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Andrea G.'s picture

I think one of the most

I think one of the most interesting topics we brought up in class last week was the idea of conscious and unconscious learning.  We talked a lot in Human Cognition about how tasks generally begin as conscious processes and after a great deal of practice can often transition into unconscious processes.  The most obvious example of this is driving, as we talked about in our discussion last week.  What I realized afterwards is that it can often happen in reverse as well.  I found it really interesting that knowledge seems to be able to shift from conscious to unconscious simply by directing attention and a little bit of practice in a certain direction.

Personally, this has happened the most in sports.  I've been swimming competitively since I was very young, and it's one of those things that I can just do without thinking about how it happens.  It took some time, but eventually, even the most complicated technical aspects of swimming became fairly unconscious to me.  That didn't change until I got certified to actually teach swimming.  Teaching kids how to swim forced me to bring all of my knowledge about swimming out of my unconscious and into the conscious again.  Whereas I could never have explained the steps involved in a successful flip turn when I was 12, it's now something that I consciously attend to whenever I do one, and as a result, I can express how to do it to a student.

I'd be interested to see if anyone else has had a similar experience or any thoughts on this phenomenon.


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