Thursday, September 22, 2005


Google: drive, doc, pub

Joel Swagman
March 31, 1999
Journal 7
Education 304 C


Because I have spent my entire life so far on the side of the learner (with a few exceptions), I think I am more qualified to write about learning than teaching.
Like most people, I love to learn if it is something that I am interested in.  I hate learning about molecules and photosynthesis, but I can read for hours a book on John Lennon or the Grateful Dead.  Unless I catch myself, when I use the word learning I mean things I have learned from books or documentaries.
However, I am attracted to Rosseau’s qoute:  “I hate books.  They only teach us to talk about what we do not know”.  Obviously Rossueau is making a qualification on constitutes really knowing something.  To him, learning involves knowing something first hand.
As a history student, I am obliged to make qualifications on that statement.  It would be impossible for me to know first hand what the French Revolution was like, or how it felt to be in the Trenches of World War I.  At the same time though, I can read all the books I want and still not come away with an understanding of the depression that is as good as my grandfathers.  I believe that books serve as an acceptable media of knowledge when there is no alternative, but that the best learning takes place outside of books.
Along the same lines, I would argue then that the most important learning takes place away from academic settings.  In a lot of ways I believe I learn more talking with friends than I do reading textbooks.  Of course, reading textbooks is necessary to get the grades I want, so I can get a college degree, so I can get a job I am happy with, et cetera.  And now that I am in my junior year of college, I am able to take courses that interest me and I find the work required for them even enjoyable at times.  However I believe the readings I do to be a waste of time outside of the grade I receive for them.  (However I should qualify this by admitting that if I were not kept busy by school, I would probably watch a lot more television, which would be an even greater waste of time, so I suppose it is just as well.)

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