It is not necessary to have a teacher to learn, but a teacher must have learners to justify the act of teaching.
Learners have many options these days. More options than a lot of people realize, much of which is available free.
Many of us have past experiences about learning that hold us back.
My earliest memories of school are;
- getting hot milo served in the classroom in winter and milk in summer,
- kicking a ball over the fence and getting beaten up for my lack of precision,
- bullied and ridiculed by a teacher and made to stand in the corner for not knowing how to spell my last name and
- getting the strap for not knowing that a wood pile in the playground where our ball had landed was out of bounds.
Not once in my early days of school can I remember anyone trying to show me how to learn or giving more than one option to learn, like it was some kind of secret.
I found out what the secret is. I’ll share it with you later.
Listening to a teacher stand in front of the class, talking about things she probably knew something about, without knowing how to learn was extremely boring for me.
I quickly became known as the problem kid and no doubt was given other labels. You probably had other kids in your class like me. The ones making animal noises, doing distracting acts and having their name constantly repeated by the teacher [to shut up].
So most of my life, my belief was that my ability to learn was limited. Being made to stand in the corner with the threat of wearing a dunce hat, by a bully teacher at six years old was just the beginning.
Labels can be so damaging to people, young minds especially. Personally I try not to label people and put them in categories or certain groups. My preference is to take each person for their individual worth, their skills and values, without judging if they are right or wrong. I get some people and others just leave me wondering. We all have our own realities based on what we have learnt or experienced.
Many adult learners carry some major baggage within regarding their ability to learn. I don’t like to judge them. They are just missing some key pieces of the jigsaw.
So many people, fall through the cracks of our school system. The education systems are way underfunded. The curriculum teachers are forced to follow is so restrictive, revolves around onerous box ticking by teachers who are time poor, due to administration overload.
If we truly valued our teachers with their hard earned degrees and big hearts, they would be viewed as pillars of society, paid at least as much as a we are happy to pay a baby sitter per child in their care [do the maths] let them adapt to the needs of each child in a class with realistic numbers so each child could get a fair amount of their attention. The whole issue is complicated I know, but still makes me feel pissed off.
In my view, our children’s school systems are tired old broken machines that keep getting patched up. Poor man’s thinking. They are a relatively safe place where we as busy parents trying to make ends meet, can leave our children and they get given some knowledge along the way.
It is not all bad news.
Our past has little relevance to our ability to learn new skills, age is no barrier, young and old.
As adults it is vital we keep learning, pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone. The world is changing fast, we must make the effort to keep up.
As parents we must rethink the way we learn, then show our children how to learn, what their options for learning are, guide them and encourage them to create something worthwhile for others. Just point them in right direction and show them where to get the knowledge, it is out there already.
If the knowledge is not out there, you have an opportunity to get it out there. Maybe you will be rewarded for sharing.
When something is broken and the need still exists, someone will fill that need. The evidence is all around us and easily accessible through the internet.
Try logging on to youtube.com using the words “how to” [whatever you need to learn]. Or go to Udemy.com where there are 30,000 courses, many for free. Google what it is you need to learn, research it and solve some of the problems you have in your life. Share the results of your research. We teach best what we need to know the most.
If you have to pay for the knowledge, so what, just make sure you are getting good value and there is some way of either getting a refund or stopping any ongoing payments if you are not.
So what is the Big Secret?
Learning is your responsibility. Nobody can force you to learn. Make it a big part of your day. Less consuming force fed rubbish like what the media deals out, more of what really matters to you and what you want out of life. Do stuff and ride the emotional rollercoaster of fails and successes. Like a toddler learning to walk. Start doing, one step at a time. Work out what works for you. That is the secret.
The internet has changed the rules when it comes to learning. The past no longer matters.
You have the opportunity to reboot your life if you find yourself complaining about your lot.