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Learning is the Cure-all

The ability to learn is the basis of hope.

Without the possibilities of education, we would all be condemned to remain the same people today that we were yesterday.

Every mistake would be consistently repeated. Every failure would be doomed to happen over and over again. Every time we were stumped by a tough question or baffled by a complex problem, we would have to live with the anxiety of knowing that those things would never get any easier.

Our capacity to glean insights from our struggles gives us power and promise. Each time we’re exposed to a new challenge, we gain the power of resilience. Each time we engage a new concept, we experience the promise of greater possibilities.

Learning is the art of familiarizing ourselves with the unfamiliar. To learn is to become a bit more familiar with what doesn’t work, what’s worked for others, what might work for us, and what’s worth trying. When we combine this familiarity with deliberate practice, we aquire mastery over ourselves, over our gifts, and over various aspects of the world around us.

The pursuit of mastery through self-directed learning is the key to staying fueled with inspiration.

The people who feel hopeless are the ones who see problems as fixed, enduring, and definite (“this bad thing just happened, it feels bad, and it’s going to feel exactly like this forever”) while the people who are invigorated by hope are the ones who see problems as transitory (“this is a terrible situation, it feels terrible right now, but everything changes”).

For the hopeless, problems are permanent. For the hopeful, personal growth is permanent.

When you allow yourself to become static and complacent, you’ll end up being a sitting duck for every bit of discouraging news that comes your way.

If you want to overcome hopelessness, fill your heart with as many ideas, stories, and experiences as you can. Build a vast vocabulary of metaphors, distinctions, questions, and examples that will help you outgrow mundane and limiting perspectives.

In T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, Merlyn offers this sage advice:

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”

There is no end to the challenges we face in life. Fortunately, the same can be said about our opportunities to learn, grow, and evolve.

A Pedagogy With Passion

The soul of any worthwhile pedagogy is the teacher’s desire and determination to lead by example. Educators cannot inspire a love for learning in others if their own hearts haven’t been enraptured by that very love. One must know what it means to caress an idea if he or she has is to have any hope of conveying it with conviction.

Before wisdom can be imparted, it must be embodied. We embody wisdom when we cultivate a visceral understanding of what it’s like to be moved and transformed by ideas; when we can say with sincerity that we have tasted the experience of being provoked by literature and enlightened by history; when we can teach art and language because we have been genuinely inspired by art and empowered by language; when we can teach math and music with the empathy of one who has been tortured by math and intoxicated by music; when we can communicate philosophical concepts from a place of having been challenged and comforted by those philosophical concepts for ourselves.

The teacher’s relationship to the mind of the student should be nothing less than an extension of the relationship he or she has to their own sense of wonder, to their own process of wrestling with the great questions of life, to their own life-long practice of coming to grips with the problems, paradoxes, and pleasures of learning.

We are not here to stuff facts into people’s brains. We are here to encourage, by the example of our own affinity, humanity’s innate passion for understanding the world.

College, Education, & Alternative Schooling: A Panel Discussion with the IHomeschool Network

Have you ever wondered about alternatives to college? College alternatives are on the rise, and now more than ever, there are several college alternatives available for all high school graduates. Join the bloggers of iHomeschool Network as we discuss those college alternatives.

Today I had the pleasure of participating in the above-described Google Hangout Session with the IHomeschool Network.

It was a fun time.

If you’d like to check it out, feel free to click here.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

Praxis: A Real World Education

The main goal of Praxis is to offer knowledge, experience, and educational resources with an emphasis on helping our participants 1) discover what they truly want and 2) improve their ability to actually create value in the marketplace.

Our new commercial introduces the first Praxis class and delves into a bit more detail on how the program is creating options for those who are looking for a real world education.

To watch the Praxis commercial, click here.

To read our most recent newsletter, click here.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

Those Who Wish To Teach, Must First Learn to Respect

There’s an inverse relationship between the size of a teacher’s ideas and the size of a teacher’s need to make their students feel small.

A lover of knowledge understands that education does not require humiliation; that a learner’s intelligence doesn’t need to be insulted as preparation for it being informed.

The broader one’s understanding of the universe, the deeper their inclination to share that understanding without pretension.

When one’s mind is truly exalted, so is their respect for others.

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