Perceptual Issues in Learning

Everyone is different. Everyone has different perceptions of and on things, objects, situations, ideas, philosophies.. the list goes on.

When set the task of writing a blog post about perceptions in learning and education I immediately and naively saw perception as just visual and that people might not see the same object the same as they are looking for a different angle. I soon realised that I was incredibly wrong. The whole subject and idea goes much further than visual and sensory perceptions. Or is it? My perception may be different to yours..

I personally believe that a large part of perception is about experience and previous experiences and knowledge that people may have which emphasise their own individual perception of something. These experiences along with education/background, beliefs and lifestyle combine to create an a individual perception or perspective.

So how does perception work in the classroom? Are the needs of individual perceptions catered for?

Some teachers link perception theories such as those by Carl Rogers and JJ Gibson to the VAK ‘learning styles’, but how far are the perceptions of a person linked to how that person learns?

This is still a question I am looking into and hopefully I’ll be finding out more and become closer to an answer while looking into perceptual theories over the next week.


  1. Excellent point. In graduate school there are courses called qualitative research. A primary aspect of this research is subjectivity of the researcher who must include an explanation of his or her subjectivity. The point is the interpretation of the results and the underlying perception or lens is inherently subjective.

    This is a big issue in math as probably most math teachers assume students can see all the little steps that are involved in a problem. Subsequently these steps may be overlooked, the student gets lost and the teacher doesn't quite understand why the students are lost.


    1. Hi Randy,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I totally agree with your point about mathematics as it is something I particularly struggled with as a child. Teachers are now more aware of how children learn and their different perceptions however like you said most teachers assume students can see all the steps that are involved in a problem when this isn’t always the case.

      Very interesting, thanks :)


  2. Thanks for sharing these thoughts, very interesting and I am learning a lot from following all the posts emanating from your 202 sessions.

    I've always found this issue really interesting, indeed one of the biggest and most interesting challenges for primary and early years teachers I think. When I was training I was aiming to teach in Key Stage One, and a number of my fellow PGCEers expressed surprise. They said they wanted to teach upper KS 2 as the content was more interesting and more challenging.

    I took issue with this one two fronts. Firstly if you find key stage 2 content challenging then I am not sure you are the best person to be teaching it... More importantly though, the challenge I always found with working with younger children is figuring out that perception, trying to work out what is going on inside the 'black box' that is their heads and hence getting the understanding needed to engage with them at their level of understanding, or perception, and moving that understanding on.

    I blogged a story about this here: , and a video here: .

    I think such an approach is fundamental to teaching younger children, and pretty important for teaching anyone.



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