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New on Zen Habits: What I've Learned About Learning. Please disagree with this!
Post written by Leo Babauta. I am a teacher and an avid learner, and I'm passionate about both. I'm a teacher because I help Eva homeschool our kids — OK, she does most of the work, but I do h...
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I wish I could disagree but my own experience of school has convinced me that it misses the point. There are so many topics being taught, that could have real value but they don't because the students aren't inspired. School attendance is really just an exercise in conforming to expectations.
 
Leo. It's difficult to disagree. I do disagree to more than half of your posts but really felt at home with this one.

It's like the natural process of evolution. It's based on learning and leaning again. 
 
Leo, there's some truth buried in there, however, looking back on my education, from public school, to private school, to homeschool, to the Air Force Academy, to 100's of hours of military training, to TheFilmSchool (and eventually to Zenhabits), I find one common thread: the subjects I love were originally subjects I loathed.

My teachers running me through the rigors of writing pushed me to a point where I could start truly enjoying the subject. Similar to runners who keep pushing, and hurting and puking until they achieve the nirvana of endorphins for the first time.

I'm forever grateful to those traditionalists who pushed me against my will into subjects I thought I hated. My three cents.
 
Life experience and age is on my side with this one. I recall that primary and secondary school wasn't the place to be, and inspiration was buried under rote drills that not only suffocated but broke young spirits. Learning has to be presented in a way that conveys passion and inspires other's to create. Learning is a life long process, and being able to learn in a creative way is much more sublime than falling asleep as I often did while in class.
 
I think if conventional education is done well then it can be the equal of good home schooling, but it rarely is. I also learn by doing/reading things myself, not by being talked at, although I did fairly well academically. PS - nice to know you like to play chess Leo! I've been playing since I was a kid and now write for Chess.com. You're welcome to join :-)
 
I simply cannot disagree with anything you wrote in this post. I believe that helping kids (and adults) to do what they love is the easiest way to put them on a path towards lifelong learning.
 
Leo, thanks for this - it's comforting to know that there are people out there who question education and learning so keenly and avidly.
I don't usually do this, but on this occasion I feel a link is in order. It's Seth Godin's manifesto on education: "Stop Stealing Dreams." I feel it's very much in step with what's going on in your post:
http://www.squidoo.com/stop-stealing-dreams
Enjoy!
 
There's nothing wrong with playing games. It's my favorite way to learn. TV can also be a good learning tool.
 
I am engineer. I strongly feel my college has helped me only with the labs. The college I attended is in India, and is a very famous one. The most important seats were the ones in the last bench. Often, I didn't understand their accent, and my friends and I used to count the grammatical mistakes the professors used to make (e.g. You was not present in the class; The principal just passed away). The real study I did was with my friends and out of my own interest. I am very confident in my field, but I don't think my college has helped to build that confidence.
 
It's hard to disagree with someone's personal experience, but in my own life I've found school to be pretty valuable. Or maybe to be more specific, I've found teachers to be very valuable. I learned to read and write in school, and I don't recall having much innate fascination or curiosity in this area. I think that when we're young, we're more biologically-predisposed to learning, to soaking up information. This is a prime-time to learn in school, and just practice and repetition.

As I grew older, standard-model school became less effective. By high school, I needed to be fascinated or at least have a passing interest to learn anything for longer than a month, sort of like how you describe learning as an adult. If I had a teacher that sparked curiosity, that's when I learned. I also learned things outside of school, but looking back there are many areas where having someone guide me and push me would have been very helpful when my own interest wasn't enough to overcome the barriers to learning (for example, programming).

In college, I was lucky to attend a liberal arts school where most classes were group discussions, and I could pick classes I was interested in. I learned a lot through meeting people and just talking, something that's harder to find in my life now. I received comments and feedback from teachers that improved my writing and thinking.
 
Wow, this came at a great time, I just started as an ESL teacher in Korea and looking for ways to make teaching an artform that benefits students. I really like the philosophies described here and it makes perfect sense. This is one of the best articles Leo, thank you for sharing!
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