Monday, June 12, 2006

Learning and Failing

George linked to, and pulled a great quote about the difficulty of real learning out of Lanny Arvan's post:
"'Learning is about failing, repeated failing.' It is uncomfortable being in a state either of complete ignorance or having the awkward feeling of partial knowledge, it is ego deflating when initial stabs produce less than satisfactory results, and to the extent that learning is viewed by students as a competitive sport, it also raises the fear that the others are progressing along so nicely and it is only this particular student who is not getting it, so he is falling behind."
This is what I was trying to articulate about the the choice to pursue learning goals -- although we say we want to learn to surf, the reality is that the learning is likely going to be painful and difficult. We want to be able to surf, preferably without the pain of learning. Lanny also touches on the issue at the core of personal learning environments and self-directed learning:
"What I want to talk about in this post is teaching really bright kids, especially early on in college, and getting them to make intellectual leaps in their thinking and to begin to get them to consider that is their lot in life and how they should spend their time."
Students (me included) have always had the latter decision made for us in school, which means we haven't properly developed our skills in deciding how to spend our "learning time". We might get very good at time management within the parameters set out for us, but we're not good at deciding what is most worth our attention and how it fits into the goals for our lives.

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