I wrote this at a key point in my life, having reached 60, after an active lifetime in education, I came to a series of conclusions about learning. In summary:-
Learning is a skill, a habit; it is not a linear process, broken into neat bricks, hour-long packages to be delivered and put together one by one, inspected, found wanting but not necessarily supported to improve.
The school system works when it works and finds it hard to react when needed. Human systems are prone to human frailty, even illness and sometimes need TLC, not to be told to heal thyself.
Learning happens, if you actively are looking for it, accidentally when things happen, when you reach a point where you have reached the limits of a skill or a piece of knowledge and need to extend that to achieve.
Learning doesn’t just happen because a teacher talks.
Active learners listen more intently, allowing teachers to teach better and develop greater challenges.
Learning is messy, with errors and misconceptions to be identified and explored.
Learning for yourself is most powerful.
Imposed “learning” allows you to be engaged or not.
Learning from enthusiastic others provides the buzz from which further learning occurs.
Life offers problems for which school learning may not prepare you, requiring resilience, resourcefulness, strength of character, the ability to solve problems and sometimes pure survival skills. Experience outside school is as strong a teacher as teachers in school.
Unthinking teachers, politicians and parents can do damage to systems and structures and individual children.
The pursuit of simple sound-bites is in danger of devaluing the study of education as a whole, for example, phonics is not necessarily the remedy to reading skill or pleasure.
Fear and fear of failure has a significant, negative impact on learning.
Rote learning is one way among many. Being an imposed approach, it can become negative, especially if success does not follow.
The quiet child with a “nice” background may be carrying as much, if not more, trauma as the extravert from the “difficult” home.
Luck and fate can work for you or against you and you have to be able to react.
We all need a special someone at some time, mentor, teacher, relative, parent, partner and some kind of safe anchorage, in order to grow.
The 1950’s were not a golden age of education for everyone. I was lucky to be a learner.