In high school the majority of students who felt that education was not necessary were the ones who felt like they needed it. And now in college the students who see the value that education has on success are the ones who want it. And reality is that those high school students who felt that they needed education sure are not in college. So what is the true definition of learning? True learning is the want, and not the need for change. True learning can only be achieved if you want to learn it on your own and not because of some sort of external motivator. It is important to learn not for the sake of need, but for the sake of wanting, and ask yourself how this will change me, that’s what true learning is about. Why do we need the true definition of learning?
In our current culture I have seen the absence of success and guidance within our youth. Many of our kids are now possessed and blinded by our current advanced technology that we have manifested. This technology is what our children want, it is what keeps our children in the “now” and suppresses them from seeing the true value of learning. It whispers and leads them to think that education is something they need instead of something they should desire. Leading them down the wrong path away from success! Leaving a hopeless vision to our future. Some experts such as Dana Gioia, Mark Bauerlein, and Maryanne Wolf have shown us what the true definition of learning can and will do for us if we implement it into our way of thinking and into our society that will be in the hands of our children. As Dana Gioia is explaining the detailed assessment for the decline of reading’s role in the nation’s culture in “Reading at Risk”, Gioia informs us that “reading a book requires a degree of active attention and engagement.” Saying “help me write my thesis”(1) And how does this quote demonstrate true learning?
As Gioia is describing the main key of “active attention and engagement” in reading. She hints that these skills can only be accessed when a person applies themselves and is willing to want change in the form of true learning acquiring the progressive skill of reading. Mark Bauerlein in “The Digital Divide” as he explains the development of brains and thinking patterns mentions that the key finding of brain plasticity research is by the brain’s reorganization. Reorganization when only an individual “pays attention to the sensory input and to the task” “[requiring] very hard work.”(16) Only achieved when an individual puts work in the matter willingness and want. And Maryanne Wolf in “Learning to think in a digital world” as she quotes French novelist Marcel Proust on the true purpose of reading she elaborates that to go beyond decoding text and into the heart of the reading process one must take a “learnable approach towards knowledge” (36) Wolf uses “learnable approach” to also hint the main key of true learning. All examples of professionals and experts implementing the definition of true learning into real life. But we can make a connection to our past with George Washington Carver, Frederick Douglass, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. George Washington Carver, Frederick Douglass and Nathaniel Hawthorne can help us make the connection with our past regarding the true definition of learning. We can see how the true definition of learning is being embraced in some of their quotes.
In The Story of a great American we can examples of that in his “Where shall I begin?”(Carver91) quote. George Washington Carver understands the true definition of learning and provides us with some examples. As George Washington is traveling down into Tuskegee, Georgia he is astonished at all what he is seeing. Deserted fields of malnourished farmland, the dominance of king cotton and the poor famers. George then asks himself “where shall I begin” (91)? George Washington’s quote shows the type of man he is. He’s the type of man that will go out of his way to help his fellow people not because he needs to but because he wants too. George loves his people and will never turn back from his calling to help them achieve change.
Anne White uses the term “begin” to demonstrate George’s willingness to start a plan although the challenges may seem impossible to go through. George can also show us the definition of learning in his other quote, when he tells himself “I can help my people by healing their sick land.” (93) This quote has the same connections as the first one, showing us George’s sympathy for his people by going out of his way in order to help his people with plans. But like George, Ethan Brand came across ideas that changed his entire life “He remembered with what tenderness, with what love and sympathy for mankind, and what pity from human guilt and woe, he had first begun to contemplate those ideas which afterwards became the inspiration of his life;” (Brand240) as Ethan told himself while watching the kindle while having flashbacks of his life before the search for the unpardonable sin. “…became the inspiration of his life;” shows us that Ethan wanted to search for the “unpardonable sin”. In the Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass we can also observe how Douglass wants to kick start his education.
“If you want to breathe as much as you want to succeed then you will be successful” quoted by Eric Thomas is by far one of the best quotes I have heard and the one I live by. This quote mirrors what “True Learning” is all about, and both these factors is what has gotten me to where I am. If you implement this in your life, and put in work towards change, you too will start seeing change and realize the real power of “True Learning”! Do we have the capacity to connect to the past in order to build a bridge of hope as a vision of the future? Yes, with the willingness for change we can turn tides around by adopting this factor into our children’s lives.
By showing them down the bright, hopeful road and into success they too will pass along the true definition of learning to future generations. Just like Carver, Douglass and Hawthorne did with the passing generations. But who said things were going to be easy? Carver, Douglass and Hawthorne did not. We and our future kin will have to fight through and achieve the change we are striving for!