The Illusion of Learning
By Alexa Le
Most people often hold a common misconception about learning. As a result of the long years spent in school, many automatically roll their eyes in dismay while recalling the time spent hunched over textbooks, fastidiously cramming for stress-inducing exams. It brings back unpleasant memories, and these individuals have been conditioned to automatically associate school with learning. Although some may have found joy in their studies for school, the vast majority of people do not, and are content to stay far away from books as long as they can help it. However, this process can inconspicuously become harmful so that as the years pass, we barely realize it ourselves.
The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Yale Child Study Center found that in a survey of 21,678 United States high school students, about 75% have negative feelings associated with school. This is mostly due to the stress, anxiety, and most prominently, boredom, that accompanies the classroom. Consequently, many students lack the motivation to do more than the bare minimum to receive their desired grade in school, choosing to spend hours watching television as opposed to reading for pleasure or spending time outside.
People learn in a plethora of ways and are usually separated into the visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic categories of types of learners. This is actually quite ironic because learning does not inherently have any rigid guidelines or boundaries, despite the stereotype. Learning is a fascinating and beautiful process because one has gained knowledge about their surroundings, bettering both their minds and their lives. One learns whether they go out into nature and see a beautiful butterfly flying in the sky or sit in a library with an interesting autobiography. Learning is a never-ending exercise of the mind, and a fascinating one at that.
To change the impact we make on students in the classroom, we must change their mindset. We must show them the value of the material they learn and allow them to take the time to truly understand it. We must become living proof that our knowledge is consistently evolving, that we cement our existence in the words we speak and the perception of the world around us.
Above all, we must be role models because we owe it to ourselves to become better versions of who we were yesterday.
From Belli, B. (2020, January 30). National survey: Students’ feelings about high school are mostly negative. YaleNews. https://news.yale.edu/2020/01/30/national-survey-students-feelings-about-high-school-are-mostly-negative