Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Learning = Participating + Mastering

This morning I went to a "forum" put together by the after school folks (PASE).  It was a two-part affair on a Monday in rainy, rainy New York city.  And, it was sold out.

The presentations were given by a small group of administrators.  Half were from colleges and half from after school or community based organizations.  Those presentations were given with a great deal of conviction and humor,  and were a valuable reason for me to attend.

I took several pages of notes but came away with some hugely significant ideas, some of which I already know and employ, and some reframed.

People, be they teenagers or older adults, look for a place to fit.  Some may jump in and try to make a college or job (in this case) work but ULTIMATELY a good fit leads to SUCCESS.

Asking for help is an important reason for succeeding but that entire question is fraught with downsides which prevent students (in this case) from taking advantage.

These two observations can be linked by the description of a scenario:

A student applies and is admitted to a college.  The students goes to the college, after attending orientation.  The student THRIVES/CRASHES AND BURNS/MAKES IT?

Learning how to take the many small steps which make up life is an experience that continues all of our lives.

Participating in the struggle which leads to the learning is a normal and necessary aspect.

Mastering each step of the multi-faceted road map is why we participate and how we learn.

Plunking down in the midst of a totally foreign context rarely feels like a good fit.
I think the phrase "asking for help" is different from looking at the road map and seeking the pieces that will lead to successfully mastering it.  Plunking down in the midst of a totally foreign context, and realizing it is not as foreign as it first seemed, may be the difference between choosing to participate and mastering it.

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