I love when God asks questions, the conversations that ensue and the revelation that has always been there but you haven’t been able to see it until that moment. This morning God asked me why I enjoy learning as I was reading some neurology. I paused and thought. I love to give that to others, I love for things to make sense, I love to add some thoughts to others questions and I love to see knowledge transform. Then I saw the link, it was rarely for me. In my life the best learning has always been for others. I never forget the first time I met a child with autism, it was a colleagues child and she was struggling. I spent hours reading and making sense of what autism is and how we can help; not for me but for my friend. When I first met some child soldiers in Uganda and saw the devastation I began a quest to understand (my husband called it an addiction), again not for me but for these beautiful people I had fallen in love with. These two areas have defined my work more than I could have imagined. This learning has shaped so much of what I do now and I am so thankful for these amazing people who opened their lives to me.
Ever noticed how your best learning happened in classrooms where you loved the teacher and had good peer relationships? Where giving them your best motivated your performance and desire to be at school? Remember the days you couldn’t wait to tell someone something? That is all learning that happens socially and has much more influence in shaping who we are than we could imagine. Remember the classrooms where relationships were poor? I can guarantee that your performance would have been altered by this. So if this is true why don’t we put more focus on social models of learning rather than individual performance where we try and conjure up scenarios where we would use this learning in real life? Where we try and tell them doing their best is important simply for them? I think this creates short lived learning and disconnected children focused only on themselves and eventually a situation that potentially exposes us or doesn’t give self-gratification stops our learning on the way.
I believe every person positions us to learn, to see, to hear, to understand and in many cases it’s the difference that creates space for learning. I dream of education that is socially based, that teaches kids that the greatest joy is found in giving to another. That lending our strength and knowledge to others shapes us more than we could even imagine. I dream of a people who do the bravest thing and move toward one another.