Mission statement and journals from applications of learning theory

Jacob Stephens’ Mission Statement                                                                                       12/18/12


My goals are to love God and others, to seek truth, to become more intimate with God, and to glorify Him. I want to figure out how I fit into His story. My passion is to serve God and obey Him. Right now, he is leading me into medicine one semester at a time. He has given me direction to continue in the Bachelor of Science of biology direction, going towards medicine, and learning Spanish to be able to serve in an underserved, poor rural or urban area, whether in the United States of America or another Latin American area. God has given me a heart for underserved areas, and it is a life goal I am working on. Though still subject to being molded and changed by God; he may have me going in this direction to get me to a place in life where I have certain past experiences and developments that God wanted to develop in me for another path.

I want work that allows me to empathetically talk to and care for people. I have an natural liking for talking to people and getting to know them, but I also am interested in the technical aspect of things, and that is largely why I’m so interested in medicine—it has a technical aspect and allows for working directly with people, especially those that often need a listening, caring ear as well as a diagnosis and advice/prescription for getting better physically. I also am very interested in the human person as a whole—biological, psychological, spiritual, social, philosophical, etc.

At the end of my life, I want people to remember me as a man after God’s heart. One who trusted and obeyed God, and who was a man of integrity. I want to be remembered as an example of sacrificial love and perseverance through suffering.

I am at my best when sincerely listening to people out of curiosity about them, wanting to get to know them better.

I will try to prevent times when ugly character of mine shows up, when I feel unconfident and like a failure.

I will enjoy my work by finding employment where I can interact with people.

I will find enjoyment in my personal life through getting to know people better and developing relationships.

I will find opportunities to use my natural talents and gifts such as hospitality, dancing, being a friend, playing games, and being strategic.

I can do anything I set my mind to. I will become a doctor traveling the world making medical facilities and training healthcare professionals in poor, underserved areas.

My life’s journey is like the hero Frodo’s. My journey consists of unexpectedly and at times choosing to be swept into situations that catapult me forward into a story where I am radically dependent on God where I have to listen to God as he leads me, being filled with hope against seemingly despairing situations. My life would be for God and others. My life is because of my faith in God and his sacrificial, entirely sustaining and joy-filling love, and my journey will end up in peace with him after having brought light into the darkness of the world.

I will be a person who loves my family, those who I have touched, and those who have touched me will be there. I would thank them for the wonderfully loving things they have done, admonish them towards even more Christ like of a life, and highlight their strengths and greatest accomplishments, and tell them about how God worked through them to bring glory to Himself and further His Kingdom. I would tell them of my walk with God, and all of the wonderful things he did in my life despite all of the grime I had, but that I was able to do incredible things because of Him and that glorified him.

My most important future contribution to others will be helping lead the most important people in my life closer into relationship with Christ.


I will stop procrastinating and start working on:

I feel I should really listen deeply and enjoy life with other people.

I feel I really should take invest a lot into my current education, even though I have at times dismissed that notion

I feel that I should change some parts of myself to become less wordy at times, more clearly at other times, and funnier at other times–feeling more comfortable with crowds joining into fun, joking, joyful conversations.


I will strive to incorporate the following attributes into my life:






I will constantly renew myself by focusing on the four dimensions of my life:

Make taking care of my body part of my lifestyle.

Make walking with, talking with, and meeting with God part of my lifestyle.

Being disciplined and carefully discerning of my thinking and learning.

Guarding my heart and sacrificially loving others.





3 November 2012

Journal 1.1: What are my specific barriers to learning?

            Some of the biggest barriers to my learning are not being sure of how to write well, getting distracted from my work by trying to plan the future, read something that’s not important to be reading, or lazily being social for long amounts of time, and simply not wanting to do the assignment, so I go and do something else or sleep instead. Prioritization is often a problem for me when doing schoolwork; often when doing homework, I’ll choose to do something that’s not important to do then, or for example, a reading that I don’t even need to do.

            There are a number of factors that contribute to me procrastinating, which is certainly a barrier to learning. I put off tasks to another day, especially big, complicated ones. And when I do make a schedule, I can become discouraged when it is interrupted. Because I’m not very confident in my writing skills, and don’t have much experience writing, I tend to put off those assignments. I’ve just recently realized that I can be perfectionistic, and this negatively affects my attitude towards starting assignments. I dread them more because I want to make them perfect, and that takes much more effort than the assignment actually needs.

