In lieu of getting taught

What's so bad about getting taught? We don't learn from getting taught like we learn from most every other immediate experience. So much gets dislocated when we're getting taught. It's amazing we can stay awake and pretend to pay attention.

Getting taught is not the same as getting answers to our questions. Getting taught is different from getting search results, resources we're looking for or books that may help us with our inquiry. Getting taught is getting told what to think, being given one right answer or getting fed some simplification to swallow hook, line and sinker.

When we're getting taught, it does not matter if we have a question. The instructing barrels ahead whether or not the timing is good, it works for us or it fits our situation. It's not about us, relating to us, being useful to us or helping us out in some way. We're not really there when we're getting taught. It's one of those "I - it" deals where we're the "it".

When the person, whose giving us the experience of getting taught, can describe us even slightly -- everything changes. They get us in some way. They picture us with some accuracy. They may give us the feeling of being understood, respected or validated in some regard. They create a context where we can count ourselves in and partake in the exchanges. We're suddenly really there like a somebody that makes a difference. Our status as an "insignificant nobody" has been "canceled until further notice". Being there is no longer about "getting taught".

Our own learning processes kick in when we've been described in some way. We're doing those inner things like: finding it out for ourselves, figuring out the way it works for us and coming to our own realizations about it. It's all about relating to it, tying it in and connecting between this and that -- rather than what we're getting taught. The content becomes incidental to what's going on with us. We describe ourselves differently as students. We change what we think learning is about and how it happens. We look engaged and act motivated like we're really curious or something. We make it easy for the instructor to describe us as we act like the learning is about us in the first place.


  1. Kia ora Tom

    A splendid example of what you've just described can be found here - listen to Benjamin Zander.

    Catchya later
    from Middle-earth

  2. Thanks for the link Ken. I'm a big fan of Ben Zander and his principles for creating great educational experiences.

    Giving you an A