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Learning to Learn

February 7, 2013

Street art by Meek

This is an old saved draft I found dated months before this blog evolved. Enjoy.

Novices shed light on situations through novel eyes, while experts are constrained by narrowed study and patterned thought – it is believed. This, however, can go in another direction, where the beginner may consciously disregard something, allowing the experts to tend to it, seeing it as their responsibility.

This brings two faults. Firstly, the novice is neglecting the important aspect of human nature to be curious, learn, and speculate, while leaving what may have been a bright insight left unthought of and unstated. Secondly, experts are then left to attend the issue in a routine manner. This approach is less exciting and innovative for everyone.

Could this phenomenon be due to the fact that many of us are already overwhelmed with our lives between work, family, friends, exercise, eating right, and mindful relaxation? Finding a balance is hard enough as is. Nevertheless, the prominent issue shining through is that when someone or a group sees or foresees a problem, what should be routine is action.

Voices need to be heard, concerns rose, and perspectives shared. Like the body and theories of thought, many aspects of life have also been mechanically separated into “fields of study” generating a culture of, “that’s not my job.” The result is a dichotomy comprised of independent individuals dependent on others and a system of routine, where ‘experts’ are left to do what they do–to each their own. There is, however, an air of mutual recognition, where everyone contributes their part, as well as many free riders.

There is hope. Environmental awareness is rising and an increasing culture of shared responsibility for each other and the world we live in is trailing behind. With this mentality people’s beliefs and expectations are changing. These are the foundations of true change. People can hoot and holler, publish factoids and statistics and address pinpoint issues within the grand scheme, but in the end, it’s a collective change in beliefs that will bring widespread action with gumption for the better.

This growing movement harbors learning in its core. This is where the factoids and statistics are beneficial; however, they are clearly not cutting it in terms of learning. People must be able to grasp the basic concepts surrounding environmentalism and the importance of change.

The economic crisis, climate change, farm drought, and mass ‘food’ production are heavy hitters to knocking people into consciousness, yet something is lacking. These could be various things, but one would not be scorned to say that concern and interest in community and the greater good needs to be increased and that the educational system needs to re-focus their approach to learning and begin teaching kids to foster a fountain of lifetime curiosity and desire to learn.

Learning to learn is of utmost interest and concern. Current modes of education are too, here it is again, mechanically separated. With blocks of time devoted to specific subjects, where specific approaches are taught to the test with specific formulas and information, youth can easily become both overwhelmed and disengaged. They may learn to learn for the tests, but are also learning that learning is like an unfitting job, it must be done and done adequately, but their curiosity in the world and life is not being enhanced.

Other countries are experimenting with alternative approaches to learning and engaging younger generations. By engaging them with each other, their community and the outside world, connections are being sparked that raise levels of happiness, increase mood and focus, and contribute greatly to a child’s will to learn and lust for life.

There is nothing greater than a lust for learning. If this quality can be encouraged in early childhood years, it is quite possible to end up with a new generation of happier individuals with a natural curiosity to learn, connect with others, voice their opinions, stand up for what’s right, and embrace community and family growth robustly. They will become connected and independent and at the same time dependently co-dependent, believing and expecting others to share their opinions and offer insights, because many do live curiously and enjoy learning. In that, debate will emerge. Voicing differences of opinion are paramount to innovative solutions and discoveries.

Of course, you may be thinking, ‘yes, great–but how?’ I second that. It is a daunting and complex task raising a problem tangled by many attributes to be tackled for change to come; yet solutions and success are in sight. Beliefs appear to be changing and a positive, sustainably focused mindset is becoming more widespread. Sure, big business and government dilute it, but grassroots movements are how change is manifesting.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

~ Margaret Mead

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Alex Jones permalink
    February 7, 2013 6:55 pm

    One challenge to overcome is making knowledge free and easily available. Too many special interest groups have a monopoly on knowledge where they charge for its availability and still maintain tight control over its distribution. Knowledge that is charged for becomes the province of the rich, and the less well off are denied access to that knowledge on account of their poverty. Knowledge is a resource, which should be free and accessible for all.

    • February 7, 2013 8:00 pm

      Great point, Alex. I’m with you. Commercialized education is outrageously priced and could use fundamental restructuring in many areas. Non-marketed life-education properly pursued is a powerful thing. There are a lot of online learning programs available today and a global push for free education. I wrote about it here, if you’d like to take a look. thanks.

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