Some unknown person (thanks unknown person!!) left an article for me in my mailbox entitled "Enemies of Learning". In the paper, the author, Charles Feltman, states that there are certain behaviors that "dull or kill our ability to learn." They include the following:
Our inability to admit that we don't know.
The desire for clarity all of the time.
Inability to unlearn.
Confusing learning with acquiring information.
Not giving permission to others to teach us.
Lack of trust.
There are others as well, but I found these to be really profound. I can't say I was surprised that these are on the list, but I was surprised to have them under the heading: Enemies of Learning. In other words, these things attack our ability to continuously learn.
I have to admit to being guilty of some of these things. I am known to ask a lot of clarifying questions. Not that this is bad, but sometimes, we need to start even when we don't have all the answers. Some answers need to come from our own personal experience. I also know that at times, I don't like to admit I don't know something. You might say I want to protect my reputation as someone who often does have the answers.
Still, I do know, even if it is deep down inside me, that when I fully embrace that I don't know something, I can be truly open to learning it. And when I wholly allow myself to give something up, I make space to learn something new.
These concepts are very relevant to me because technology is one of those areas that people seem to decide up front whether or not they are able to learn.
I had an interesting conversation with someone recently. It was not a teacher:) She told me she couldn't use her cell phone because it was too complicated. When I asked her to explain she said it was too hard to remember to hold the power button down for three seconds to turn it on or off. She has also told me in past conversations that she can not do email because she can't type.
This is a great example of how the Enemies of Learning are creating barriers for her to learn. She is not willing to operate without total clarity. She is unable to unlearn how she is used to using a landline phone. She also is afraid to look "silly" if she doesn't know how to do something. Think of the limitations she has put on herself in terms of communications due to these ideas.
What limitations do we put on ourselves? What can we accomplish if we are willing to address our personal Enemies of Learning? With so much change happening so rapidly, how can we afford not to address these issues?
**Source: Charles Feltman, Insight Coaching, 2008 http://www.insightcoaching.com/insight-papers.html