Monday, February 29, 2016

Learning How to Learn

By Eddie Liptrot
Originally posted @in perspective 
“Most of what our students need to know hasn’t been discovered or invented yet. “Learning how to learn” used to be an optional extra in education; today, it’s a survival skill.” Dylan William
Recently colleagues from ISG attended a conference at one of the world’s leading international schools, ASB in Mumbai. Here’s a perspective on its potential impact on learning at DBGS.
Mumbai’s road transport system, a hustling, turbulent montage of sound and motion, provides a reasonable metaphor for learning in the 21st century – requiring students to employ brave and dynamic navigation in a complex world.
If we apply the metaphor, where each of us – teacher and students alike – is a traveller and learning objective is our destination:  
  • the route is difficult to control, while the ride can be erratic. While there are distractions, we’re focused on the minutiae of the learning journey – sometimes alone, often in collaboration with other learners
  • there is no right or wrong route; flexibility provides options to arrive at the desired destination, the objective of the journey
  • the journey may take longer than originally planned, we might anticipate this and consider it an aspect of flexibility – we can’t abandon the trip and fail to arrive, we must follow a project through to the finish
  • as knowledge is the product of experience, learning routes and technique for steering around obstacles will grow. Just as our motorized rickshaw pilots have served their 10,000 hours (Gladwell, Outliers) and will progress through impassable routes against impossible odds, our experienced learners will meet their learning objectives using acquired skills and available technology
  • to learn to traverse the streets of Mumbai, you have to do it. Now, as ever, there is no substitute for experience. To learn how to do anything, you have to do it.  Therefore, quality first hand learning experiences remain fundamental to the learning process.
Like any good learning experience, the rickshaw ride is challenging, risky and exhilarating. And when it’s over, we want to do it again. Indeed, destination can be an anticlimax; the real joy is in the travelling. W.S. knew this: “Things won are done; joy’s soul lies in the doing”.


  1. What a great metaphor to use to describe our learning journey, it perfectly sums up our Mumbai experience.

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