Learning is discovering

“By learning I mean discovering knowledge, questioning and appreciating how it can be applied.” Gerard Darby, BBC Four Thought

Learning is discovering. When I home-educated my children (for 4 years) we became Explorers! Not just by exploring our environment, but by creating opportunities for them to discover things for themselves. Tasked with exploring artists they set about creating an innovative art exhibition that ran all over the house, during which they discovered new artists they’d never heard of, had a go at replicating their methods, selected their best pieces, and thought up ways of displaying their work. All through trial, error, thinking aloud and sheer enthusiasm! Learning is discovering.

Today, traditional classroom and teacher-based learning environments, don’t always afford children the space or time to just have a go, to make mistakes, to try again, to think up ideas and try them out. To realise that learning is discovering. While there are many reception classrooms around the country where this does take place enabling the children to learn quickly, once they move on and traditional learning environments are enforced, children are once again as buckets waiting to be filled. But this is a big mistake!

But, Dr. Mariappan Jawaharlal, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, California, wants us to understand that ‘Teaching is not learning’:

“Think about essential life skills, such as walking. A child starts with sitting, turning over, crawling, managing to stand with some support, taking the first step, breaking into running, fumbling, balancing and finally, mastering the art of walking. (It) takes a lot of practice, patience and time. Children don’t get frustrated by thousands of failed attempts and decide that they’re not going to walk anymore. In fact, each failure seems to motivate them to do better next time. Every child is capable of acquiring this skill on their own by trial and error over a period of time. This is how actual learning takes place – learning by doing…Learning takes place when the learner is personally engaged and allowed to discover.”  Huffington Post http://huff.to/1hLzLFF

I believe it is possible to achieve this, to create a learning environment where learning is discovering and thereby establishing a way all children can achieve their potential…the question is are we, as educators, willing to take the risk and do some learning by discovering ourselves?