider that being a continuous learner is a staggeringly important part of being a good teacher. Each skill acquired adds a greater dimension to what one already knows, and expands the experience of learning, and enables one to reach further into the mysteries of effectively imparting  and sharing skills and knowledge.

    This is such a Big Thought that I haven't yet managed to codify it into a set of simple statements like the ladder of competence above. But I expect someone else has!

    In the meantime, just remember that all the new crafts and skills I embark upon during the holidays are, in a big way, play, but also, in a bigger way, part of a life of learning and discovery, which started within minutes of my birth.

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