Monday, August 11, 2014

New-Old Learning

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

This line has been attributed to various sources and I have not tracked the origin with any authenticity. It’s not mine but it did come to me during some recent work sessions. As I was talking with educators about their summer and the various professional growth activities they engaged in, I heard many variations of what I’m calling “new old learning”.

This is the type of learning that appears to be new, as an idea or concept gets shared by a different voice. It fires up the enthusiasm and it’s only upon reflection that a nagging thought occurs that you may have heard the information before. It’s very likely that you did but you just weren’t at that readiness phase in your knowledge level or practice where it may have made sense. Now your experience and deepening knowledge has allowed the idea to click into place in the myriad of information stored in your head. Oftentimes the realization does not occur until the “new” learning is shared with colleagues and then the familiarity surfaces and it’s actually new old learning.

Now, think about this in terms of the learning of students in school. It may be that they are not ready for today’s lesson today. Perhaps they need to reorganize the building blocks in their heads to have the new piece of information click in. Perhaps they are missing some of the key building blocks and need to acquire them before the new piece can click in. Their readiness will be determined by many factors, some of which are outside our control. What is in our control is that we appear when they are ready.

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