Too reliant to learn?

Questions were always raised about my maths homework when I was at secondary. I rarely got full marks in class work, but would often get full marks for homework – my mum was a maths teacher – hence the questioning! However, I can honestly say I never cheated with my maths homework the reason I got full marks with my homework was because my mum would sit down with me and go through it with me until I ‘got it’ there were times when she would explain it about 10 times in 10 different ways until I finally understood what I was doing and why I was doing it.

This afternoon I was doing some reading for an A level course that I am teaching. It is a new course, so there are no textbooks yet, and some of the stuff I haven’t taught for a long time. So I was reading some of the key texts, and I really enjoyed it. This was something that I have been teaching at GCSE for a long time, but never for A level and to read it from the key text, made me understand it so much more. 

This got me thinking as I went for my run this evening. We are in an age where we have information at the end of our fingertips. If we want to know something we just have to get our phones out and ask a search engine, and bang, we have the answer. We trust what other people say, what other people tell us, but does that mean we don’t try to find things out for ourselves? 

It is so easy to share resources, but does that mean that we don’t individualise things?

One of my favourite courses at uni was patristic theology – basically looking at the early church fathers. I especially loved it when we were studying all the arguments that took place when deciding what the creed should be. Why did I love it? Because I had been saying different forms of the creed all my life, suddenly I understood what I was saying and why it was a basis for my faith.

Over recent years I have questioned a lot about my faith, well not necessarily my faith but my beliefs. There have been times where I have told what to believe about certain situations, and there were times when I blindly accepted but now I’ve started to question, to read around, to understand it for myself.

The same has been true with eating and exercise. As I’ve said on numerous occasions, I’m not dieting. I’m not a fan of diets, and I think this is mainly because if I don’t understand the purpose of it, then I won’t fully get involved. If I don’t understand the purpose of points, how they’re worked out, or why I’m allowed green days, red days, Syns, or why I’m eating dust then I’m not going to benefit from it or learn from it.

What I’ve found with counting calories is that I’m learning what works well for me. Because I’ve not been told what to do I’ve been researching, but through trying different things some I have stuck with, some I have realised are not for me. Similarly with walking to and from school, and running, I’ve worked out what works for me, with lots of research.

We rely on what we are told, but is that necessarily a good thing? I am a strictly fan, and although he is not my favourite dancer I’m loving Peter Andre this year. I love the way he listens to the judges comments and he takes it all in. He doesn’t get angry or upset if there is criticism he just works out what he needs to do next. 

I’m someone who has to understand why things are happening. I might not necessarily like the way things are happening, but as Long as I understand why, I am generally ok. Although it was a school related thing that got me reflecting about our reliance on technology and information at our fingertips; when I think back some of the greatest achievements in my life have happened because I have made the effort to discover it and explain it for myself. I may reach the same conclusion as others were encouraging me to, but I made the journey myself to get there! 

And we’re back to the journey again!

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