Perceiving and Processing

How We Perceive

The ways we take in and then make sense of new things has a profound influence on how we learn.

On a continuum from Sensing/Feeling to Thinking, each of us falls in our most comfortable place.
This is how we Perceive, what we do first when we connect to new experience.
 
The top of the continuum, Sensing/Feeling, is the act of being in experience, perceiving the situation, learning with our senses, feeling, being subjective.
The bottom of the continuum, Thinking, is standing outside a situation, analyzing it for accuracy and validity, looking at its place in the scheme of things, being objective.
 
Sensing/Feeling is connected knowing, being in the midst of experience as it is happening, with feelings and the wholeness of the situation uppermost, whereas Thinking is separate knowing, standing outside looking in. Thinking is easy to understand, to put into words, but Sensing/Feeling is not. It is much more difficult. Our culture tends to value those things we can explain in words. Our culture is not so comfortable with things that do not easily lend themselves to verbal descriptions.
 
As we approach new learning, we have a preference to "hover" somewhere along this continuum. Some learners sense and feel first, others think first. This first approach forms the initial basis for one's learning style.
 
Why are our preferences for approaching learning different?
Why do some of us sense and feel while others prefer to approach learning with more focus on thinking?
The reason has to be a complex interaction of nature and nurture, so complex and interrelated, it cannot be separated.
   
 
How We Process
 
On a continuum from Reflecting to Acting, each of us falls in our most comfortable place, ranging from Reflecting to Acting. It is how we Process. information and experience, how we make it our own.
 
Some of us Reflect first, filtering the newness through our person, pondering, moving slowly to Reflect and compare this new learning with past experiences.
 
Others of us jump right in and try things, we Process in the doing or Acting. Think of where you tend to be on this line, and think of someone you know well who tends to be at the opposite end of the line. Now recollect an instance when the two of you tried to do something new together.
 
Schools ask learners to move more and more to the Watching/Reflecting end of this line as they leave primary grades. School makes it comfortable for learners who are willing to be watchers, but very frustrating for the doers.