The concept of the ‘learning spiral’ is one which indicates a need to further a sense of learning through constant inquiry and reflection. For example, if a teacher fails to continue questioning their own learning and eventually ceases to inquire or think reflectively, they will experience “a tedious, flat, deadening experience, as will the students.” (Aebersold & Field 198). Any course, and perhaps mostly notably, Foundations of College Writing, can encourage these thinking and learning skills which help to create highly successful future learners.
When writing an essay, the researching process is the most important: while most learners will approach an essay with some ideas already formed, their research enables them to improve upon and add to these ideas to make an informed, reliable argument. Again, this reflects spiral learning. The student is forced to reflect upon their ideas, expand upon them or even alter them completely as a result of further learning.
While all college courses are designed to further the learner’s understanding of the subject, all courses are also designed to encourage thinking and learning skills in their students. During the study of this course, we have encountered topics such as the expansion of vocabulary: in doing this, we have been encouraged to reflect upon our own vocabulary, expand upon it and attempt to use it more thoroughly in everyday life. The spiral approach to such matters means that the students were enabled to think reflectively about the language they chose to use and made deliberate choices to use the new vocabulary.
Conclusively, spiral learning means that the learning process is never finished. College courses are prime examples of this because whilst the students learn about new subject matter, they are also forced to confront their own ideas and evaluations and expand upon, re-define, or re-examine them. Reflective learning is a hugely important tool which college courses provide their students with and it serves as a diagram for future learning as it develops the student’s tool kit to become a stronger, wiser learner all the time.
Aerbersold, JoAnn and Field, Mary Lee. From Reader to Reading Teacher: issues and strategies for second language classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Print.