I've had a bad day Moodle wise, wheelspinning, and trying not to post another silly question on the forums, and just thought this little gem deserved better than being hidden in an obscure discussion.
On Mon, May 14, 2001 at 09:49:28AM +1000, David wrote: > the biggest problem with learning on your own is having no one to bounce > problems off. You can look at something for a week and not see the answer, > but see it immediately you try to explain it to another human being. > > The biggest problem I have with all computer issues, be they sysadmin or > coding or whatever, is being on my own. Maybe others are different? Ahh there's a nice trick I learned for this. I think it's something they used to do in tutorials at MIT but I never got around to trying it at UNSW. It's the classic thing you start explainging your problem to somone and then half way through it's like don;t worry I worked it out. MIT's solution to the problem was the following. Every computer Lab had a teddy bear sitting in one corner (substitue with penguins/daemons) where apropriate. If you were a student in the class and had a problem you had to go an explain it verbally to the teddy bear first, only then could you ask the tutor
A ref from Tim in the discussion: http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?RubberDucking
That's a very "Vygotskian" approach
Pre-school children use "private speech", i.e. they narrate their activities while problem solving/learning/developing. Vygotsky observed that such children couldn't solve problems, e.g. working out how to get a sweet (candy) off a high shelf by using a stick, without talking their way through what they were doing.
We see a similar phenomenon with agony aunts; I bet most agony aunt letters (Dear Mrs. [name], I have this problem... ) never get finished, let alone posted. Narratives are a powerful way to make sense of our experiences and they are an alternative and a complement to making intuitive decisions.
For most adults, private speech continues (talking to ourselves) but under some circumstances becomes internalised into inner speech (the voice in your head). It's only when our personalities disintergrate that we start hearing voices in our head as "other". We're not considered mad until we think the voice in our head is coming from someone or something else, i.e. if the teddy bear starts talking back to us ;)