            I am a bit afraid of success. This is because neither of my parents went to college, so I feel a greater responsibility and weight to succeed; subtly, this drives my desire to go into a liberal arts profession—a profession in which I must have a credited bachelor’s degree to a apply to that professional school. I often think that if my expensive (my parents also don’t have a lot of money) college education does provide me with something concrete, like a degree that I need to go into X profession, then the money will have partly been wasted. I think that the money is partially wasted because I think that I could learn what I learn in college for free using the resources available to me, like the Internet, self-education, and sitting in on classes at colleges.

            Another reason I’m slightly afraid of succeeding is because I will enter a different vocational world than my parents, which I’m slightly afraid could distance me from them… intellectually, physically.

            I also have executive function disorder, which means that organizing, scheduling, and time and task management don’t come as naturally to me. This keeps me from learning by putting me into situations where I think I’ll have enough time to do X assignment or read Y pages, and then I either don’t end up doing the assignments at all or have far too little time to do them once I start.

            I also dislike memorizing, occasionally have peer pressure to dislike schoolwork, want to take part in many extra-curricular events, and want to make sure I’m taking advantage of my natural talents.



Journal 1.2: How can I proactively overcome by specific barriers to learning?

            In order to overcome my fear of success, I need to develop new self-thinking, getting over my old sense of academic self which is defined by not doing homework because I don’t think I need to and improperly prioritizing the way I spend my time—allowing casual hang out times to linger on and on because of my fear of saying goodbye, or my hesitancy to say goodbye because I don’t want to break the conversation. I need to realize that getting my work done satisfactorily comes before getting my work done extraordinarily. Once I get the work done just alright then I can adjust it to make it better. My work doesn’t need to be exceptional every time, and it can’t be exceptional until it is first acceptable, from where I then move on to make it better. I’m building new dreams and a new sense of possibility.

            I’m also afraid to fail, and that fear is increased by my lack of confidence in my academic learning skills. However, I’m going to over come this by developing academic learning skills with the LTL system—skills that comprise the most successful learning system for college students. I’ve already seen this help me learn. For example, while I was taking my OT exam, I specifically remembered studying for some of the content with the making lecture note questions system.

            To overcome the things that are harder for me, having executive function disorder, the time management especially will help me to accurately guess how long things will take and plan for them properly. With LTL I’ll learn to break large tasks into manageable parts that fit into life as it actually is—with its unexpected emergencies and interruptions.

            I can over come relying on rote memorization by learning to question and use visual learning methods in an active way, and I’ll rely on natural learning skills. I’ll overcome peer pressure by, with the ability in this new environment of college to form new habits, form new friends who are serious about college and motivated to do well will create positive peer pressure for me to succeed. Applying the LTL methods will make up for my lack of experience in learning how to learn. I’ll predict exam questions, develop good learning habits, and do well in school.

            I’ll get around the barrier of wanting to do so many extra-curricular activities and thus ignore academic work. I won’t lose focus of the chance to shape the rest of my life by being involved in the non-academic side of college life. A low GPA means forfeiting opportunities in gaining new skills and finding new goals for the rest of my life. I can add extra-curricular activities to my college work with time management strategies.



3 November 2012

Journal 2.1: How do I feel about changing my note-taking system?

            I am excited to change my note system because it will be good to have a pre-developed system that I can learn to use for myself. However, I do feel hesitant about leaving a three-inch margin and the entire backside of each page blank. I like to be efficient with the amount of paper I use for note taking. However, I’m being continually told, “note-taking is not the time to save paper!” So, I’m trying to accept that and move on using a lot of paper to take notes. However, part of my hesitation comes from not having taken advantage of all of that extra space too frequently after class. The three-inch margin I have used at times for questions, and I have used the other page one time for visual learning methods. This is when I learned the best though; I know that these things worked well for me though because on a recent OT exam I remember seeing the pages of my notes that I took, wrote questions for, and used visual learning methods for much more clearly than I do the notes that I didn’t do anything with after class. My ultimate goal now is to write questions after class, write a summary, an essay question, use visual learning methods, and then go back and review these periodically.



