Be the learner
Carl Rogers (1902 – 1987) writes in «Freedom to learn» (1969) about a presentation he made at a Harvard conference where the discussion was about how learning affect behavior. The feedback Rogers got were critical...but listen to what he had to say about learning in 1952! This is my translation and interpreting from the book written in Swedish into English:
My experience is that I can`t teach anyone of how to teach. It seems as if all you can teach others is meaningless and have no influence on behavior. I realize more and more that I only is interested in the kind of learning that really influence how we act, that is selfmade learning. That kind of empirically learning, a context that makes sense to you personally and came to you by experience. Often with a natural enthusiasm that merges into becoming teaching and it`s result becomes unimportant. As a consequence, I realize I have lost the interest in being a teacher.
When I try to teach, as I sometimes do, I`m dismayed that the results could be dangerous. It seems as it makes the individual doubt in their own experiences and suffocate meaningful learning. I have realized that the consequences of teaching either is unimportant or harmful.
Because of this I realize I am only interested in being the student and I would rather engage in learning that means something, and that affect my behavior in a meaningful way.
In my experience it`s very rewarding to engage in learning in a group, in an relationship, or by myself. I realize that one of the best, but hardest ways for me to learn is to remove my defense, at least temporary, and try to understand in what way an experience feel for another person.
I have found that another way for me to learn is to enunciate what feel uncertain about and try to make clear my bothers and this way try to come closer to the meaning that my experiences seems to have. If anyone else has had experiences like this, than the consequences would be implied:
It would mean we would have to abolish teaching. People would come together if they wanted to learn. We would get rid of examination. It only measures unimportant knowledges. We would get rid of grades and point off the same reason. We would get rid of graduation as an evidence of competence. Graduation only marks an end to something, the person engaging in learning would be interested in an continuous learningprosess. We would get rid of thesis’s because we realize nobody learns anything from a thesis.
What I am interested in is if anything of what I tried to describe here makes scenes to you, and what meaning does it have for you?
People have an natural tendency to learning because they are curious, until this curiosity reduces by the education system. Meaningful learning happens when the student experiences the topic as relevant for their own purpose.
What do you think of this? What spoke to me was this: "Because of this I realize I am only interested in being the student and I would rather engage in learning that means something, and that affect my behavior in a meaningful way".
Always be student, always be the learner.
XOXO -Ida Karolina