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Who is in control of learning?

  • Written by Andrew Weiler
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Many teachers inevitably approach their teaching with the attitude that teacher knows best. And sometimes some may. However this attitude robs them of the opportunity of seeing the marvelous learning powers that all humans have and indeeed they know best! These powers are best seen when the learner is in charge. In our early years when we, amongst a whole raft of learnings ( and that's what they were), learnt our first language. That arguably is one amazing feat. And we learnt it all by oursleves! Of course our parents wanted a part of the action, but conscious teaching input was unnecessary. All we needed from them was their love and communication to learn the language as well as they could speak it. This has been illustrated in families where the parents make no conscious intervention in the child's learning.

Instead of recognising the inherent powers we all have, our education system insists on TEACHING students knowledge, systems, etc in ways that don't recognise the amazing powers we all have. We are taught in ways that edify the knowledge, the teacher and the method, not the learner. Consequently we strip learners of one of the great powers we all had and that was to trust ourselves. Trusting ourselves in what we did, what we said, what we didn't say is a key understanding which helps us understand the powerful learning of infants and.....

If we turn our attention to the great lights of our civilizations, all of them in one way or the other trusted themselves and what they saw and did above what their peers advised them to do, think or say. The likes of Newton, Michaelangelo, Einstein, M Jordan, S Jobs etc all backed themselves, their own judgement, their own skills to produce the magificence that they did.

The sooner we start paying attention more attention to learning and let that be our guide, the sooner we will be able to empower our students so that they will once again trust themselves more than they trust our grades, our knowledge and what we teach them.  And that is when we will see them fulfilling their potential not living lives half lived.