Thoughts on John Connell’s ‘I am Learner’

I’ve been reading various texts on learning and creativity over the past few weeks and have of course needed to think about the kind of learner that I am.  I have never really thought about what kind of learner I am, but through this research I have begun to see my own learning processes in a different light. As  I engage with my reading materials in a personal way, I realise that for me teaching and learning are interchangeable. For other people they may be two sides of the same coin and I do understand this, but for me, (and this came as a surprise to me) teaching and learning are the same thing. There may be something odd about this?!

Most recently however I came across John Connell’s ‘I am Learner’ and it resonated very deeply with my experience as learner. Please have a look at it here:

http://iamlearner.net/?page_id=1510

I have often thought about the issue of interconnectedness of learning and teaching as I considered anew my own learning experiences. It came as a positive and reinforcing surprise to me to read John Connell’s prose poem which seemed initially to articulate the very concept I had been struggling with.

Although Connell makes no mention of reflection per se the entire piece is a reflection on his personal learning experience. Is learning intuitive? Do I know that I’m learning? Does learning just happen? I usually make a conscious effort to think about what it is that I’m learning. Perhaps the most important idea presented here is that Connell resists the view that as a student I am taught, in other words, that I am the ‘object’ (implying that I’m passive and merely receptive) receiving the ‘subject’ (the knowledge that is imparted in the learning experience). I guess this piece raises  more questions or comments than answers for me, but I don’t think that’s a bad place to start…

  • Active and self-directed learners use interactive situations to enhance the experience; how universal a learning experience is this?
  • The role of interactive and multidimensional learning is not to be underestimated– self-development can occur through interaction with peers; it  provides a platform for a critical challenging of our experiences.
  • The implicit underlying thought here seems to be that there are different kinds of learner – which is true – but also that there is a kind of knowledge that is accepted and preferable; i.e. one style of learning is in diametric opposition to another

 

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