If you have been through school you'd have asked yourself or someone else if all you were taught were relevant in the first place. You look at all the information you are required to soak in and you wonder if it could be learned - and if it can, then you wonder if you could learn it. I look back at my over twenty years of formal education and I realize I was never taught how to learn. I am just now learning how I learn and it is amazing the simple stuff I am discovering.
How do you learn? Have you ever learned how to learn? I ask this not as a trick question - although it feels like one - but because learning isn't automatic. It is a skill - an art in it's own right - and must be learned itself. Think about it, how did the ancients learn how to learn? Many ancient cultures have left us glimpses into how they taught their children how to learn. They told them stories and fables, they took advantage of their childhood and teenage years to input the life information they wanted to pass across. They raised their children in peers, groups, cults and fraternities. This developed communal learning and ensured deeper lifelong learning experience. But how do we "modern" cultures learn?
In the next few articles we will look into modern ways to learn. I will in effect show you ways I am learning how to learn. I will give examples where it suffices and will also be very incisive and informative. So lets get right to it.
Learn by activity and NOT just by reading. This is important. We are trained to read and read and finally it will become a part of us. I have taught my students for a few years now this same principle of reading until it sticks that didn't work with me. My excuse? That was exactly what I was taught. So, I was probably saying to myself that, "although it didn't work with me it must work with someone else for my father, mother, brothers, sisters, and hundreds of other teachers to say it works."
I am only now realizing that what is wrong remains wrong even if the whole world says it was right. Until fairly recent world history, people of different cultures - from the Chinese to the Greek, Indian to Aboriginal - believed the world was flat. It was until people like, Herodotus, Pythagoras and Parmenides, postulated a possible spherical earth that the whole world population began to entertain its possibility. The earth didn't become spherical when they postulated it. It had always been so and all the people and cultures of the earth thinking it was flat wouldn't change it.
Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn. - Benjamin Franklin
It is the same with the "read, read, read" approach to learning. In fact, when you learn by activity you learn faster, recall better and enjoy the process. Do not take only my words for this. Pause and think of the things you do perfectly and without thinking about it like riding a bicycle. Did you learn them by reading about them or by taking activities on them? I already know your answer and this is so because your brain relates to activities and develops a pattern for doing it again and again.
Finally, I realized, while I was learning to write, that no matter how much I read about writing I didnt know how to. It was until I began to write that I became better and better. Today I am an author, write regularly for a blog and for other people.