It takes time to really learn
There’s a problem with how we teach kids in public school. Content is often broken up into little pieces, scattered, and taught in isolation. Ideas aren’t connected. Kids don’t have the luxury to follow one idea to the next in a natural way.
For teachers, it’s the same. Schools have teacher institutes during the year to do in-staff training. What happens? They introduce some exciting new idea, which is then never talked about again. Even teachers who genuinely want to try new methods aren’t supported in any way over the following months. It’s a one-shot deal.
Adult life is like this, too. We’re bombarded with new ideas and inspirations and possibilities. Like excited children in a toy store, we see something that fascinates us, but before we really sit own to play with it, we see something new and the “old” thing (even if it’s just minutes old) is dropped by the wayside and forgotten.
To really accomplish anything takes time and concentration.
To turn an idea into reality, you have to stick with it for awhile.
To achieve anything at all, we have to dedicate ourselves to it. We have to dedicate time, space, attention, resources. Mostly attention.
The longer we can stick with a single idea, the more we can accomplish. We’ll learn more, understand more, create more, share more. We’ll turn it into something real, and it will become a foundation for future learning. We can make natural connections with other ideas, venture out into new territories. The new ideas will connect with the “old” ideas, making something even more complex and meaningful.
But first, we have to stop dropping one idea as quickly as we see the next, tantalizing, new one. (I’m looking at you, Pinterest.) We have to care about something long enough to devote ourselves to it. To think about it over and over again. To talk with someone else about it. To ask questions. To play with it. To imitate it. To make something new with it. To really put it to use. To incorporate it into who we are, what we know, what we understand, and what we make.
It takes time to really learn. More and more, we don’t give kids in the classroom that time. We don’t give teachers that time. We don’t give ourselves that time.
To really learn, we need a revolution. We need to cut decisively through the things that don’t matter until we come up with a chunk of time big enough that it can hold real learning. A chunk of time big enough that it’s worth concentrating and focusing.
Once we’ve carved out that time, then we can figure out what’s important enough to spend it on.
There’s no reason for children to focus, no reason to really work hard, if they know we’re just going to shoot on to something else tomorrow. They’ve been trained to sit and watch the world go by like a constantly moving, constantly changing parade, entertaining them but rarely asking them to do more than spectate. And we’re watching the same parade. If the parade never stops, how do we know it’s time to turn our focus inward and start creating something of our own?