A Course Reflected

There are a few aspects of the cognitive science that, while reflecting on the aspects I have learned about, will help shape how I teach and instruct.  Learning about logic, rules, concepts, analogies and images and how they guide a learner and become great tools for a teacher are valuable resources to carry with me.  Reading through concepts of teaching the whole game with in the Perkins (2009) book while tying them to emotions, attention, memory and transfer helped me understand how to teach the “Whole Game”.  There are two major aspects of this course that I want to reflect on here; “the hidden game” that Perkins (2009) describes and the use of emotions in learning.


Teaching the Hidden Game

The hidden game, as Perkins (2009) describes it are the parts of learning that happen subconsciously.  It’s how students learn to make various tasks easier on their own or the things teachers are tricking their students into learning.  As I was reading and learning about this concept, I couldn’t help but realize that there was now a concept associated with something I had been doing for sometime within the student union.  As student employees were working for the student union in various aspects, they were also picking up skills that they could take with them to other careers or transferable skills.  The students weren’t necessarily being told about these skills which I now understand is doing them a disservice.

As the student union moves forward, I will work to make sure students understand the hidden skills they are learning.  This will help students to further develop the skills they feel they will need moving into a career after college.  Moving forward, I plan to help coordinate, along with other professional staff, a “transferable skills” program to help student employees identify and track their progression of transferable skills.

In my personal learning adventure, as I progress through my master’s degree, I will now be able be aware of whatever hidden skills I might be learning, or be aware to look for them.  I’d like to think I am fully aware of what I am learning or being asked to learn but understanding this concept will allow me to look for these skills and better understand how they relate to what I am learning.  I will also be able to apple them to my career with a better understanding of them.


Connecting with Emotions

 As (Perkins, 2009) points out, you have to get the learner deep enough into the material to make the game worth playing.  Emotions can be used to draw that learner into the game.  Finding a way to trigger an emotional response with the learner will motivate them to dive deeper into “the game” and give them a better understanding of the materials (Perkins, 2009).  This concept relates to the hidden game from above, at the student union, as emotions can be used to get the students to better understand the transferable skills we hope they are picking up.

Prior to this course, I wasn’t aware how big of a role emotions played in teaching subject material.  Emotions create an intrinsic motivation, as the information will become more interesting to the learner who has an emotional connection (Lei, 2010).  Within the student union it’s difficult to connect to their emotions with some of the material but when they understand the lasting, positive effect it can have, they are able to apply themselves more.

In my own educational venture, I find having the emotional attachment difficult.  I don’t always take a strong opinion on things but from time to time I do.  I found the Perkins (2009) book easy to read as I connected to some of his humor.  I also nostalgically connected to the baseball metaphor he used to describe many of the concepts, which made it easier to grasp but also retain those concepts.

Overall Experience

On the whole, I have learned quite a few new or realized various concepts of learning that will help my educational journey proceed as well as help me better a better educator in whatever organization I am in.  Understanding how to teach whole concepts while make the learners better understand what they are learning.  The concepts with this course did not all come easy to me though as I did/do struggle with some of the more abstract concepts such as dynamic systems.  The way this course was taught also gave me a new approach to learning new, or difficult concepts.  Maybe it was a “hidden game” but creating connection with the concepts delivered through out the course to my personal learning or teaching environment allowed me to further understand the concepts delivered.

Additional Material:

Even though the following video deals with teaching at-risk students.  It still has good information about using emotion to make connections.


Lei, S. A. (2010). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: Evaluating benefits and drawbacks from college instructors’ perspective. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 37(2), 153-160.

Perkins, D. (2009). Making learning whole: How seven principles of teaching can transform education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

By Kyle Zive

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