What is teaching?
Ok let us start with the most obvious and probably most overlooked aspect of the subject. What is teaching?
Is it pumping people with information? This is certainly what is happening in the schools at the moment where it is all about stuffing the kids with the syllabus and getting them through the exams, in other words tick the boxes and get the grades.
The route that the schools have gone down is to look at learning as a measurable set of data that is then target driven. Teachers are told to ‘Get through the syllabus’ and one teacher friend of mine was told ‘don’t worry if they understand it or not’.
To me this seems crazy surely the best way of teaching is to get the pupil to learn to think, or even better remember how to learn.
I always go back to the study of young children and am continually amazed at the speed that they learn with no formal guidance and only positive reinforcement in the key skills such as learning to walk and learning to speak and be socially interactive.
These skills are amazingly complex but because we learn them so young we take them for granted as if they are nothing special. You try learning a new language later in life or relearn to walk after having an accident they are bloody hard to do.
So it brings me to the point that has been stated by many in the speed learning fields that school is more to do with conformity than it is to do with teaching.
I used to find it funny that when the Chinese had political problems at any point throughout their history they always locked up the poets and the writers first; Stalin in
just killed them. You can see the logic that these people where thinking outside of the political framework that was ordained from on high, so therefore the repression of these people stopped the flow of thought which was uncontrolled. Russia
It may seem far fetched but we have in
done the very same thing for centurys hence the way that voting was only available to the few for most of the time that we have had a political system. England
Ironically it was the reason that education was limited to only the few until it became clear that you could use it to make people more productive so we adopted it.
I am not suggesting anarchy but what I am saying is that really learning is about opening the mind to ideas and thoughts many of these are not politically correct or socially or religiously inclined and remember that because real learning in life (in the university of life) happens when we go through massive pain then we try consciously try to make sense of these events. However out of choice we would try to avoid these ‘learning opportunities’ at all costs.
When we do avoid these situations we end up with something that causes society to retract, just look at the nanny state that we now have and what is happening to society!
So in my opinion learning is about rediscovering our natural ability to soak up information and to reconnect with our own wisdom. It is about self discovery because to learn also means to change, and we don’t like that very much.
In the film Star Wars Luke Skywalker is being taught by Yoda who says that he has to go into the cave and face whatever is in there, this is of course himself. Luke says that is not afraid and Yoda says to him ‘you will be, you will be’
So look into your own cave and do what we do not like to do deal with your shadow and in this way you will be able to know how difficult it is for people to learn however with assistance people can find the gems that they have hidden away in the deep parts of their minds, THAT is teaching.