A good sign that a class, course or workshop went well is when I – the facilitator – learn something from it. Last week our first Facilitating Individualized Education Workshop had a few of those learning moments. The workshop reminded me about what motivates learning. Rarely do someone else's desires or interests serve as a good motivation for learning. Who has ever learned a subject well because their parents wanted them to? Yet, how often have we tried to get good grades in order to please our parents? The habit of listening to other people’s considerations likely settles in at an early age and it's a hard habit to break.
Desire, inspiration, interest - these are things that fuel true learning. Obligation, expectation, fear these don't do the same thing. Many of us have learned to learn to satisfy what others expect from us. How often have we heard the phrase – “you should learn X, you'll need it later” - and then later never materialized.
Facilitating Individualized Education means we have to listen to the learner. Listen to what they are interested in, to how they take in information, to how they express themselves. True learning requires that we listen to the voice in our own head that does not want to listen. The voice that says 'I know best.' As teachers, we have to practice being of service to the being in front of us more than the system, in which we find ourselves. The system, in which we are learning, will change - the people with whom you work are the source of inspiration for how the system will change. As Abraham Maslow says of the self actualized – “accept people as they are, not as you want them to be.”
And, by the way, there's an upcoming workshop here, in Toronto if you are interested.
Facilitating Individualized Education.