About Learning

What is the most important thing in life?
TROY: What are you talking about?
ARCHIE GATES: What is it? The most important thing.
VIG: Money.
ARCHIE GATES: Money comes, money goes.
TROY: Respect.
ARCHIE GATES: Too dependent on other people.
CHIEF: God’s will.
TROY: What is it?
ARCHIE GATES: Necessity.
TROY: As in what?
ARCHIE GATES: People do what is most necessary to them at any given moment.
<<THREE KINGS>> (http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/threekings_shootingdraft.pdf)

Usually referred to “learning motivation”, necessity is the key to learning, and I think necessity is a more appropriate word to be used at the time when most knowledge and information are easily accessible online.

I still remember how I got my first computer. When I was in primary school, my mother promised me she would buy me a NES FamiCom if I had a good final report that term. Miraculously I fulfilled that requirement but the promise was not honoured until I went to secondary school. Instead of a NES game console, I received a 486 DX2/66 computer with a state-of-the-art CD-rom drive. I knew it was much more expensive than a game console, but I wasn’t that happy about this gift. The computer eventually broke and I had to fix it. I ended up re-installing Windows 3.1 more than 10 times due to various reasons. I went to the library to learn DOS commands. I learnt how to utilise what I had by compressing the file system and defragging the harddrive as my mum was not paying for any maintenance.

This is necessity. It has a certain fun factor and there’s always a strong reason for one to keep pursuing. Learning is similar- one may learn because they have to survive (like the Green Arrow?), or because they want to have fun (Pro game players), or they simply enjoy the process (which essentially is just having another kind of fun).

We keep students in the school, and tell them they NEED to learn this or that, but how are they supposed to understand this without seeing the future? However, if we can help sustain their urge to learn, the necessity of acquiring new skills/knowledge, they will learn for the rest of their life.

With most hard knowledge readily available on the Internet and can be searched through search engines, necessity is really something educators should investigate and learn from students. First of all, we have to be a life-long learner ourselves, for if even we couldn’t find a reason to learn, how can we expect our students to learn?

@michellzappa said “Listen, Change and Passion” are the three things for teachers to embrace the change of education. I can’t agree more. Are we ready for this?


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