Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Plutarch’s Advice: Learning how to learn …

The Greek philosopher and teacher Plutarch (Ploútarkhos in Greek, 46 to 119 AD) said: “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.”

Precisely!  That’s what learning is all about. To make students think and figure out, not to cram their minds with figures and facts which are easily forgotten as quickly as they have been learned.

Our existing school systems do teach primarily facts and figures to remember, to obtain a good job, to impress the rest of the world with one’s knowledge.  There is certainly no harm in being able to come across as “knowledgeable.”  Actually, for many jobs, academic, industrial, and otherwise, it’s all the facts and figures one gets tested for and which, hopefully, can be applied in whatever work needs to be done.

Yet the real accomplishment comes from “how” the knowledge, whatever knowledge, was used to arrive at a solution.

Therefore, it is far more important to learn “how to learn,” and keep learning than accumulating figures and facts.  For, after all, the facts and figures you can look up in an instant on Google or from other sources.  Actually they’ll be more precise and up to date too that way.  Yet the resolution process needs to be functioning smoothly to arrive at the correct result.

It’s the ONLINE world which makes this process possible, at least much easier than where one has to deal with heavy tome books in remote libraries or no books at all. 

Conclusion:  The time for old-fashioned schoolroom teaching and learning is over (for many reasons, including #1 cost, #2 Cost, #3 COST, #4 availability and access, #5 personal convenience).  ONLINE is the modern-day medium for providing education, which it can do in many new ways, often better, than the brick-and-mortar schoolhouse ever could.

Yes, of course, teaching online, in all its forms, needs to be quite different from what used to be good “classroom teaching.”  Actually it means better preparation, using more media, more live interaction, 24 hours a day reaching the remotest locations on earth, and more.

And the basis, I hope, is not to disseminate facts and figures, but “teaching HOW to learn,” not just at the beginning of one’s life, but lifelong, for the facts and figures are changing all the time, and we need to work with them to achieve our goals.

Thus “learning how to learn” has become a major part of our Foundation’s “objective to show how anyone anywhere can obtain quality education at little or no cost.”  Please stay tuned in.  More than facts and figures to come.  

This blog post was written by Win Straube.

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