Do we use sub-conscious affirmations in learning?

I recently presented a PYP workshop on assessment in Singapore, during the workshop one observation stuck in my mind; how as learners we seek affirmation of our own knowledge and understanding. There was a side of me that thought I did not teach the participants anything they did not already know, I merely affirmed their prior knowledge. Of course this is not totally true. However, it was only through their own inquiries within a constructivist framework that the participants deepened their understanding. This got me thinking whether affirmations can work at a sub-conscious metacognitive level, beyond the traditional affirmation sense of –  a “pat on the back”, verbal feedback, or telling yourself you did an excellent job following a personal challenge. I am thinking more about something that is sub-conscious, primal and fundamental in our propensity to direct and redirect our learning.  Affirmation in this sense could be seen as part of a natural survival process that supports the evolving mind.

Reflecting on my own learning and inquiries with regard to visible thinking  made me realise, when our sub-conscious affirmations are prompted through inquiry they become a more powerful and evident part of the learning process.

To come full circle… in looking at the many ways in which thinking can be made visible I came across this fabulous technique called typography.  Nothing new really, but with the increasing popularity of free tools like prezi, this kind of learning tool has oodles of potential for use in the classroom. I would love to see what thinking students could show using this this tool.  Here is a wonderful example of a typography for presentingt the universal declaration of human rights.

What is the difference for you watching this as opposed to reading it on paper. What emotive images does it stir? How could you use typography in your class?

Thanks to http://www.eatsleepteach.com and http://twitter.com/sherrattsam for the link.

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