If You’re Not Learning, Then Exactly What Are You Doing?

08 Dec


Photo by cohdra on Morgue File

What’s your learning style? Do you prefer learning in a group and in an interactive setting? Or one-on-one? Do you retain information best through lectures, or visuals, or simply by reading books?

I have spoken often in other posts about my love for learning. I consider myself a perpetual student. I feel the day we stop learning is the day we die. Learning is an essential life-skill. If one is to ascertain wisdom, one must be studious. But, learning is not always easy. It does not always make itself easy prey. It is work. It is taxing on one’s mental faculties, as well as one’s emotional stamina and commitment. But, like all things that require effort and perseverance, it is worth it.

I have also made the argument that, the greatest endeavor of any student is not the accumulation of facts, but the acquisition of truth. Nothing wrong with facts. But, you do not need to be a great student to gain facts. Wisdom comes in by seeing the importance of those facts, by seeing what connects them; ascertaining cause and effect. For instance, it is one thing to know the dates of the American Civil War and to memorize a list of her generals and battles and casualties and the like; but, it is something else to see the relevance of these things, to piece together the cause and effect . . . in other words, to see, not only to the what or the who; but, to understand the why.

Even at a young age, as I look back and reflect, I was always curious and interested in the whys of the world. I was always seeking and probing and pondering.

As far as my learning style, I have learned in many settings. Academically, I have found the value of lecture settings. In these settings, I have learned to write . . . and write quickly! I have been in seminar settings. In a seminar setting, you must participate in and before the class. As an introvert, this is not my favorite approach! However, I do understand the benefits of peer criticism and feedback.

As I have gotten older (and removed from the classroom) I have enjoyed continuing my education through self-teaching or learning. There is a fancy term for this, if anyone is interested, it is called autodidactic. This word comes from the Greek: autos, which means self and didaktikos, which means teaching.

For me, there is really no difference. I learn as easily through lecture, or visuals, or books or groups. For me, it is not the setting or the medium, but the result. I see value in all the above. Because I was in the academic world for a number of years, I suppose I became more accustomed to the lecture style.

Again, now that I am older, I appreciate the pace and independence of self-learning. I appreciate my many professors and peers who stirred up and honed my study skills and my love for learning.

After all, I did not always love learning. I once thought it boring and even nerdy! I once would have yawned and rolled my eyes at such ideas. I once thought school was only a means to an end. I saw no real value in it for its own sake.

Maybe, just maybe, I have gained at least some wisdom through the years!

But, as anyone who knows me would attest, I am still a work in progress!


Posted by on December 8, 2013 in Daily Prompt


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6 responses to “If You’re Not Learning, Then Exactly What Are You Doing?

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