Well versed in the expanses
that stretch from earth to stars,
we get lost in the space
from earth up to our skull.
Wislawa Szymborska, To My Friends
What do we mean by learning? To tell the truth, even as a teacher of twenty-five years experience, I am not sure.
Professor Robert Coe has suggested that learning happens when people have to think hard. In a similar vein, Daniel Willingham contends that knowledge is the residue of thought. Siegfried Engelmann proposes that learning is the capacity to generalise to new examples from previous examples. I have also heard learning defined as a change in the long term memory.
One thing is certain, learning involves some sort of change in the learner’s brain. But what is acknowledged less often is that it doesn’t just happen in human brains.
Contrary to standard social science assumptions, learning is not…
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