Very often, people think that learning is a linear process. Learn a bunch of facts and you get an A. Simplifying the processes of learning seems to check off your list quicker but this reduction learning has been costly.
The world is very complex and this linear model of learning seemed to be insufficient in representing the complexity of the reality. Hence, the learning that we are training students for is failing to prepare students for the real world.
Learning is messy.
We need to start thinking about learning differently. Training students to practice expecting problems, extending and refining existing ‘facts’ and knowledge. Simply training students skills in an isolated manner would be difficult to develop them to be well-rounded individuals.
Vygotsky, a famous cognitive psychologist:
“An interpersonal process is transformed into an intrapersonal one. Every function in the child’s cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level, and later, on the individual level; first, between people…, and then inside the child…. All the higher [mental] functions originate as actual relations between human individuals” (1978, p.57).”
That’s why I started writing.
Writing do both things to us. Be it a blog or a journal of some sort.
First, you need to make being observant a habit.
Since starting the blog, I realised that I pay more attention to things and stories that are happening around me since I had to constantly look for materials to write about.
Second, you need to reflect on what you have observed.
Then come up with your own interpretation and thoughts on the thing you observed.
By being more aware of what’s happening externally, it stimulated me to think internally.
By looking out, I am also looking in.
Understanding oneself is the most important thing we can do for ourselves in order to really live a life that satisfies us. After all, we have only got one chance for this one.
Focus not on better writings but on developing into a better writer; not on helping students in getting better grades but in becoming better learners.
Focus on making PEOPLE better.
And not on what they do or produce.
When do you feel most satisfied? I mean feeling confident after doing something?
We can fulfil our desires when having the green tea ice cream with your friends in a long while or buying a new designer handbag or getting a promotion. These things make us happy.
But only for a short while.
What I realised is that I feel the happiest not when I have gained anything; but when I have given my best.
What about you?
Life isn’t just about hitting the right keys.
If you ask young people if they play any instruments (especially in Hong Kong), many of them would say–yes, but not anymore. In fact, you might find many eight graders or diplomers (Is that even a word?). But why don’t they play anymore? Too busy?
Our society finds short-cuts to success and quick-fixes to problems. To many parents, playing an instrument was just another card to get their kids into their desired schools.
The great American conductor Ben Zander coined the term one-buttock player. He explains that the term is used to describe the transformation of a kid from simply hitting the keys at the right time; to loving music.
What if playing a piece is actually telling a story; a way to connect with and move the deepest emotions of your audience. What if everything we do isn’t just about hitting the right keys. What if we start treating life like an adventure rather than a game to win.
What would happen to the world if we all start becoming one-buttock players.
Link to Ben Zander’s inspirational TED talk:
This blog is to document my changes as a new teacher. I just got accepted to a teaching position at a school of my first choice.
But before I start in September, I have packed my last summer holiday with endless trips. Stay tuned for updates!