I try to learn from everything. I think it’s incredibly important to keep on improving. In the same way, I try to share whatever knowledge I have whenever I can.
A lot of people don’t feel the same way.
What I have come to find is that people often times take advice, help, suggestions or even opinions as negation of their own ideas, ways or opinions.
I have always been baffled by this.
Here are my thoughts on teaching and learning.
Everyone has been to school.
In school, students are supposed to learn and teachers are supposed to teach. Everyone is okay with that.
Is the idea that one can only learn while in school?
Is the idea that one can only teach in a school?
Should one stop learning upon leaving school?
Should one, not in the profession of teaching, never teach?
In school a teacher teaches. No one has issue with that.
A teacher helps to guide students in their learning and gives them the information they need. The information they lack.
Beyond everything else, the fundamental requirement for teachers is that they know something that the student does not.
A teacher is someone who shares the information they have with someone who lacks it.
A student then is anyone who seeks the information that they lack.
Can we agree that, in general, knowledge is beneficial?
If so, then one has to consider that striving to attain knowledge in life is beneficial.
If one considers that, then one must further consider that keeping a student’s mentality is beneficial to ones life.
Then lastly, one should consider that the entirety of life should be treated as school.
I feel that a major problem for people lies in pride.
People are often afraid of looking stupid. They’re afraid of feeling inferior to others. At the very least, they loathe to think others might think of them as stupid or inferior.
This fear causes people to see an offer of information, knowledge or opinion as an attack.
If it’s true that this fear is a problem, people should think about this:
People know what they know because, until now, that’s what they needed to know.
That is, people have learned what they had to learn. A lack of knowledge does not mean a lack of intelligence. It means a lack of experience.
A brain surgeon knows a great deal about anatomy and specifically the brain. This brain surgeon probably knows little about rocket science.
Similarly, a rocket scientist knows a lot about propulsion and physics. The rocket scientist probably knows little about the brain and anatomy.
Does that mean that a either should feel stupid?
No, of course not.
Does that mean that a either can’t learn any of the other?
No, of course not.
Let’s take these two professionals and subject them to learning guitar. Let’s assume, that neither knows anything about guitars. Let’s then take a teenage kid, who’s been in a few bands. This kid is not a pro by any stretch, but can play the guitar well enough.
By the path of their lives, the teenager has experience and knowledge that these professionals don’t. The teenager has the potential to teach these two highly learned individuals something. Something they don’t know.
The only thing that would keep them from learning that, would be pride.
We can all learn from each other. It doesn’t take a degree in something to be able to teach it.
At this point, the reader might find themselves thinking in one of two ways.
The first, would be something along the lines of:
“Hrm… I can see what the author is saying and while I agree with this bit, I don’t agree with that bit…”
The second, might go something like:
“Who does this author think they are? Where do they get off?…”
In the first line of thinking the reader is considering the information itself and ascertaining it’s merit. They are looking at the information being presented and judging it as they see fit. Whether they use it or deem it valid is up to them. They may find it completely useless to them and that’s okay.
The second line of thinking refuses to acknowledge the information. In the second line of thinking you can sense that the reader has taken some offense. They are now very unlikely to be able to judge the information and are instead more likely to dismiss the information out of spite.
With the first line of thinking the knowledge is received and understood. Whether it’s used is irrelevant. With the second line of thinking the knowledge will most likely not be received or attempted to be understood.
When information, knowledge or opinions are shared, the only expectation should be that this information be acknowledged and understood.
If the recipient acknowledged the information but insisted on discarding it, not using or deeming it invalid, then that is their prerogative.
The recipient must ultimately decide what to do with that information.
Again, the only expectation, is acknowledgement and understanding of the information.
Back to school
In school, are people given a passing grade when they’ve gotten a job?
Are they given a passing grade when they’ve succeeded at life?
No. A passing grade is administered when it’s acknowledged that the information was received and understood in some way.
People are not required to use the information.
Story for good measure
A person is walking down the street, when a stranger yells:
“Hey! Watch your step, there’s a hole there!”
The person could say:
“Don’t tell me what to do jerk!”
Then continue to walk blindly. Maybe they fall through a hole. Maybe not.
The person could say:
“Oh, thanks! I will…”
Then keep an eye out for the hole. Maybe they see and avoid it. Maybe they don’t and realize the stranger was just crazy.
I believe we should be willing to accept information from others. That we should be willing to give information as well.
I feel that pride often gets in the way of learning. In my opinion, we should try to put pride aside and strive to live a T.A.L (Teaching And Learning) life.
If anything, remember this great quote by a great man:
“In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson