While observing the impact the Coronavirus is having on education, I began to think about learning. I started thinking about what learning meant to me and how I had learned growing up.
Right now, children are having to learn at home. They have on-line classes and on-line meetings. At the same time, they are at home closer to their parent’s supervision than their teachers.
The parents are learning what it is like for the teachers who teach their children. They are learning more about the subjects. They are also learning how difficult it can be to actually teach, to get someone to pay attention and buy into what you’re trying to convey.
This is all even more interesting to me, in light of all the times I hear people bemoan education. They seem to think you only need a small amount of education. They seem to think educators have a political agenda. I see things differently.
I think when we go to school we learn two things. We learn what is necessary to know to be a functioning member of society. These are things like reading, writing and arithmetic. This also includes those known facts that all intelligent people agree on, like the earth is not flat.
The second thing we learn is how to learn. That is when we learn how to do research, how to write a paragraph and how to learn things we were not taught in school. Most people overlook this part of learning. They think we are only to do the first type of learning which can lead to memorization and regurgitation.
If you don’t learn how to learn you will be stuck saying, “no one ever taught me such and such, we didn’t study that in school.”
When I was young black history was not taught in schools. By the time I reached college it was only brushed over. I had to learn black history on my own. I had to go read books, go to lectures and attend seminars so that I could learn about black people. I couldn’t just say they didn’t teach me. What a cop out.
Recently I was helping a young man I mentor, Cameron, with his schoolwork. There were questions regarding triangles that I didn’t have a clue about. I started doing research. I used Google, YouTube, books and other sources to learn how to help Cameron with his homework.
Before I knew it, about six hours later, I had learned trigonometry. Not only did I learn it but I was able to share it with Cameron. Then I taught it to my niece Sherell who never would have believed she could do such advanced math.
We must learn those things that help us be good citizens and make it through life. But it is so very important that we also learn how to learn. And if we are really good we will learn things well enough to teach and share with others.
I think you can never learn too much. I think regardless of the career path one chooses, they will be more successful with more education. As a matter of fact, from what I’ve seen over the years, the students that take the hardest classes and make the best grades, later make the most money.
It’s a tough time right now for parents and students. But from what I’ve seen, teachers are still available and working hard, the internet is able to handle the excess traffic and most students have access.
I hope they are not just learning but also learning how to learn. It’s the best thing I learned in school.
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