Learning. What have you learned recently? How do you learn best? How have you been taught to learn by others? Why do some people stop learning at a certain point in their lives, while others learn forever? If the past repeats itself if we haven’t sufficiently learned from it, why aren’t more of us learning?
In a previous blog, I talked about my battle with Attention Deficit Disorder, how it has influenced my professional and personal lives. I didn’t know I had ADD until I was an undergrad in college, during my junior year. Some would say that’s a tragically late time to figure out my mental health, but I am thankful it didn’t last too much longer. In high school, I struggled with paying attention to lectures in Chemistry Honors, and when it came time to apply our learning in a lab project, I knew a bad grade was on the horizon. The teacher lectured to us, but we also had textbook readings and questions to complete for homework overnight, which was a fairly rudimentary and boring activity. I did not learn well in this environment, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone in that experience.
Which brings us to the question, is there a universal way of learning? In all my previous questions, from the first paragraph, I supposed that all people learn the same way, under the same rules and expectations, which is simply untrue. My teacher, also, assumed that her students would rise up to her expectations by completing labs, homework, and lecture packets; no differentiation or accountability existed for the teacher to reach all of her students. In this school environment, is there any surprise that it took so long for me to figure out I had a problem, when all my life students were taught using the same techniques by the same teachers? If I failed the class, it was a personal failing, not a failing on the part of the teacher to help me learn.
I know that schools are moving in a better direction now, and I hope that they do not destroy their students’ love of learning early. As students in a wide world of unfamiliarity and invisible forces governing our lives, we all deserve to be treated fairly, equitably, and honestly, so that one day we can then impart our learning to the next generation, and so on. If we destroy our love of learning, there is no hope for that to happen.