Learning how to learn

It’s becoming more clear to me, as I go about my work in the world of organisations, that so many of us have never learned how to learn.

We know how to find out about facts, yes, and models – we know how to do that. But knowing how to do the learning that changes us, up-ends us, opens up new possibilities for understanding, action and relationship? Or working with the many emotions and difficulties that come when we step into something new? What about understanding our inner worlds with enough discernment that we can catch on to the hidden commitments (to stay safe, to look good) that compete with our stated wishes? We’re generally not so skilled at that.

I’ve started to lay out over recent days how our societal commitment to detached understanding (the ‘cartesian’ world, our schooling) might be contributing to this. It’s important because an ability to learn is probably what we need most right now, as the world continues to shift and change around us.

The good news is that it is possible to learn how to learn. We can do it as adults. And we can certainly make it possible for our children, if only we’ll be brave enough.

To support you in getting started: three wonderful resources from people who have thought about this a lot:

1. Stop Stealing Dreams A downloadable, shareable pdf by Seth Godin

A passionate, provocative manifesto about education, about the industrial-scale uniformity so easily brought about by our education system, and packed with ideas about what we might do about it all. Soaring, inspiring reading – I think a must for any teacher, manager, leader, or parent. You can download it from Seth’s blog here, and you can watch Seth talk about it here.

2. Do Schools Kill Creativity? A TED talk by Ken Robinson

A moving and intelligently argued plea for an education system that nurtures creativity instead of constraining it. Filled with many arguments that apply equally to our universities, institutions and organisations.

3. Free to Learn A book by Peter Gray

The author, a distinguished developmental psychologist, draws on wide ranging and convincing research to argue why our way of thinking about education so often stifles real learning, and why we need to entrust children with steering their own learning and development if we want them to thrive in today’s world.

Photo Credit: Photographing Travis via Compfight cc

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