UTU Masters | What helped you learn?
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What helped you learn?

At the time, I have wondered myself “What helped me learn?” many times so maybe the aspects I exploited – just in general, somehow a little bit different from the ones expected by the Teachers, I guess. Nonetheless, it becomes clearer to me that the focus of Finnish education is the learning process class by class or case by case, the world different from Vietnamese one. Having thinking about this, I should specify throughout the studies. The way that the messages of lectures are conveyed and self-curiosity, chance for interactions with the Teachers and active role during group-work enable me to master the lessons.

Firstly, the perfect combination of lectures and self-learning considerably expand my knowledge. To be exactly, while lectures are given in an attractive way through real case analysis (Nokia, Apple, Supercell, building a Vodka brand) by the Teachers, followed by assignments in the virtual team helped me exploit new area of knowledge, self- motivation, reading related materials, and self-exposing to knowledge with insatiable curiosity allowed me to assemble pieces to enlarge the picture and make it more colorful. I would like to emphasize the great thing impressing me during learning process in University of Turku is that what were “put on the table” in classes were valuable and interesting in terms of practical meanings, “positively forcing” me to know more about the real world in Finland. This is precisely the same as what I knew, before arriving in Finland, about our school with the motto “We teach what we research”. Consequently, this teaching criterion made me steer clear of having my heads full of bees or in the clouds. To be honest, I love this school in particular and this country in general than ever before.

Secondly, in contradistinction to the most widespread patterns happening in a lecture hall in Vietnam, the Teachers here usually ask us to some kick-off questions to let us talk, a way keeping our brains work. Conversely, the Teacher also allows us to ask questions and goes into details, making the process of knowledge acquisition pretty much easier.

In addition, during the interaction for group-work, discussing, debating and explaining ideas to other members to persuade them of my propositions upgraded my understanding of issues pretty much better. To me, this is another form of teaching. As psychologists at the University of California at Berkeley propose that although people tend to neglect generate explanation for themselves, they all have an intuitive sense of what makes a thorough explanation. Base on this logic, when a question or query comes from an outsider, it forces me to actually reason, leading to replacing my false feeling of understanding of a particular issue.

There is one more activity that helps I learned and I have to do quite often but I almost forgot – reflective essay. I strongly believe that while a chain of real interactions with the Teacher, materials, and team mates for the same issues allowed me to considerably expand my knowledge in the field, reflective essays enabled me to look back and dig deeper into what I learned, and analyze my real experiences, leading to enhancing my critical thinking markedly. In other words, this activity allows me to contemplate what I have taken for granted for years, for example, English word choice which might well become risky, autonomy in getting group tasks done, gestures implied in face-to-face communication, etc. Moreover, reflective essays also serve the purpose of memory sticks for what I learned efficiently.

On the whole, problems arising during in each process and how to deal with every single obstacle also help me markedly upgrade my capabilities. In the future, I will probably uphold the learning process for the learning life as it quite fits my “learning style”. Well, live and learn! ^^,

How about you? What has helped you learn? Let’s share in the comment below. Together we learn! 🙂

Nhan "Mac" Nguyen
thnhng@utu.fi
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