Saturday, June 28, 2014

Walking the Path of Learning

"Coach?" I asked as he was walking off the tennis court. "How is my daughter doing at this?"

After some nice words, coach told me that he is using my daughter's nine years of dance experience to explain how to properly hit a tennis ball. "You may have heard me," he said. She can use the grace she has gained from ballet to do that four stage swing I'm showing them. It will help her tremendously. I aim to show the students that all the sports activities they've done in the past relate." I was tremendously impressed with his wisdom and that got me thinking about how different life experiences relate and should be used to keep building wisdom, no matter what the subject.

1. When we understand that we can relate new experiences to old, we achieve a higher form of learning that has the potential to lead to remarkable things. This can mean advanced thinking (or just a better game of tennis.)

Earlier this week, I visited my school office after a week away. There was a message from a former teacher who asked if I would like some old yearbooks and other items for our new school archives. I returned her call and said that I would certainly love to take the historical items off her hands. What we can't use in our archives, I can help find an appropriate home in the community. "Please do tell your friends that we are seeking a wide-variety of items that have historical merit to tell our school story. All of these materials relate and can help build our historical collection."

2. When we understand that our experiences relate to those of others, we can build great things together, strengthen communities, and advance our knowledge of the world around us as a group.

My daughter is doing a big clean up of her room as a summer goal. She and I are both big collectors of books. As a tween, she is ready to clear out some of her things. I ordered her a new grown-up bookshelf. "Mom, some of these things I don't want, but there are some things that I don't read anymore that I do want." She's read them, has strong fond memories of them, and recognizes that they are special to her. They are her foundation books - ones that turned on her love for reading. I encouraged her to store them and to get rid of those that don't have meaning to her.

3. When we understand how we learn, the knowledge we have accumulated and how we gained it can take on a special meaning all its own.

It is important to acknowledge our own unique learning experiences and to appreciate the path we took to develop our expertise in any given area. As an information specialist, I encourage people to recognize the gathering and building of the information in our brains. I encourage people to recognize the role that others have played in their understanding of themselves. The experience of learning is as important as the knowledge we gain. The experience allows us to piece everything together so when we travel new learning paths, we can look back and better decide how to move on.

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