We interpret the information we get by our senses, and ultimately we learn by doing. Firstly, we watch and listen to the other people. Then, we try to do things such as balancing on the bicycle by learning, falling down many times. This kind of an attempt to fail and succeed in trying to learn new concepts is what boosts our interest and creates the motivation to discover various different aspects of life that we never knew.
If one starts to think about how we learned to bicycle, dance, eat or sing, we can see that it was done by carrying out an action and facing the consequences of it and choosing whether this achievement was right or wrong. What helped us to excel in this newly acquired skill was the active participation in the occasion and our reflection and what we gained. Experience as well as reflection teaches a person more than any lecture or book ever could.
Kurt Lewin stated in his paper on “Field theory and learning” in 1942 that little considerable learning takes place without involving something of all of the three aspects. Learning includes feeling things about the concepts and doing something. These two elements are related to each other.
In the book Experiential Learning, David Kolb states that learning is a four step process. He indentifies the steps as watching, thinking, feeling, and doing. His theories are based on the book How We Think: A Restatement Of The Relation Of Reflective Thinking To The Educative Process in 1993 by John Dewey who stated that learning must be grounded in experience, by Lewin who stated that the significance of people being active when learning and by Jean Piaget who stated that intelligence is the result of a person’s interaction with his/her environment. (“Business balls”)
There is no better teacher than life and just when we feel that we are well aware of everything that is happening in our world and that we can solve any problem, we find another truth which makes us think and rethink about life. I have felt many times that I am not able to judge certain situations and people and sometimes it did work and sometimes I was proven wrong. There have been many events that may look like they are insignificant or small, but they do create an impact. Hence, we are forced to change our information and perspective of various types of people, enabling us to do some self analysis.
Every one once in their life time encounters an experience which they can never forget. I also had an experience from which I was provoked to discover more knowledge than I had gained from this particular incident. Not long ago when I went shopping in Wichita, I saw a person that was wearing torn black clothes without any jacket on; this was alarming since it was only 16 degrees. This occurred during the season of Christmas and New Year’s Eve. For a second, I just stood there and looked at that person with complete amazement that person was not just lying on the floor and begging for money, instead he was standing and had a guitar in his hand and was playing it beautifully in the blistering cold weather. At that moment I could not hear anything else but the sound of the music that was coming from his guitar.
I could not believe my eyes and the harsh reality of life; it was my first hand experience of seeing a homeless person. I just wished at that time that I could have done something to help him get out of this miserable life. After a long time, I developed the courage to go up to him. I wanted to look in his eyes and tell him that he was the most wonderful person I had ever seen; however, when I looked in his eyes, they did not seem to meet mine; it was then that I noticed he was blind.
His blindness came as a shock to me, and I felt my whole world turning during those minutes after I realized his condition.. I realized that I had lived for so many years and never once thanked God and my parents for what they had given me, or I simply did not realize how lucky I was to have anything and everything I wanted. Whereas, this person could not even see the beautiful world let alone have the opportunity to live a luxurious life. I got up quickly and went inside the mall and bought that man a jacket; he thanked me and blessed me. I had never done something like that for anyone, but when I did, I felt really good.
My knowledge on the value of life I live was increased by seeing how this man regardless of his problems and disability still smiled and lived his life. Whereas I would complain about little things such as having to clean my room or having fights with friends, this experience made me believe that my problems were nothing compared to the much bigger problems of the people around the world. I was only about 18 years when this incident happened and as a teenager I was always busy in my own life, I never thought about this issue and never came across it in my life.
All this was very new to me and I had no idea as to how I should react to it. However, I could see that the people around me had a different view of this man and some were standing around the guy appreciating him and giving him money, whereas some just kept passing him without noticing him once. I cannot believe how some people could ignore a guy like him, yet there were people who had cell phones in their hand and were hurriedly passing in front of the guy. The song that this guy was playing on his guitar was “Someone Else’s Star” by Bryan White; I felt that this guy was singing this song as it was related to his life.
This song is indeed a very sad song and it is about a guy who is alone and is wishing he could find true love, but he feels that maybe he is wishing on someone else’s star as good things happen to the other people not him. In his case his true love could be a good life and he feels that good life is not meant for him, and it is meant for other people, people like me possibly who have no problems in their life.
The man was standing right beside the door of the shopping mall and as people came in and went he kept playing hoping someone would come and help him. I was still standing there watching this man. I hated this cold weather and usually I would go straight inside the mall but today was different, for those five minutes I had completely forgotten how cold I was and how fast the wind was blowing, all I could see was that man and his helplessness. I guess I was the only one standing at a distance and admiring the enthusiasm of this man, while others just walked by him, carrying on with their own life.
