October 24, 2007

The Art of Learning

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 3:43 am by Lindsay

As a recent college graduate, I am becoming more and more acutely aware of the benefits a collegiate institution had to offer.  While I don’t miss the agony of daily homework or the tedious process of writing a lengthy research paper, I do miss the learning environment.  I miss class-wide discussions and listening to someone with a different view and, well, learning.

 All of this thinking about the value of my own educational experience has left me wondering about the way education works in our society.  Why is it that the majority of our education is given to us in the first one-third of our life?  Why do we spend almost all our time learning as youths, but hardly any time learning as adults?  Certainly it makes sense to be vigorously educated when we are young so that we stretch our developing brains and cognitive skills, but why don’t we feel that learning is just as important later in life? 

I realize that adults have many more responsibilities such as work, spouse, family, but certainly there could be some time set aside to devote to learning.  I’m not suggesting that we raise the compulsory age or make it mandatory for adults to attend continuing education, but I’m questioning why it’s not more important to us as a society.  I suppose this is mostly an individual matter, but it seems like there should be more outlets for ongoing learning for adults than there are.  I’d love to once again re-create that classroom atmosphere where ideas are exchanged freely and people are open to new concepts.  Is it possible for communal learning to happen outside the traditional educational institution (ie: high school, college)?

 And if ongoing learning is destined to be solely individual, what ways can we purposefully try to integrate learning into our lives?  I’ve taken to reading lately.  Now that I’m outside the demands of a professor, I enjoy choosing books that I’ve always wanted to read.  I’m also trying to learn French.  I purchased one of those “learn while you drive” programs that I listen to during my commute to work, but I’m finding it a more difficult way to learn a new language when compared to an interactive class.  What other ideas can we come up with?  I hope, if anything, we can simply be more aware of our need to continue our educations throughout our lives.  Any thoughts on this? 



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