Learning To Learn

A bit of random parental thinking out loud, prompted mostly by this quote from our upper school director in the final newsletter before the break. (He’s talking about his thoughts while proctoring during exam week)

“While some of them may forget some of the content, all of them have learned the process, and it is the “learning how to learn” that is the greatest gift we will ever give our children. “

I could maybe argue any number of things about the education my child has received but on this point I’m pretty much in agreement. By far the most valuable thing Will is going to take away from his middle & high school years is “the process”. Or more specifically, HIS process. He’s learned what works for him, he’s learned how to study, how to manage his time, how to allocate his energy & attention. Sure, there are bumps in the road sometimes but that’s part of learning. What works for him isn’t what I’d have bet on as the most effective strategy but he’s proven to be pretty solid at figuring it out AND (eventually) at knowing when to make changes.

I knew this was the case when, while getting him to update me on the schedule for this week & his plans for being prepared, I ended the conversation with “I trust you”. That’s the bottom line truth of it: I do trust him. Maybe not to ace everything every single time but to give himself the opportunity to do so.

If I had to offer a parent any advice about their child’s academics, it might just be to make sure that they aren’t just learning things they can regurgitate as needed but to make sure that they are developing an understanding of the process that allows them to do so. Find that process, understand what you’re doing & why, the chances of succeeding seem to go up considerably.

While writing this I’m also reminded of perhaps the OTHER most valuable thing he’ll take from his years at Acad, the oft-repeated words of wisdom from the former headmaster:

“Be where you’re supposed to be, doing what you’re supposed to be doing, on time”

That may not be a foolproof plan — the introduction of fools into the equation can wreck it pretty quickly — but as a general rule of thumb it’s pretty good advice for avoiding trouble.

Note:  This actually began as a Facebook post but I kept rambling long enough that it probably should have been a blog entry all along, so I’ll repurpose it here as well.

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