I guess this how I have been as well, I always thought life is very easy, and I can have whatever I want in life. I never for once thought about how a life without food, money, car or family would be. Looking at this man many questions came into my mind, does he have a family? where does he sleep in this cold weather? Does he get enough food? And then came another question that got me thinking, how many other people like him are there?
This question made me realize that how many people in my country are living in this condition or maybe worse and what am I doing for them? Nothing was the answer. The answer was nothing as I never felt the need to look at the problems in our country I always thought “well someone will take care of it” I was wrong, I don’t think anyone was taking care of these homeless people.
Observations and Reflections
I grasped more than just one thing from this experience. I realized I should not be selfish, and I should value life and value people. I understood there are more serious problems in the world, and my own seemed small. When I left that place, I did not just bury my encounter with this issue of homelessness; instead, I also thought of some solutions., A collective measure and action can be formulated by which a number of friends contribute money for such everyday social work and secondly we can simply escort and, guide the homeless people to the correct destination of a welfare trust or organization that handles all these operations on daily basis.
By friends I mean the people in my university, the students can definitely take out sometime for these people that are homeless, we spend so much time in going to malls, partying and so on, I am sure everyone can contribute few hours for these people. We can maybe , together, buy food for them, or get them some clothes, or possibly raise money to find them a house or a shelter to live in. we can gain the trust of these homeless people by providing them with little help, such as giving food and then doing more later on.
We can also build a relationship with them, by talking to them, interacting with them and asking them about their problems and issues. I know that it will not be an easy task, but I feel that if we try our level best we can definitely help these homeless people. As they also would want to live a better life and would not say no to help that is coming to them.
I have attained this knowledge about homeless people firstly, by the man outside the shopping mall, and then I researched on this issue on the internet and found out a lot more about it and started to learn more and more about it. This is when I felt the need to find possible solutions to reduce homelessness in my country or at least try to help the people I can.
As to what I have learned about the entire phenomenon of homelessness, I have come to know that even solving this entire menace is not a simple job, but with proper implementation such as some help by the government of America by making appropriate policies and measures such as providing shelter for these people, education for the homeless children, or jobs for the homeless people so that they can earn money, or provide them with money that they can use to make a living for themselves, these policies should be formulated for the benefit of such people on governmental and non-governmental level such problems can be resolved in a much simpler way , the complicated way to solve this issue was to simply give aid to these people by giving food or clothes.
This could help for time being, whereas I feel that the solution to this issue must look at the long term benefit for the homeless people, I also feel that in this way some people would get more clothes less food or less food and little clothes, there wouldn’t be any equality among the homeless people some would have more some less, I think with the policies like the ones I have mentioned everyone would have a better life. (Levinson, 2004, para #5)
Kolb stated that learners have immediate concrete experiences that enable us to reflect on the newly gained experience from different point of view. This is exactly what had happened with me, it was an immediate experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life. I reflected on this experience of mine in not just one way but in many ways, such as how this person is surviving, how old he is, does he have a family, how can I help, there were many things going on in my head at one time. (Conner)
To be effective learners, we should identify information, reflect on how it will impact some aspects in the life and compare how it fits with our own life experiences and think about how this information offers us new ways to act. The information I gained from this experience was the awareness of homelessness in my country; it impacted my life in many ways. I think differently about life and the things I have in life and I also give more value to whatever I have; it does not fit into any of the experiences I had. This turned out to be an eye opening experience, this is that I feel that there must be something we should do about it to prevent or stop homelessness in our country. I no longer take things for granted, and keep all my things such as cell phones, clothes, and accessories safely and try not to lose them. I have also started to be more careful in buying things that I really don’t need such as extra clothes or shoes. (Conner)
Looking back at this experience, I feel that I have learned a lot, I have learned how life is not easy and that there are so many people who are not as fortunate to have money, food and clothes like me. I have also learned how I have misused this privilege of having everything I want.
Life learning experience is important for everyone. Instead of learning life through the failures and trials of our own, it is wiser and easier to learn it through others. Although this type of an experience is not as reliable as the one that a person experiences him/her self, it is very useful when one might not be able to learn through your own limited opportunities. (Conner)
In my case I have learnt through my mistakes as well, this was by not listening to my mom for instance when she said do not touch the dish its hot and yet I touched it and got hurt. I learned from then on that I must listen to what people say as they say it for my own good.
Every person’s life is filled with many failures and successes; by this we can learn the mistakes to prevent them from happening and the successes to regenerate them. Sometimes one has to embrace their life and overcome it in order to attain that particular life experience that one will remember all their life. All in all, learning life experience by others is a significant rule in life. (Conner)
I feel that I have the ability to learn better from others, as in this incident I had learnt from the man playing the guitar, I feel that if I see things happening I can learn better from them and try to make myself change and think differently by thinking about what I had learned and reflecting on it.
