Self Management – Lesson 4

Learning how to learn

The most important “outcome or competency” of any school, college, technikon, or university course is the ability of “how to learn”. It is a sad reflection on our educational systems that so few students acquire this competency.

Learning “How to learn”

Learning should be a whole person experience in which all dimensions of self (physical, metal, emotional, spiritual and social) participate. It should stimulate curiosity, be enjoyable, and at the same time build a person’s self-esteem. It should be a process in which both the student and the teacher learn from each other and grow together. It should also be a lifelong process.

In reality the learning process as described above finishes by the age of six or seven years for most people. During that period the child’s primary teacher is the mother. Learning of both the child and mother takes place easily, joyfully and spontaneously and involves the whole person.

When children enter school they begin their ‘formal education’. The process of learning switched from a fun, holistic, learning experience to a rigid, linear, language-orientated process I which the authority figure (teacher) imparts set knowledge which the child is expected to absorb. Gone is the spontaneous interaction and emotional involvement. Freedom of movement is replaced by desk-bound sitting for hours on end. It is no wonder that for most adults, learning is perceived as a tense, uninspiring, fearful, activity and to be avoided at all costs.

In South Africa today, with its intent of transforming the education system towards a lifelong learning orientation, and the introduction of an outcomes-based curriculum, it is essential that all stakeholders e.g. parents, students and teachers gain a clearer understanding of the learning process.