Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Learning, Learning Everywhere!

When will they ever learn?
My daughter comes down the stairs, her face flushed with frustration. "What's wrong?" I ask.

It's her friend she tells me. She has spent over an hour explaining to her best friend of 7 years (they are both 11) about the idea that you don't need to be sitting at a desk to be learning.

"She keeps saying that if you aren't at a desk studying you're not learning," my poor daughter cries out in despair.

They agreed to disagree (and preserve their wonderful friendship) but I assure my daughter that her friend is far from being the only person who takes that view.

In fact, if my life long work hasn't been about exploding this myth I don't know what it is about!
What does it mean to learn? Let's look at a dictionary definition.

Learning is the act of gaining knowledge
Knowledge gained by study; instruction or scholarship
The act, process, or experience of gaining knowledge or skill.
Knowledge or skill gained through schooling or study.

As you can see from the definitions, learning at a desk (schooling) is only one way of gaining knowledge.
Learning happens all the time, everywhere. We can not not learn. We might learn good things, or bad things but we will learn.

Gaining knowledge can be done by active study anywhere; it can be a process of becoming 'aware of' through frequent observation it can happen watching tv, going on a hike and observing, reading a book, talking with people, exploring, experimenting, sitting under a tree and reflecting. Not doing anything can result in learning.

Another thought on learning:
We are going to be changed by what we learn.

Learning is a process by which experience or practice results in a relatively permanent change in behaviour or potential behaviour

You are not going to store the knowledge in your head for the sake of storing but for the sake of engaging in the world, hopefully contributing.

Comment, thoughts welcome!


Anonymous said...

John Holt said it best:
"Fish swim, birds fly, humans learn." Something like that. We are learners and we were learners long before studying at a desk was ever invented for heavens sake!

Randy said...

Someone should have told the Greek Philosophers about desks...they sat outside and talked, and walked around in the open air. Guess they weren't good learners...?

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