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Learning to Learn – How to Learn is More Important than What you Learn


Lifelong learning in children

Source: Google Images

Learning in itself has been a word of debate forever and from there stemmed our need to define what the difference between learning and education was. A third, very simple concept is literacy. What affects our life in a real way and how can we as parents ensure that we have done our fair bit of helping is what we should all think about.

Is learning important or is the habit of learning important? Is what you learn important or how you learn it important? My reflective exercise yields me only one answer. How is more important than what. This ‘how’ makes or breaks my entire learning cycle for life.

Have you observed in adult life how difficult it is sometimes for adults to learn a new skill? The very expectation of acquiring a new skill, spending time on learning something new is scary. Now take a moment out to observe a young child, how excited he is to hold, touch, feel, throw… learn something new. So the obvious question is – what happens between then and now that affects the way we think so drastically? Today if you see a colleague who jumps at the thought of anything new – trying clothes from a new store, trying out a new food joint, speaking to the newest employee and so on, you are going to label her/him as “bachi hai”(she thinks like a child). But in all reality all she really is, is excited about what the next moment holds for her! What is it that she derives out of the new moment? What is that next experience that will offer her a new learning experience? That is a healthy learning attitude towards life. This is one person who will never be content with the knowledge he has and will forever struggle to keep a lid on his desire to absorb more.

So now, going back to childhood, if we agree that one of the biggest way children learn is by asking questions, then one of the key elements of the learning process is the ability to ask questions. It doesn’t matter what the child asks, the answer will gently nudge him towards thinking more or asking another question. In essence, the process of learning is helping the child learn, not the content. Once the child masters the the art of asking questions, boldly, without any hesitance, without a spare thought, learning will happen. Being aware of world knowledge and being able to disseminate it at the right time is literacy.

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Asawari Joshi Salwan is an Anthroposophy-inspired Parent Coach. She coaches mothers of young children, helping them feel confident about themselves as parents, and strengthening their bond with one another through one-to-one sessions and group workshops. Her objective is to build a safe, healthy and nurturing community for each child. Through her writing, Asawari wants to help parents connect to their feelings so that they ask the right questions of themselves. She also blogs at http://sowthechange.com/


5 thoughts on “Learning to Learn – How to Learn is More Important than What you Learn

  1. Aparajita Bose

    Excellent post! I shall just add to it one thought. Parents as well as teachers can sow the seed of ‘asking questions’ in the child right when they are very young.
    In the field of academics, teachers can stimulate the young minds through ‘thinking questions’ as Bloom’s taxonomy tells us. The young children would finally know that just knowing is not enough and that learning does happen through asking. Of course, teachers would do good by not answering readily, but by encouraging the kids to reflect and come back with answers later when she could take the opportunity to open a discussion with inputs from the kids. The inquiry-based learning method has many pluses, though the time it takes to arrive at a point after sessions could raise eyebrows.

    Reply
    1. Asawari

      I so agree Aparajita! Adopting the Inquiry based learning takes a lot of courage. And the first steps are taken at home. Parents do play a very crucial role as early as a year, as the child starts responding to cues. Thank you for your support!

      Reply

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