By Lisa Huddleston
I love to learn. Not just to get a job or to write a paper or to win an argument. I love to learn for the pure sake of learning itself. And I sense that that makes me weird in some intangible way. Whether that means reading an article about a new “favorite” author (Barbara Kingsolver in The Sun) or formally taking a class or two at a local university to renew a teaching license I will probably never use, learning and expanding my understanding of this world is vital to my continuing to grow and therefore to live. (Standing still is not an option on this spinning planet.) Learning is like food for my brain. Miracle Grow. Manna. Crack.
But lately learning has been less of a “buzz.” Yes, I am dutifully, even ploddingly, pushing forward. Reading new books. Pondering new concepts. Making new arguments and realigning or restructuring old thinking to fit with my new discoveries. And all that is good. Necessary even. But I can’t stop asking, “So what?” What am I doing with what I learn? What difference does it make to the world around me? What difference does it make to the world within me? I mean, if all my learning and searching is just collecting like the dusty basement junk I recently wrote about, why bother with it?
But I cannot stop. Like a hoarder I hang onto old bread ties of truth and pieces of butcher string concepts because these are the things that hold it all together. The gravity that pulls the pieces in rather than flinging me out into the cold chaos. Although it might be tidier to throw old ideas away, I find myself sniffing, circling around to revisit them, but in a different, older light. Dimmer or brighter, fading or growing, I cannot say for sure. Like deja vu but through 3-D glasses.
Recently I told dear friends that I had circled back to views I held when I was in my teens–that I now had the mentality of a teenager! All over the place and about a couple inches deep in any direction. They laughed, but I think some things I say just worry them. I guess I do sound as though I may be losing it from time to time. But that’s only because I may be!
And so today I am pondering Constructivist Learning Theory. Interesting ideas about how learners build their own meaning based upon previous learning constructs. I get that, don’t you?