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My Personal Learning Experiences 

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Early Childhood

At eleven years old I began playing the flute. My experience in learning was purely behavioristic and it truly helped me develop discipline. Although we were trained and rewarded for our progress, I do feel that it helped me build intrinsic motivation as well. I wanted to receive an A in band class, but I also wanted to be the best. I wanted to be the number 1 flute player and sit in first chair. My parents never had to tell me to practice. Being a good flute player was a personal decision, however with the strict discipline implemented in the classroom, I was able to build off those skills so that my training at home could excel. When I became a band director, I used these same techniques, as I wanted all of my students on a certain level to perform well together as a band. However, I made sure that they were each held accountable for what they were brining to the group dynamic. Personal grades do not impact others, but not being able to perform one's part does. Whether they used intrinsic or extrinsic motivation to get me the results I wanted, I will never know, I only hope they walked away with the same life lessons I did. If you want something, work hard and stay focused. The journey will not be easy, but the destination will be worth it. 

Young Adult

Being a musician has been part of my life since I can remember. Singing in the choir since age 4, starting flute at age 11, but in between I was encouraged to play piano. Throughout childhood I struggled with learning the piano. I am not sure if it was my work ethic, discipline or the universe keeping me close to the flute, I just did not take well to that instrument. Even as an adult, I can play any wind instrument to a moderate ability and I am a professional on the flute, but I never excelled past beginner level with piano. When I went to college, I studied music education. As a result, piano would an obstacle I would have to overcome again. I fumbled through classes and still could not find the motivation to practice. I even had the requirement of passing the piano exam before I was allowed to graduate, it still did not make me a better pianist. There was no way I would allow the piano to keep me from graduating, so I got by enough to play the "Star Spangled Banner" and "America." I played the worst renditions they had probably ever heard. I do not have an explanation as to why no form of learning got me to improve, but I can sum it up to lack of motivation from a place outside of myself. It is never too late, and maybe one day I will find it. 

Professional

As an adventurous and creative artist, I never let one path define me. After a solid career in teaching young people, I decided to become a flight attendant. This started out as a fun whimsical adventure, but turned into a serious path that cost me a lot more than time. Transitioning to a career in aviation was a wonderful experience. Leaving the classroom to fly around the world and get paid doing it was amazing, however it did not start that way. Just because I was a school lover, did not mean sitting in training would be desirable. Especially, trainings I had no control over. Flight Attendant trainings tend to be set up like middle/high school curriculums. Learn information, take test, pass and move on to the next topic. I think this works very well because no one has a desire to discuss deeply the concepts. The curriculum is about safety. Learn it and perform it. The issue I had began with one airline attempting to use cognitive techniques in an environment set up for behavioral or constructivism learning theories with adults. Not only are test important for a visual reminder of progress, but performing what you learned ensures that procedures are ingrained in one's mind. However, the instruction was delivered in a way that left learners clueless. Many students felt lost or confused as to what would be tested or what we needed to know. Test information was a mystery. Students wanted study guides and direction which was refused. The instructors, which I eventually became one, simply said "we are not teaching to the test." I felt they were not teaching anything. They simply read notes with no real explanations or application. There were so many observation opportunities which led me to become very bored. Watching something performed fifteen times does not mean I understand it. Being given an ambiguous prompt to perform tasks unexpectedly, only confused and stressed students. I wanted to be drilled procedures so that I would react when I saw those situations in real life. It would truly be trained. It seemed as though they wanted students to master unexpected confusion instead of possible situations.

 

I became an instructor at this airline and struggled with compromising my learning philosophy. Adults needed to achieve because they need a paying job after training completed. They did not feel the need to be challenged on a deeper level through ambiguous tasks. It was not the time or place for that type of learning. 

All of my airline experiences were not like this, but this airline training was touted to be the best in the industry, but was by far my worst training experience ever. 

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