Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Where Art Thou Learning

I read an opinion column that claims our difficulties arise from fundamentalism. He wrote that there are liberal fundamentalists as well as right-wingers and Moslems. Titled: "Closed mind a terrible thing to protect", he asks us to become our own persons. I think he has a point to a point. But there has to be some bedrock to build one's learning upon. There has to be a fundamental something or else one is liable to go swaying back and forth in the latest trends during your whole lifetime. In my profile in this blog I stated I am always learning. Yet I do have certain beliefs though that are solid. Not everything can be relative. I will give you the address of his website for those interested. I cannot say what he might have in it as I have not visited it myself. www.LearningToLearn.org.

1 comment:

Ed Johnson said...

Thanks for referencing my article in the paper. Let me try to explain what I mean by Learn to Learn.

Most learning - especially that learning which goes on in schools - is essentially the transmission of information, with knowledge treated as discrete, one time, and cumulative. More like a noun than a verb. The product of this is a learned person.

I have no problem with this, except that it is not enough. In today’s information age, we must all be learners, not only learned. We must have a command of the processes of learning, the ability to learn from our experiences. Call it Learn to Learn, or Process Education, or Experiential Education. More like a verb than a noun.

I’m a retired teacher. To do my own course planning, I use a key word, EAT. Traditional schooling moves from the Theory, to the Analysis of the theory, to the Experience. Consider a traditional college unit in physics. It starts with a lecture by the Professor on the Theory of, say, Ohm’s law, then moves to an Analysis of the theory in a smaller class, usually with a Teaching Assistant, then to an Experience in the physics laboratory. Mr. Ohm, of course , did it the other way around. He had an Experience in his lab, with his voltage source, resistors, meters et al., then Analyzed the results, and came up with the Theory or generalization. I don’t mean to imply that we should re-invent the wheel in our schools, but only that real learning - more than simple transfer-, moves from an Experience to an Analysis of the experience, to, Voila!, the generation of a Theory.