Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Plato and starting off right on the climb

"With anything young and tender the most important part of the task is the beginning of it; for that is the time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression most readily taken."  Plato, The Republic

What is "learning"?  In my experience, you have learned something if you can pull it out and use it after you figured it out.  And, to do that, either you have to want to use it or there has to be a really good reason for using it.

How someone learns something is impacted enormously by that character that Plato is talking about.  And, the "wanting to use it" (passion) is born sometime in one's life and the "really good reason" comes about as the fire under all of us that motivates.

Learning to learn means setting the pool right.  I know what that means because I've begun to learn many things later than those young and tender moments.  And, not setting the stage to really believe you can get it means adding a whole mountain of self-doubt to the task.

Maybe my question is too simple because what I am talking about is really LEARNING, not just figuring something out long enough to fill in a bubble sheet.  So, let's focus on "you have learned something if you can pull it out and use it after you figured it out."

I was sitting next to another parent waiting for one of my children to finish a class last year.  I asked what this parent did for a living.  She said, she had been a lawyer and was now a teacher.  I guessed she was an English or Writing teacher.  She said she was a Math teacher.   HHHHhhhhmmmm....

Then she explained,
she wasn't an English or Writing teacher because she had long surpassed trying to explain to a student how to do those things.  She, herself, didn't focus on doing the writing because she had already figured it out and was using it.  But, Math, was something she had struggled with herself as a student.  She could explain it to her students and anticipate the hills they would try to climb when they were learning.

And, she didn't let the fact that she was a lawyer get in the way of knowing her struggles would make her an effective teacher.

I am in a wrestling match with my own passions and learning styles.  I guess I should have majored in Anthropology, and not let learning to use data scare me so much.  Now, I am really beginning to understand the value of backing up observations with hard data.  And, I need to learn how to use Unity to bring my game to life!  Arrrrggghhh...

But, I also have a passionate belief that anyone, any age or background, can learn.  The length that learning goes to depends on their curiosity, motivation or desire.  And, the right fit of what they are learning.

Okay, time to go gaze at this mountain again.


  1. How do I vote for your book?

  2. Gorgeous! Both mountain and blog post :)