In my current role as a ‘teacher’ – a tag I incessantly greet with skepticism, there are multiple misconceptions I encounter amidst the learning community I interact with. A cluttered perception of education, career, future – all seem quite natural – given the constrained learning environment they are exposed to.
Using some of my personal experience both as a student and teacher, I jot down here just few observations of mine. I am not projecting this to be advice or any such futile things. (Advices never work)
Knowing and knowing the name
I steal this line from Richard P Feynman, who in his brilliant career was more than what any science pursuing person has been. A rarity, of course. We might not be able to emulate the ingeniousness he exhibited all through his life, but, there are numerous traits from his life as people we must try to inculcate.
Superficial learning seems to be the un-proclaimed rule of learning in the whole structure – from the teachers through to the students.No inquisition to probe concepts to their roots; assuming gaps and continuing the ‘learning’ process without questioning is the game of knowing concepts today. I can for some gift in me see through the hypocrisy of the highfalutin crowd who claim to know something they wouldn’t know.
Not knowing is never a problem – we can learn; Not wanting to know is a regression, and pretending to know the unknown is criminal.
Learning and studying
Two terms we use interchangeably, almost with no distinction. Studying, to me is the process of wanting to grasp a concept for an incentive other than the incentive of knowing the idea, like for marks, or a less gratifying sensation. The brand ‘students’ too has been reduced to a herd trying to know ‘things’ , prescribed in a prescription (read syllabus) without any thought, and hence not questioning.
Learning, on the other hand I see it as a process of comprehending ideas and concepts for the incentive of catering to one’s inquisition, enhancing a skill or to apply the same to a different motivated purpose.
What you want, and what others want for you
Another aspect to one’s life that is lost by the time we realise, is to do what we want to do. By the time we are enrolled in undergraduate education or anywhere in that proximity, most of the important decisions in our life have been made by everyone else, than us. While this might not be a valid generalisation, the tendency of people to work in order to please someone else and not themselves is the biggest discontent causing glitch in the system. When people do what they don’t want to do, of course it shows!
Stay connected to yourself, a friend says and I think that is a profound statement. It takes lot of courage to cling on, pursue and accomplish what YOU want for yourself.
Oscar Wilde, in his witty best says “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”, and how true.
Wanting to do, and to see its done (most applicable to me)
Procrastination is an attribute that is common where people are expected to work – in academia it is more so, for the incentive not being profit the cadre is not driven to the edge. It is not about being driven to the edge – but the self urge to want to finish the work one claims to want to do. Passion towards one’s work or tasks would flow in, voluntarily only when the person does what he/she WANTS to do. Mere verbiage of goals to be accomplished although might give instant gratification, the permanent one is always worth the work (Derek Sivers has a brilliant talk about this).
Conclusively,one notion that always is running at the back of my mind while I revel at the works in Science especially is – when a mind can originally come up with ground breaking works like what we are expected to ‘study’, how difficult can it be for us to simply understand the same? Are our minds so worthless that they can’t even understand an existing idea? How can we talk of innovating anything new at all?
Happy Learning 🙂