9 November 2012

Journal 3.1: How does the LTL method for reading to answer questions incorporate the four learning tools, and how does my current method of reading compare to reading to answer questions?

            The LTL method for reading incorporates the first learning tool of asking questions by, after surveying the chapter, having the user go through the chapter and write questions about the chapter content based on the headings and starts of paragraphs. It incorporates the second learning tool by breaking the assignment to read into the manageable tasks of (1) glancing over the chapter, (2) writing questions from headings, subheadings, pictures, and charts, (3) read for answers to the questions one has written, while underlining key words and phrases, and (4) revising questions if needed. The LTL method for reading incorporates the third learning tool of setting goals by having questions for the reader to keep in mind while they read. These questions act as short term goals; the reader’s shortest term goal is to answer these questions. The larger goal of LTL is to comprehend and remember what is needed from the reading assignment. The LTL method of reading incorporates the 4th learning tool, getting feedback, by having the reader able to review their understanding of a chapter by looking over some of the questions later and answering them without referencing the textbook. Whether or not they can answer the questions gives them feedback as to how well they understand the information.

            My method of reading is much was much more passive before I adopted the LTL reading method. I simply read books auditorily from beginning to end, writing down important information on a separate sheet of paper. Also, my method of reading did not change depending on the text I was reading. Now I have a framework with which I can read different types of literature.

Professors Ann Seavey and Alyson Longacre

EDU 171 Applications of Learning Theory

19 December 2012

Journal 4.1: Procrastination: Practice What You’ve Learned

            When I did this exercise, I was procrastinating on writing my psychology essay rough draft. It could have been personal or work related though as well. I had a number of reasons for delay. One, that then was the time to schedule for classes next semester or else I would miss what I wanted to take—“the perfect schedule and best teachers.” Reason two was that I had three mastering chemistry questions due at midnight. Three was that I needed to read “A General Introduction to Psychology” all at once right now (and I thought that I would have to read about 60 pages). A final reason was that I wanted to hang out with my friends instead of being alone doing work. My reasons for procrastinating can easily be hidden from me, or very subconscious reasons. These reasons were the controlling influences preventing me from working on my psychology essay rough draft.

            However, I came up with a number of arguments against these delays as well. One, I could have spent much less time choosing the extra classes I didn’t need like PE’s and 2 credits, realizing that after I make the basic schedule future time I spend planning will yield little. Two, I evaluated how many points the Mastering Chemistry questions were worth versus the number of points the rough draft was worth. It was 4 against 70 points. I could do those questions as a break from writing the essay. Three, I realized that I didn’t have to read an overwhelming amount of text to get some ideas for my essay. And four, I realized checked my priorities and values, and seeing that nothing dire was happening with my friends, I could forego spending time with them for my higher priority of completing schoolwork on time. Also, I could have gotten together with another student who was also working on the psychology rough draft to fulfill my desire to be with others and do my work. This would probably even help me do even better because I could bounce ideas off them and work through them in conversation. After thinking through these things, I was able to start the task at hand and finish it.



EDU 171 Applications of Learning Theory

19 December 2012

Journal 5.1: Preparing for Finals 3 proactive activities

            Preparing for finals is not a natural strength of mine. I am still learning how to do this and how to do it well. I didn’t study for exams much at all in high school either, so I’m especially out of experience. A couple final exam study strategies I’ve gleaned having just finished my first 4 college final exams are studying with community, taking advantage of resources given to you to study, and being wise about separating hanging out and studying. These I learned by experience this past week.

            Studying with others who are studying for the same thing as me or working on the same work helps me the most of all. This makes for easy situations in which I can teach or be taught and ask questions through my learning of a particular idea. These situations I gain very thorough knowledge of a topic. They’re like giving me ten instead of six fingers to smooth out my conceptual clay balls of understanding. Even if I’m just reading, I’m sure this would be helpful if I’m reading with other students who have a similar positive, valued outlook on education, because they will be focused, and we can even talk through the questions together.

However, there can’t always be this active communal aspect to my studying. I need to learn to study alone and to be disciplined in scheduling devoted study times at the optimum environments separately from times for hanging out with friends will help this. If I don’t have a predetermined plan, it will be hard for me to make the most of my time, because chances are that I won’t know the best route of action.