According to Boyd (2008), autoethnography, which essentially involves the study of peoples cultures, is a tool that can be used to engage in qualitative research activities that emphasize on the effect of societal and ethnic factors on our self-understanding. (Wall, 2006) acknowledges that conventional scientific methods oblige scholars to minimize themselves by perceiving oneself as an impurity and trying to refute or think beyond it. Self-reflection requires one to be unbiased by disproving his or her personality and identity (McCorkel & Myers, 2003; as cited in Wall, 2006). Even though past studies have examined the connection between ones persona and academic performance, high academic excellence has usually been attributed to intelligence as opposed to ones character (Chamorro-Premuzic & Furnham, 2003).
Learning styles and approaches to learning are normally viewed as a type of overall plan, which is typified by deep processing, systematic study, fact retention and elaborative processing (Busato, Prins, Elshout & Hamaker, 2000). Additionally, types of learning such as abstract conceptualization, reflective observation, active experimentation and concrete experience are also used in describing learning styles (Busato et al., 2000). Four learning styles i.e. assimilators, accommodators, divergers, and convergers result from these types of learning. Thus said, having completed the learning style inventory, my scores were as follows: 19 for concrete experience, 18 for reflective observation, 23 for abstract conceptualization, and 22 for active experimentation.
From the results above, I definitely tend to learn more through abstract conceptualization and active experimentation and less through reflective observation and concrete experience. Through abstract conceptualization, my focus is mainly on ideologies, concepts, and rationality. Here, I build on general notions and hypotheses through deep thinking and application of scientific methods to instinctively comprehend unique issues or subjects. Conducting quantitative appraisals, interpreting theoretical symbols and methodical planning are areas that I find pleasurable. The alluring quality of a well-ordered theoretical structure, discipline and consistency in the evaluation of concepts, and meticulousness are aspects that I value greatly.
Thus said, while studying, I try to find the meaning and rationale behind the course material, correlate whatever I have learned and attempt to re-conceptualize the concepts by developing my own perspective. This approach has definitely impacted my intellectual capacity significantly and effectively predicts the level of academic success. Intelligence and motivation determine a persons achievements, whereby motivation is demystified as identity and personality (Goff & Ackerman, 1992; as cited in Busato et al., 2000).
Neuroticism and extraversion have an empirical and theoretical connection with intellectual ability that is, low neuroticism, high extraversion and astuteness all equate to high mental abilities (Eysenck, 1967; as cited in Chamorro-Premuzic & Furnham, 2003). I, being an introvert or socially reserved person seems to be inconsistent with high mental speed. Eysenck (1967) also purported that extroverts are more likely to outdo introverts with regards to logical thinking. Nevertheless, the superior ability by an introvert to amalgamate learning and better study behaviors makes introverts to outperform extroverts in the long term (Savage, 1962; as cited in Chamorro-Premuzic & Furnham, 2003). Extroverts apparently underperform in their study subjects more regularly as compared to introverted people (Sanchez-Marin et al., 2001; as cited in Chamorro-Premuzic & Furnham, 2003). While at high school and college education level, the more intricate, formal and methodical tasks only strengthen my resolve in unraveling the concepts and theories behind them as compared to the less complex tasks in elementary or primary school level (Anthony, 1973; as cited in Chamorro-Premuzic & Furnham, 2003). Through systematic planning, I am able to evaluate the study tasks at hand consistently and only stop when I have deciphered every element in these tasks.
In as much as my main type of learning is abstract conceptualization, I also value active experimentation. Here, I involve past experiences in determining the practicality of situations. As the slogan goes Experience is the best teacher, the willingness or reluctance in taking risks depending on previous encounters enhance my smartness when trying to accomplish certain tasks. Thus said, I exhibit attributes of both type two and type four learners. However, my inclination is more towards the type two learner, whose objectives are achieving intellectual recognition and satisfaction of the self.
Through the zeal to search for facts and consistency, there is an inherent need to accomplish the above goals and ensure individual effectiveness (Entwistle, 1988). I consult with experts in areas that I have little or no experience to determine the unknown possibilities since it is important to consolidate experience and thinking or application if one is to be regarded as a versatile learner or performer. Being a type two learner, my greatest strength lies in the ability to conceptualize and re-conceptualize models and hypotheses. Also, my introverted personality enhances my interest in ideologies rather than people.
As a conclusion, the most befitting careers to the abstract conceptualization type of learning and critiquing as an approach to learning include research, mathematical and scientific-based professions such as engineering and medicine. These are professions that require thinking through ideologies by trying to decipher aspects that are not superficial. Being industrious and exhaustive enhances consistency in accomplishing tasks even when the conditions are intricate and puzzling. For this reason, I always find pleasure in conventional classroom settings where I can comfortably collect and scrutinize data and information thoroughly before making any inference that fortifies my knowledge.
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