Unfolding plans 141 – Teaching people how to learn

At work I would like to teach people only one thing.  I would like them to learn how to learn.  Once you have learned how to learn you never need to be taught anything again.

Give a man a fish or teach him how to fish.  I’m sure the same thing applies to women.

I would also like them to find an enthusiasm for learning and so perhaps that is two things.  How can I enjoy learning and how can I get better at it?  That is what I would like to teach them and that is what I would like them to learn.

I believe that the education system failed me.  Yes, I had a good background into some interesting subjects and I came out of school with some good qualifications.  It always surprises me how much I can still retain from those days.  They are getting more and more distant as time passes by.

Yet where I think it failed me is that it left me without the desire to learn.  That came later. I just couldn’t see the point.  Why learn French when everyone speaks English?  Why learn history when I had all my future ahead of me?

It wasn’t until I was well into my working career that I found the beauty in discovery and the wonder in uncovering knowledge.  I’m not talking about in a Google way.  Other search engines are available.  I’m not taking about just a string of facts but rather how a love of learning leads to a deeper understanding of how things are and how they may be.  The ability to think is not as innate as we may… think!

I’ve read a lot of books about it.  There is a surprise.  I’ve read most of Edward De Bono’s work and found his approach fascinating.  There is a lot you can learn about learning and how your brain works.

It’s not just me though.  There is a campaign for learning which has the same idea.  I stole this from their website:

‘Learning to learn approaches (also known as meta-cognition and self-regulation approaches) utilise teaching strategies which aim to support learners to think about how they learn by making the process explicit, and in doing so help them become more effective learners through reflection and the application of learning strategies.  Evaluation has shown that these types of approaches have consistently high levels of impact and can be particularly effective for low achieving and older pupils.’

The Open University even has a course on it:

‘Learning and change can mean big decisions and asking important questions. This free online course is a friendly starting point introducing a range of key ideas to help you consider if what you want to do with your life and learn by suggesting ways of building on and ‘fine-tuning’ your own expertise and encourages you to think of yourself as a learner.’

Did they say free?  I might give it a go.

If I could teach people one thing it would be to learn how to learn.  If I could give one gift it would be the love of learning.

That is what I would do.  I just need to learn how to do it.

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