Page 7: Cultivating the Attitude of a Learner
Some Starting Points
Here are some starter things to get you to develop a leaner’s mentality:
- When you hear or see things you’re not sure about, ask yourself ‘what, where, when, why’ type questions, i.e. find out about things, just for the sake of it. You might be surprised at some of the things that grab you when you start looking. When the snow falls, why does it stay on some roofs and not others? What does it mean that that boy is autistic? What is the difference between Labour and Conservative? What happens when there is an eclipse of the moon? Why does February have twenty nine days every fourth year? What causes petrol prices to go up?
- When you are out and about, use your eyes and your mind. Look at trees, and plants and buildings. Trees are amazing and so different at different times of the year. Do all trees lose their leaves at the same time? Do they all have the same colours in Autumn? Do they all start budding at the same time? What sort of ‘fruit’ do different trees have? Start watching for these things (and it costs nothing to do!) and you’ll start cultivating your powers of observation. Look at the buildings around you? Do you know that the buildings in central Rochford reflect styles from the last four hundred years? Are they all the same size? Why not? What materials were they built with? Why? There’s a massive area of interest and observation all around you and Rochford is especially good for that.
- Once in a while buy a magazine that covers things you’d not normally be interested in, and get a peep into other worlds.
- Go to museums or art galleries or exhibitions and try to overcome your natural, “whatever is this all about’ mentality, and replace it with a ‘search and find’ attitude.
- Lose the “what will I get out of this?”mentality that stops us doing things, going places and having new experiences. In 2011 there was an exhibition in the top of the windmill in Rayleigh – about how old windmills worked. It was fascinating. Am I a better, richer person for having gone along? Not particularly, but it created another good memory and it was a good experience (if you are a learner!!) and now if we pass a windmill when driving around the country on holiday, we may stop and look more closely and understand more of the ways our country has worked. Learning – looking, finding out – is enjoyable.