I recently discovered a fascinating individual by the name of Jordan B. Peterson. I have to admit to a little personal disappointment that I had not discovered him earlier as he has been out there roiling the pot for some years. Dr. Peterson has a PhD in Psychology which he obtained from McGill University in 1991. I have been watching and reading on him and his thinking for the past week or two.
Some things from him become incredibly clear and they pertain to learning. For instance: “Learning is Remembering.” In many ways I view teaching as a discipline in which we search for devices to assist people in remembering. We use various forms of communications – voice, gestures, body language and we use props such as books and black boards(whiteboards) for example. What we, as teachers are trying to do, is find THE device that triggers in each individual the ability to remember. And this is made incredibly more difficult by each of us being individuals with differing triggers. The teacher has to find the triggers. It is what I like to call watching for the lights to go on in people’s eyes. It’s that moment when you see they just GET IT. And I get incredibly excited when I see that look. It really turns my crank.
You get this phenomenon, in a classroom. You do not have it happen in a webinar. We are trying to inject it into our internet-based learning programs. With various devices. Primarily with questions that allow us to asses the progress in the learning and the effectiveness of our teaching. To some degree when people learn something there are “aha” moments. I know that I just couldn’t put it into words. Then you know there will be remembering from the learning.
Learning is hard work. You have to come to learning with an open mind. When dealing with adult education that is already a flawed starting point. Adults come to a class with preconceived ideas and thoughts. We cannot avoid it. In many ways, as adults we don’t feel the need to learn about something we already know or have been doing for years. We naturally question the expertise of any teachers. “Who are you that you can teach me something about a subject I have been doing for these past years?”
I invite you to reflect on these questions this week, and be sure to look up Jordan B. Peterson. Next week, we will continue our topic of personal responsibility in our learning.
The time is now.