Salon One Eventbrite formal description
On Learning: Autodidactism and Formal Education (With Bhumi) - Interintellect Salon
- intro (max 140):
Fellow Interintellect Bhumi explores self-directed learning, formal education, role of joy and curiosity in learning, and role of education in self-confidence.
- main text
In this Interintellect Salon, we will explore the relationship between autodidacticism (self-education) and formal education. Are both necessary part of our growth and development as human beings? We instinctively know how to learn. This is certainty true of procedural or experiential learning — knowledge we cannot explain but know how to use (e.g. riding a bike or learning language as a toddler). On the other than hand, can declarative or intellectualize learning happen without any foundation of formal education? (e.g. balancing chemical equations, doing mathematical proofs, etc.). Can we adapt concepts from formal education for lifelong self-education? For example curriculum, self testing, problem sets and exercises, writing assignments, and even teaching peers.
Learning and confidence: How is our confidence as an adult shaped by our experience with school. We all have self narratives like "I wasn't a good students, I didn't get good grades", or "I'm not a math person". As adults, how do we overcome negative associations we may have about learning from school? Some of us also have positive narratives about learning from our early years. Does our self-confidence take root from our experience with formal education? — "I went to a prestigious university so of course I'm smart and therefore can figure out X".
Learning and joy: If you've ever seen a child's expression after they finish a puzzle or tie their shoes by themselves for the first time, you've seen pure joy from learning. We've all experienced that 'I figured it out!' feeling or that 'aha, I get it!' movement. Why is learning enjoyable? What happens inside the brain when we learn? How can we replicate these circumstances in more parts of our lives? The value of keeping curiosity and a sense of wonder alive into our old age.
Good to read pre-Salon:
Salon 1 Description [DRAFT]
What is your earliest memory of learning something? Was it in school or was it something you taught yourself on your own?
In this salon we explore the relationship between autodidacticism and formal education. Are both necessary part of our growth and development as human beings? We instinctively know how to learn. This is certainty true of procedural learning or experiential learning — learning things that we cannot explain but we can use (tying shoelaces, riding a bike, or learning language as a toddler). On the other than hand, can declarative or intellectualize learning happen without any foundation of formal education? (e.g. balancing a chemical equation, quantum mechanics, mathematical proofs). Can we adapt concepts from formal education for lifelong self-education? (e.g. curriculum, tests, problem sets, writing, courses, semesters)
We also explore how confidence is related to learning. How your confidence as an adult effected by what type of experience you had with school? We have self narratives like "I wasn't a good students, I didn't get good grades", or "I'm not a math person", etc. As adults, how can we overcome negative associations we may have about learning from formal education?
Learning and Joy - If you've ever had an opportunity to witness a child's expression when they finish a puzzle or build a Lego tower by themselves for the first time, you have seen pure joy of learning in that 'I did it!' or 'I figured it out!' look. Why is learning enjoyable? What happens inside the brain when we learn? How can we replicate these circumstances in more parts of our lives?
Possible Readings (TBD):
Education philosophy article - sense of wonder
Changing Paradigms of Education - book animate
Ted talk - good points, funny. but also pessimistic and a bit dramatic.
Books to evaluate:
Bach, James Marcus. Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar: Self Education and the Pursuit of Passion. ISBN 978-1-4391-0908-3
Brown, Resa Steindel. The Call to Brilliance: A True Story to Inspire Parents and Educators. ISBN 0-9778369-0-8
Cameron, Brent and Meyer, Barbara. SelfDesign: Nurturing Genius Through Natural Learning. ISBN 1-59181-044-2
Hayes, Charles D. Self-University: The Price of Tuition Is the Desire to Learn. Your Degree Is a Better Life. ISBN 0-9621979-0-4
Hayes, Charles The Rapture of Maturity: A Legacy of Lifelong Learning. ISBN 0-9621979-4-7
Hailey, Kendall. The Day I Became an Autodidact. ISBN 0-385-29636-3
Llewellyn, Grace. The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education. ISBN 0-9629591-7-0
Rancière, Jacques. The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation. Stanford Univ. Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8047-1969-1
Solomon, Joan. The Passion to Learn: An Inquiry into Autodidactism. ISBN 0-415-30418-0
Stark, Kio. Don't Go Back to School: A Handbook for Learning Anything. 2013. ISBN 0-9889490-0-8
Possible Salon Series
Salon 1: Learning - Explore the relationship between self-learning and formal education. And also between learning and confidence. (Also what happens to the brain when you learn?)
Salon 2: Teaching and pedagogy - Teaching yourself and teaching others. Teaching methods (e.g. 'concrete to abstract' Montessori philosophy). Formal and informal teachings, as and educator or as a parent.
Salon 3: Mentorship - learning from someone who's traveled the path you want to go down. Learning things that cannot easily be put into writing. Having someone 'show you the ropes'. Mentoring others and best ways to do this. How can we exchange knowledge and experience with each other as peers.
Possible audience questions:
+ Tell me about some skill that you taught yourself and how did it go?
+ Tell me about something specific you remember learning during formal education that you remember vividly
+ Have you ever had to pretend that you know something when you didn't actually know it?
Things I believe or feel strongly:
+ Learning and confidence are related - having a strong foundation and enough experience that you can say "I have no idea how that works, but I know I can figure it out"
+ Being able to say "I don't know" is an important character trait. And also being able to adapt a beginner's mindset.
+ My dislike of intentional obfuscation - I find this deeply tragic and also very unfair when the Thing could very easily be explained in a different way that would make it clear and allow the learner to go 'ah I get it'. (all this as it stems from my experiences in the world of software).
+ I find it very sad when I observe someone giving up and concluding that "I'll never understand this" because no one explained it to them in the right way, especially young children.