I love to learn, yes I admit it, being in an active learning situation sends waves of wonder dancing through my consciousness. Like a jolt of pure energy it provides an invigorating buzz, motivating me to … well … learn more. How do you feel about learning?
It could be suggested that a person’s attitude toward learning is influenced by their experience of learning. Those who have had positive experiences of learning, those who are able to solve problems as a result of their learning and those for whom learning offers a recognizable reward, tend to view learning as a useful endeavor. Learning can be directly applied so it is valued. However, in different situations, the opposite may be the case. Learning may become meaningless and ‘boring’ because it is too far removed from a learners experience or it is a repetitive reproduction of someone else’s ideas.
From this perspective, one of the potentially devastating impacts of school is the numbing, or in some cases downright destruction of an individual’s love of learning. This demise may come from a number of sources. A love of learning may be murdered by peers who preach the mantra that learning is ‘uncool’. Perhaps worse, a love learning may be annihilated by apathy or destroyed by a belief that it is not worth the effort. In other words, if learning is perceived as irrelevant or difficult, it tends to drown in a grey sea of discontent.
Usually teachers are handed the responsibility for inspiring learning. They are expected to deliver content in a manner that will engage and motivate their students. Teachers are trained to address multiple learning styles and offer opportunities for the meaningful application of knowledge. Yet it it is equally important for the learner to accept responsibility for their learning. The old expression ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink’ has some relevance here. Put simply, a learner’s mindset has an enormous impact on the learning situation. Learners who choose to learn, have a massive advantage over those who learn to avoid punishment or gain reward.
I believe I am constantly learning because I choose to be constantly learning. I want to learn simply for the sake of learning. As a result, every situation and every interaction becomes an opportunity to discover something new. The advantage of this mindset is that even if material is delivered in a manner I find confusing or boring, I can look beyond the emotion and find a fresh idea. So, next time you find yourself wondering if you can justify the time and effort it will take to acquire that new skill or thought, perhaps you could look beyond the immediate benefit (or lack thereof) to the wider implications. Learning is an adventure, it is a quest – it is life’s rite. So don’t allow others to take wonder of discovery from you. Take control of your learning and be responsibility for, and to, yourself.