Monday, August 7, 2017

Spirit of Learning (Recent thoughts on Education)

(I wrote this for my students but it certainly applies to all of life.)

Go! Do! Be More! Faster! Harder! Aaaaaaah!

It seems the world is pushing us to hurry up and . . . what?  . . . be successful?
What does that even mean?

I have been reading a very interesting book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F---K, by Mark Manson. Despite its punchy title, it is a powerful little book that puts into perspective what it is we are here to do in this lifetime and what really matters. I highly recommend it.

The reason I bring it up is that I have found recently that many students have forgotten what it really means to get an education. News Flash: Education is not merely preparing to have a job.  If you are well educated it is more likely you will get a job, but education does not have the explicit goal of getting you a job. Training will get you a job. Education will give you quality of life. 

The Spirit of Learning is the spirit of real education. And, that is what I am most interested in as a teacher, as a human!.  What is the bigger picture here? So, when you submit an assignment (as crazy making as it can seem) it is not about the length, it is not about the number of sentences, words, characters. Everything you turn in for credit is an opportunity to show me that you are putting in the time to investigate the content of the course and most importantly how it changes you, your views, your appreciation. your world! This is the stuff that will enrich your life and make it meaningful.
Counting points to get that A (or B or C) will only torment you. That is not the spirit of learning.
I promise that if you do your best to communicate the spirit of your learning in each and every assignment the grade will follow. Because you will actually be learning.

Things that require you to work hard are thing worth having. Freebies are transient and disposable.  They may make you happy in the short term, but they will not make you happy in the long term.

Give yourself a chance to enjoy your education.
3 Tips for the Spirit of Learning
Ask yourself:
1. "What is the goal of this assignment?" "Why would my teacher assign it to me?" Answer those question within your submission.

2. "How am I representing myself in my work?" "Do I express that I learned something from the assigned reading?" "Do I honor the process with full sentences and grammar?" Ensure your submission reflects your mature thinking and values.

3. "Is there a way I could actually make this FUN?" That doesn't mean you have to spend MORE time on the assignment, it is about your ability to enjoy the challenge and/or process while you are working. (In fact it might actually take you less time working this way. . . just sayin')