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Shower thoughts 2

Posted on: April 21, 2018

This is a quick follow-up to shower thoughts 1.

One reason we might have deep or profound thoughts while showering is because our minds make connections when we are relaxed. This is why sleep is more important in the run up to exams than cramming.

A shower thought is also an example I sometimes bring up in workshops where we practice station-based learning. The design for such sessions is that there are different tasks at each station, all of which help learners attempt and achieve learning outcomes.

I emphasise to participants that when station-based learning is repeated and becomes a culture of practice, students learn to associate different parts of a room — the different stations — with different tasks, e.g., consuming content, making connections, considering contrasts, reflecting.

The shower story starts with a question: Have you ever had a good idea while showering only to forget it once you towel dry and get dressed? Most participants say yes.

Then I ask them what they do or need to do to get the idea back. Some reply that they need to take the shower again. The idea comes back when they do.
 

 
I call this learning-in-place. We associate certain concepts, ideas, and issues with cues that are visual, aural, tactile, odorous, etc. It is as if a thought bubble remained where we once stood, and we have to return to where it was to get it back.

That is why students associated different concepts or types of learning with different stations. That is also why I need to step back into the shower to recapture my thoughts. It is either that or I am just getting old.

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