Learning with Mind and Heart
If you’ve ever wondered why people forget so much of what they”learn” in school, this site will give you some new insights and ideas. There’s been a lot of research about learning in the past 20 years. Here are some of the ideas that generally haven’t made it into public awareness.
- We don’t teach the way people learn.
- People don’t remember or use what they don’t care about.
- Most teaching doesn’t address the issue of why somebody should care about what they’re learning except that “you need to know this in order to learn that,” or “You need to know this for the test.”
- Most of what we know about learning doesn’t find its way into the way many professors teach in colleges and universities.
- The most important life learning doesn’t happen on schedule or in classrooms. First you have the test, then you learn. That’s how it usually works.
- Most of what student affairs professionals help students learn isn’t called teaching. Now there’s a dilemma. What kind of learning are you more likely to remember – how to do quadratic equations or how to keep an important relationship alive?
- What’s the difference between the ways in which student affairs professionals teach students life skills and the ways academic faculty members teach conceptual information?
This site is all about learning. Its purpose is to discuss some of the complexities of learning, new methods for teaching that are based on new ideas about learning and to explain the connections between teaching, training and learning. If you really want to help people learn ideas and skills that matter to them, you have to understand their values and their personal narrative (who they hope to be/become in the world) and what they hope to accomplish. This approach to teaching and training is based on “Self-authorship,” and is intended to be transformative ( Kegan in Mezirow, Learning as Transformation, 2000). It is designed to help people learn how to understand their own perspective on the world and how to appreciate the perspectives of others.
Teaching and learning for self-authorship and transformation is challenging. It shakes the foundations of what we formerly believed to be true. It requires us to open both our minds and our hearts, to learn empathy for other people and to live with ambiguity. We have to learn new information, pay attention to our emotional reactions and those of others. We often have to learn how to manage our discomfort and try to understand what the new learning means for us personally. In this era of racial violence and terrorism, we are all faced with the need to learn about people we might not have known in previous times. We need to understand people who see the world very differently from the way we understand it. We need to listen through confusion and discomfort. We need the skills of civil conversation. This is very difficult learning.However, this learning is essential if we want to improve the human condition. As James Baldwin said, “You can’t fix what you won’t face.”
So if you’re prepared to do all these things, and in the process enhance your ability to help students learn about what matters to them, you are invited to begin your journey on this site.
You may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a message on my Linked In page which is listed under my name, Jane Fried.
You may also call at 860-933-3298. Please call between 9-5 East Coast time only. If I do not answer, leave a message with a call back number.