The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

The teaching lie

Back in the school days, learning most often was focused on taking information in and being able to recall it within a limited time frame. That was what the teaching addressed.

Finishing school didn’t mean that one had learned the skills for the next step, that is becoming part of society for example by contributing to the workforce, to family life, to the community, etc.

Until then, learning most often meant simply taking in and following the instructions.

What’s rarely shared is how different things become when there is an objective that one seeks to reach. That is when theory, methods, and skills start to cooperate.

That game of learning depends on a very different premise.

It starts by wanting to engage in that matter, that is wanting to be able to participate in that field of activity. May it be to become a coder, a golf player, a family father, or a neuroscientist for example. All of these are activities that come with a context, a culture, a specific frame of reference, principles, rules, etc.

But most often the skills are taught as if these would not exist or as if the encompassing philosophy is the rule. And it’s fine as it’s impossible to learn everything at once. And yet, it then often becomes the teaching of a method, one that is always applied and repeated. The simplest variant of this is the long list of websites with “ten steps to the perfect marketing plan” or similar lists of instructions.

As people leave the training, they do it having learned a method, or a philosophy, and having had some occasion to practice.

They also leave with the impression that now they can achieve results, that is that applying the methods they learned will give them the results the method is there for. They may also know that there still is a lot to learn.

But they don’t know what it is.

They don’t realize that much of the upcoming learning is meant to incrementally enhance the practice, setting themselves objectives in that process and learning to assess how the skills are changing. And not only that, the learning also is there to take the time and see how the learning process transforms their understanding of the work they do.

And beware, there is a whole range of teaching ideas. They go from religiously teaching the method to start the learning with to religiously avoiding teaching that method and hoping that the learning will emerge. It goes from everything is structured to nothing is structured.

Learning becomes very much about filling the gap oneself.

And maybe it can’t be taught and only be accompanied.








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