Learning by Senses
In our modern westernized societies, the importance of the senses in learning appears to have stayed in the background. The direct sensory experiences of individuals are quite often ignored, sometimes even undermined by dominantly focusing on our ability to reason and retain information. This dominance is in part explained by a fragmented and detached pursuit for objectivity. An objectivity that can jeopardize our subjective ability to make sense of the world.
The way in which we learn about “the senses” , conditions and shapes our self-awareness by narrowing our sentient faculties. When we are at school, during our early Science classes we hear about “the senses” as those faculties by which “stimuli” from the outside or inside of the body are received and felt. A common view that tell us stories about the senses of hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste. Maybe we ask our selves; But is this really all their is to the senses?
As we discover new subjects, we are likely to realize that the meaning of the word “senses” overlaps fields explored by a variety of topics.
In Gym class we physically experience new senses, such as the sense of balance, fatigue, orientation, vitality and rest. Whereas in Arts and Literature we grow a sense of aesthetics, as well as enough criteria to find out the different senses of a novel, painting or even a word, this is their meanings. In the playground we might learn about a sense of justice, freedom and space. Even when we are at home, with our family and friends, we might experience other social senses; such as the sense of harmony, humor or ownership.
Somehow a strange distraction from our senses, can slowly start to build up a wall in our perception. Deterred by the complexity of senses, we often deny them, cover them up and label them as “complicated and imprecise”. If this is the case, it is the outcome of a contrived and unhealthy learning process. A process that hasn’t helped us develop to transform our understanding of the world, by ignoring the sensitivity with which we find meaning in reasonable understanding.