I have a problem with the traditional education system. I find it too passive.
From my personal experience after studying French for 4 years at university I realised I could have done it a lot quicker, cheaper, had way more fun and learnt better if I had just gone and lived and worked in France for a year.
I think the same can be said for other skills.
I believe the classroom environment – the imparting of knowledge from one to another – can teach us a lot but our current system focuses too much on learning and not enough on practicing.
“Are we asking our kids to collect dots or connect dots? Because we’re really good at measuring how many dots they collect, how many facts they have memorised, how many boxes they have filled in, but we teach nothing about how to connect those dots. You cannot teach connecting dots in a Dummies manual. You cannot teach connecting dots in a textbook. You can only do it by putting kids into a situation where they can fail. Grades are an illusion. Passion and insight are reality.” – Seth Godin
Practice is learning, but learning is not practice; because learning is passive and practice is active.
You may have made a few resolutions already this year or have a few goals in mind. Reading about it, taking some classes, research are a great way to start but don’t let that stop you from taking action. When you take the knowledge learnt and put it into practice you create skill.
If you want to cook more this year you can read about new techniques and choose some new recipes but the only way to get better at cooking is to get stuck in.
Or maybe you have a bigger project such as running a marathon or writing a novel. Researching the correct training programme or how to start plotting a novel are both great but only by putting that knowledge into action will you truly learn what it means to do either of those things.
I think it’s great to learn from the past mistakes and breakthroughs through the teachings of others and textbooks and classrooms are a brilliant way of disseminating that knowledge. We all know this from our own experience of giving someone advice for them only to go ahead and make the mistake anyway.
Sometimes we just need to learn from our own mistakes.
Practice creates progress. And progress is a result of failing, then learning from it, which in turn creates growth.