Why do I need to know this?
The idea that the only things worth learning at school are things you are going to need to use later in life annoys me. Of course, schools are preparing children for adult life in many ways, which I why I think skills like being able to touch type for instance are underrated. And, don’t get me wrong, I think developing enterprise soft skills like being able to present and talk confidently and take risks etc are also vital and giving learning a purpose can be a good thing too. Learning should be about more than doing what you need to do though.
When I was at school, I never really questioned why I needed to know how Pythagorous’ theorem worked or what the relative atomic mass of an element was because I just enjoyed learning about, well, stuff. Maybe that’s just me, but actually, no, I don’t think it is for the most part.
The phrase ‘lifelong learners’ gets bandied about in education a lot – as in what we really want to do is create lifelong learners. To me, that means loving learning just for the sake of it and not only learning things due to necessity.
I’ve been reminded of this personally recently as I’ve started brushing up on my long-forgotten German skills, after ditching it during my first year at university. I’m not planning a move to Germany or getting married to a German bloke so I have no real need to do this; I just wanted to. I’m loving it too. Chances are this will now spur me on to take a trip back to Germany at some point this year so I can put it into practice, but I’m not doing it just for that. I also admit that I’m intrigued by the Michel Thomas Method I’m following, which is very different to the way I was taught German at school and at university and I’m wondering how it might apply to the classroom – I never manage to fully switch off from that. Ultimately though, I’m just enjoying (re)learning something new. Italian next I think…