In the mission of learning something new, the success and flaws of others is the perfect case to study on. We learn a lot by the trials and journeys of the other people and our mind can motivate the words and actions from these situations. Looking into the past we can help find solution to many problems that we may face in the future. (Conner)
If we live for experiences in our life that we are responsible for making sure our experience is complete in every single way. Not knowing the latest information and issues of the world could mean that we may have a lower quality of life. (Article base)
Life learning experience encourages us to make the best of any and all kinds of situations, to raise our mind, thinking and actions in a creative way. Our main objective in life is to keep the experience and make a positive contribution to the experience that others get. I wish to do so as well, much of it will come from the healthy attitude and clear perceptions for It is by perceptions that an attitude is made. (Article base)
Formation of Abstract Concept
Most people learn from the bad situation. With cognitive learning, a person learns by watching, hearing, reading, touching or by experiencing and then understanding it and then storing the knowledge gained from the learning. Cognitive learning could be considered as passive learning, as there is no motor progress. However, the person who learns can be an active learner, in a cognitive way, in understanding and storing the newly gained knowledge. (Levinson, 2004, para #3.)
Cognitive learning helps us to make a complex culture that consists of values, symbols, norms, and beliefs. As cognitive learning involves many aspects of the human behavior, it could be said that cognitive learning can only happen among human beings. However, even animals are capable of learning by observing, for instance a cat that is trained to be a domestic cat. As for humans, one may learn to eat with chopsticks, by observing how the other people use it. (Beverly 2004)
When a person feels empathy for another individuals situation, it brings about compassion. This concept signifies the ability to feel, understand and accept from another person’s point of view. One cannot think exactly like that person but one can attempt to understand their feelings. To show empathy to someone is to understand the feelings of another person. It is emotionally putting oneself in someone else’s shoes. The capability to empathize with a person depends entirely on the ability of the person to feel their own feelings and understand them. (Conner 2010)
If one has never felt that certain feeling, then it will be difficult for that person to understand how the other person is feeling. For instance, if one has never put their hand in fire, they will never know how it feels when the hand goes in fire. Reading or observing a situation makes it very difficult to exactly understand how a person is feeling, however, it does give a person an idea.
After one experiences a black situation, a person wants to develop ways to solve the problems. This concept describes the critical evaluation that a person goes through before helping a person in need. “Model of helping is divided into five steps: noticing the event, interpret the requirement for help, taking personal responsibility, deciding what kind of help is required and providing help. “(Beverly 2004)In this situation the event was the poor man playing guitar despite being blind wearing just a shirt, the interpretation for the need of help was to provide the man with a jacket to keep him warm at least, personal responsibility is taken by not caring about what others are doing and taking initiative to do something for the man such as buying a jacket on one’s own expense. Deciding what kind of help was needed was not very difficult in this situation, as it was obvious that this man needed clothes, food and shelter and providing help would include thinking long terms benefits for the man.
Sometimes in uncomfortable situation, people ignore those who need help. Social perception is an important part of social success and competence. Additionally, socially capable people should have the knowledge of social routines and roles. Moreover, they must know how to utilize this knowledge and must know how to make the right decision. Such people care about the people around and make it a point to change their behavior based on the needs of others. Finally, they have the self-belief needed to interact with people and accept the weaknesses in the society they live in. an example of this could be a person who sees how an old lady has difficulty crossing the road, he/she should help the lady or not help her.
Application Of concepts
In my case all of these concepts can easily be applied to my learning experience. I had learned a lot from these concepts as well, and they have helped me to look at some aspects of life in a very different way.
Most people learn from the bad situation. I have had an effective experience and the emotions that I felt were by looking at the man play guitar with a smile on his face, bringing out a mixture of feelings and emotions inside me. From looking at the man, I understood that I must value the things I have gotten all my life.
When a person feels empathy for another individuals situation, it brings about compassion. The empathy concept was applied in my experience as I had felt empathetic towards the man and understood how hard life must be for him and how he must be feeling. In this situation I can definitely understand that the man is helpless and must feel bad living this life, although i may have not gone through such a situation in their life.
After one experiences a black situation, a person wants to develop ways to solve the problems As for model of helping, I had followed the same five steps mentioned in this concept I had noticed the man playing the guitar and notice that he is homeless, I decided he needed clothes or food or maybe shelter, I felt that I must do something for the man myself, I felt that maybe governmental or groups should combine and help the man and other homeless people.
Sometimes in uncomfortable situation, people ignore those who need help The social perception concept was also applied as I had perceived the man as a homeless person who needed help but was still smiling.
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