On Learning


Human beings learn.  It is one of our strengths.  Learning and education are not necessarily the same things, however, as learning happens through experience as well as through instruction. Some level of learning is innate and each of us has our own aptitudes.

I have been an educator for nearly three decades.  I have seen a lot of theory come and go, but in the end what makes for a good education is that learning happens.  For some this is formal or even by rote, for others it is didactic, or Socratic. Each needs to be engaged in a way that suits them.

My own education says a lot.  I have six degrees (yes, I know), but I am limited in my practical skills.  I have recently learned how to change a fuse wire, and I am fairly competent at Ikea type flat pack construction (though it took me more than one wonky bookcase to achieve any success).

So what is the point of this?  Simply that we all have our own competencies and strengths.  Don’t let anyone who has a superior air put you down!  It is a pet peeve of mine that anyone uses educational attainment to belittle another.  In fact, it is the one instance where I will play the one-upmanship game.  I remember being at a seminar, and a (what I thought to be) interesting theory was put forward by an undergraduate speaker.  The response of one audience member was, “Well that is all well and good, but when I was at University X, we concluded . . . .”  Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have, but I did come to her aid with, “That’s interesting [person from Uni X], but when I was a Cambridge  . . . .”  I guess you see my point.

In the end, and as I have noted, I am highly educated, but I can’t change a sink washer. Believe in yourself, for every contribution to the world you make is a valid one. Keep on learning,  but more importantly keep on contributing!


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