What might enhance human learning? What might facilitate a quality session that would have legs for some? Are there emotive tones that might nurture by offering an atmosphere of engagement, encouragement and acceptance?
I suspect that learning to choose is a significant variable, particularly in a democracy – the myth of democracy. I like to say to parents that you have 18 years to let go. By that time self-reliance and the ability to make sound personal choices would best be well advanced. And this does complicate matters because there are no right choices, in the simplistic sense. No moral invective so determines our actions that comradery, recurrent lines of personal pursuit, knowing when to say yes – bear no part in decision making. Not that there aren’t consequences. That’s where practicing comes in. But active choice that is not repressive to others for their choices is a reasonable model that could serve the democracy to paraphrase the Greeks.
To that I would add an organic metaphor for consideration. Like all metaphors, understanding relies on knowledge of the end points; only then can we draw the analogy.
Human lives are like annuals. We go thru seasons. Spring is birth and winter death. We see all of it before our eyes. So we can use what we see to get a sense of it, as it applies to our lives.
Human lives are like perennials; we stay alive if traumatic accidents and incidents do not derail us, but we still die. In between we are recognizable by species, family groups of various sorts, gender, and individuality. But there is something else as well…something that happens because we are able to mull things over. We reflect upon them. And maybe by seeing the seasons unfold we can re-cognize (sic) certain cycles and get a glimpse of what ‘generations’ mean and thus our place in a grander matrix of life, even in an ecology. And in a way this repetition is fundamental to both the structure of our learning and the structure of human civilization. We don’t have to start always from the beginning.
The soil can be so hard to grow in that only the most adaptable survive. Or it can readily nurture a wide range of life so many species reach their genetic potential. So consider what the human parallel would be to a nurturing environment. Add personal choices made with care, a wide range of experiences to broaden relevance, opportunity for quiet reflection and mix.
Ok, what could you do to matter in this regard and are you prepared to do it? Could you sweeten the tone in the classroom? Vary the displays? Honor student expression? Engage in dialog where the purpose isn’t to win the argument? Honor laughter not drawn by ridicule?
‘Learning to learn’ is a phrase suggestive of a wider angle of consideration of what we can do to invigorate our most essential processes. At first it seems hard to get specific enough to say anything exactly – but if we meditate on it some ideas emerge:
A permeating sense of acceptance and encouragement
An experiential component to reflect upon later
Some words written to clarify and communicate
The narrative of the moment of insight shared
And perhaps some form of confirmation from others