The Art of Learning

Most students don't realize this, but information is the least important element to the educational process. This is not the party line, and educators would laugh in my face for such a comment. However, I have two graduate degrees and can recite very little of what I actually learned, and people say I'm smart. I used to get slightly insecure when people would say this about me, namely due to the fear that someday they would find out that I'm not all that smart. But, this is what I've learned over the years - from the many years as a student, and the many years of working with students to improve their educational endeavors... education is not about information... it's about the formulation of disciplines that will carry one through a fruitful adulthood. There, I said it and I stand by it 100%! Education is about effort and appreciating the effort one puts into it. An appreciation of effort is the greatest commodity of the educational process. This reality flips the entire educational system upside down, because everyone can succeed when effort is applauded. Take two students, one may put some effort into studying for a test and receive an A, while another places a great deal of effort into studying a receives a B-. Who benefited more from preparing for the test? Obviously, the B- student did, and by quite a lot. You see, the B- student stuck with something that was difficult. The subject maybe is not their strong suit, but the student put forth great effort in an area of difficulty. This endeavor has had a greater impact than what can be understood by a letter grade at the top of a test. The B- student has acquired something far more treasured than knowledge, endurance. Many would point that the A student is smarter, but I hold that the B- student is better prepared for life, for they have forged in their character endurance and resilience and these are core qualities at the foundation of a fulfilling adulthood. So with that said, be quick to point out when a student has place considerable effort into an endeavor. Please help teach them the economics of effort and watch as they blossom.

1 comment:

Patsy Scruggs Costner said...

Jon, I agree with you 100%. My husband and I both are retired public school teachers. Our education system will NEVER equip our children with the needed skills for success until we get past the award system of rewarding only those who have the ability to score well on test. I did not graduate from any school with top scores, in fact my high school counselor advised me to NOT enter college. Needless to say, I did not invite her when I graduated with my Education Specialist Degree with a 4.0 GPA. I taught many students that have done well in life without high GPS's and I have had students who have had great potential and chose to throw it away. I have a dear friend that commented one day, "My wife and I cherish your friendship and we are surprised that you would give us the time of day." He responded to my "WHY?" with, "because you are educated and we are not." I looked at him and as careful as I could explain how academics is a great thing but not everything. This man after finishing school became an engineer in a well know industry in our area, made great contributions and a salary that tripled mine, yet he felt inferior. So so sad. I always taught my students that knowing how to find knowledge was as important as containing the knowledge. Thanks for a great article.