In my post ‘Learning for Smart People‘ I concluded that it’s in everyones interest to be a self sufficient learner. I received some great comments, both on and offline. It has come to my attention that I perhaps did not make my position clear, because a friend said that she got the impression I was rendering teachers useless. Lets clear this up.
Teachers aren’t bad, they are tools, but like any tool, how they are used will render them useful or useless; and lets not forget that tools come in different grades of quality. The self sufficient learner understands that teachers do not give them results. They take control, steer the ship and are then more likely to sail towards victory.
Being a self sufficient learner does not mean one has no use for a teacher. That’s unintelligent. Think about it. The society we live in is built by people who take ideas, add their own and then create something new. We learn from each other. It’s what we do. It makes very little sense to discard a source for knowledge completely.
Although teachers can play a big part in the learning process. It’s completely delusional to believe your teacher is responsible for your learning. Once the information is presented, and the teacher has tried his/her best to help you connect the dots, it’s your job to digest. Not the teachers. Yours.
This is where self sufficiency comes into the equation. It’s important to understand how you learn. Also, under what conditions your brain operates most efficiently. Writing? Reading? Listening? To answer these questions we have to experiment. Like I sad in this article.
“the first step to becoming a self sufficient learner is becoming a mad scientist, so mad you’re willing to lay your brain on the table for tests and analysis.”
I personally process information better when I write, because I find writing forces me concentrate and exposes gaps in my knowledge as I’m forced to recall from memory. Understanding how your brain is wired will put you in a position ready to take over the steering wheel. I say ready, because understanding how your brain works is not enough. It’s the beginning.
Learning to search for answers is next. Yes, there’s more to search than Google. Currently we live in the information age, surrounded by huge repositories of knowledge.
How do we filter the good from the bad? How do we fit these resources into the bigger picture? How do we create the killer combination? A self sufficient learner usually has these answers, and therefore finds learning easy. Sure, you’ll need to put in different amounts of effort, and everything will need to be approached differently. Sometimes slightly, sometimes drastically.
I won’t propose my answers here today, but remember, learning gets easier over time. It’s a skill in itself. Although attending a classroom can be helpful, as a single method for learning, it’s empty. Especially as we won’t be in classrooms all our lives. Does learning stop in the classroom for you?
The great thing is that my mission is to share my learning experience. Hopefully, you can take something away in order to improve your approach to learning. I don’t have all the answers, but remember, we can all learn something from each other.