A trained monkey OR an active learner?

I send my daughter to school mostly for what she can learn in the playground.  I stopped believing long ago that school could teach her the really important skills in life so I look after that at home.  Most of what happens in school is “training” – ramming kids heads full of irrelevant content they are expected to be interested in and retain.  It doesn’t get much better at tertiary level either. Remember how you crammed (trained yourself) for exams only to forget everything once the exam was over?

Real learning takes place in the playground as my daughter is exposed to a variety of personalities and behaviour that she needs to manage and moderate, including her own.  She has learnt leadership, problem solving, negotiation, influence, communication and creativity in the playground.  Skills that will take her through life.

You can imagine how excited I was when I came across this article which looks at real learning and how it can be gained more from interactions with others than from formal lessons.  Read it now and see what you think…

This has implications for workplace learning.  I think the nature of learning is changing in workplaces to involve a more collaborative, participative approach and use of social media is leading the charge.  So, let’s stop using the word “training” and move to a culture where learning is championed and occurs right when you need it in a meaningful way.

Do you consider yourself a learner?

Are you training your children or are you letting them learn?

How does your organisation approach learning and how can you influence that?


Where has all the fun gone?

I happened to be at my local bookshop yesterday at the same time as storytime for the 3-5 year olds.

Around 9.50am the children started to arrive and there was lots of noise, excitement and anticipation as parents whispered “only 10 minutes to go’.

Puppets and books were brought out and the children literally ran to the storytime spot in the childrens’ section. It was delightful to see and hear.

It got me thinking…when do we lose that ability to be spontaneously thrilled? Why as adults, do we feel we must be more reserved than our young children? Why do we behave so seriously? What are we afraid of?Where has all the fun gone?

Next time you are out, pick up that fabulous pair of shoes (or whatever does if for you), pat them, cuddle them and squeal out loud with delight at their beauty.

One of my favourite authors, Ben Zander, says “sit in the front row of your life and participate”. I say, get up on the stage and be fabulous!

Because…you are!