How many of us know someone who has the capacity to hear, but struggles to listen and absorb information? (You’re probably thinking about a significant friend or family member right about now.) Capacity does not match skill. Learning can be like that many of us have the capacity to learn, but the skill has never been completely developed in our schools. Ask yourselves this, when does our Kindergarten through to the HSC system stops and teaches kids skills needed to actually know how to learn? We just start teaching as if they will learn and naturally absorb the information given. By now we all can safely assume or at least acknowledge to the idea that learning will just happen this unfortunatelyisincorrect. We are losing some of our potential bright learners who do not understand or have been given the steps on how to learn.
Natural learners know how to refine learning methods themselves. They understand that they need to identify important information, assess where they currently sit in that subject and then find the pathway to close the distance between where they are and where they need to be. Struggling learners do not intuitively understand those three critical questions. Learning to learn is a lifelong skill; some experts go so far as to say it really is the only relevant 21st century skill. With Australian changing to a different economical environment and along with the world, with new technology advancements this is becoming more pivotal ability.
The assessments we use in our schools must do more than assess knowledge and skill. We must use the assessment process to teach learners the ability of knowing how to learn. We must make the process transparent and attainable for everyone. Learning is the act of sense-making and understanding concepts deeper than just remembering information. It should fully engage our cognitive, metacognitive, social, and emotional thoughts and emotions. It should constantly induce these natural learning concepts.
More importantly, we ourselves must continue and combined with our degrees in education we need continue to be learning about how to learn. At the end of the day, each of us must be able to talk about what we learned or what we are trying to learn. We must be able to learn more and more about how we ourselves learn so that we can dismantle it and help our students learn and return the favour.
The success of our future is dependent on our ability to help everyone evenly and specifically learn how to learn. As we head into the 2015 school year, let us learn, individually, collectively and about what it takes to learn. It is a complex and interesting work, but the challenge promises to be rewarding.