Teacher, Inspire Thyself
|"Internalizing the notion that an education is something you take is the psychological equivalent of taking a fireman’s axe to the door of opportunity."|
Imagining an education as something you take gives rise to a dramatic shift in expectations. Internalizing the notion that an education is something you take is the psychological equivalent of taking a fireman’s axe to the door of opportunity.
It means you don’t attend college simply for a degree, but because of
a thirst for knowledge fueled by an internal declaration that you can
and will achieve a first-rate learning experience, with or without the
aid of an institution. What matter most are your own expectations.
Having such an outlook means you are not dependent upon curricula, but
rather on your own eagerness for learning. It means your textbooks are
simply an introduction to subject matter and not a vaccination to
inoculate you against the need for further inquiry.
The adult education movement in America has many advocates whose enthusiasm for learning is contagious. Many more, however, seem fascinated with the theory of lifelong learning but in point of fact don’t do much of it. I’ve enough experience to suspect that the same is true when it comes to homeschooling and unschooling. The bottom line is this: Uninspired people are incapable of inspiring others. Period.
People who profess to teach and who then demonstrate a lack of enthusiasm for their work project boredom and insincerity. A person who speaks and writes constantly about learning theory without actually engaging in meaningful learning is like a cloud without rain, a flower without bloom, a tree without leaves or fruit. Worse, in time, a posture based upon theory without practice gives rise to an authoritative prescription for how others should behave that’s very much like the conditions which inspired the need for the home schooling movement to begin with.
The way to help others to internalize the philosophy that an education is something to be taken is to leave a vapor trail of your own interests so visible and powerful that anyone who comes near is caught up in the wake. A Portuguese proverb makes this point loud and clear: “Live to learn and you will learn to live.”
|"Individuals who integrate their learning in an ongoing and sustained effort to better understand the world work out their own solutions. They live beyond the reach of gurus."|
Developing strong interests is the only major force available for the integration of one’s knowledge into something that can be characterized as quality of life. Strong interests about subjects of any kind help us master the dissonance we encounter in personal relationships and in global affairs. The world has far too many people whose knowledge remains as compartmentalized as the courses were that parked it there. They live their whole lives with disconnected contradictions that they store in memory but never work out. As a result they live on borrowed opinion and have to ask authorities the critical questions they ought to be asking and answering for themselves about how to live their lives.
Individuals who integrate their learning in an ongoing and sustained effort to better understand the world work out their own solutions. They live beyond the reach of gurus.
So, my advice to all those who would teach others is to make sure the pilot light is lit in your own mind before you set out to ignite it in others. It’s easy to say that an education is something we should take instead of get, but few people appreciate the profundity of living as if it’s true.
Now in his eighth decade of life, Alaska resident Charles D. Hayes has written five non-fiction books on the subject of self-education and a novel. Learn about them at Autodidactic Press www.autodidactic.com.You can read his blogs at http://self-university.blogspot.com and http://septemberuniversity.blogspot.com.