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- by Lindy Schneider
I am back at school and to my horror I am risking the ‘sucky swot’ chiding of my youth. Way back in University days, my student friends and I would sit at the back of the lecture theatre and ridicule the older students that lampooned the front row and earnestly asked all the questions.
Now I find myself with a revived motivation to learn, and it seems I am the one with the insatiable appetite for answers.
Is it that in the years in which we might ultimately call ourselves “mature’, our desire to learn drives us more intensely than before? A sense of time slipping by too quickly certainly hastens my insistence.
Or perhaps is it because we have finally figured out what it is we really want to be when we grow up, and so we end up in classes we really want to take?
I know that in the years I have taught in adult education, the challenge of getting a lively discourse going in a class often hinged on just one person being brave enough to step up, and it appears that as a student, I am that one person.
I understand with the wisdom of age, what a valuable treasure learning is. When a teacher is prepared to share their knowledge and experiences with you, then I can’t help but want to devour all I can possible ingest. So, when a teachers question is met by a stymied silence I get impatient – precious minutes dribble away while each waits for what? – the other to go first? Sometimes I wonder if it is a reflection of our culture, of living the myth of the tall poppy syndrome – “don’t be too much” such a deeply embedded rule in our collective and typically unconscious psyche.
So please understand that I will ask and offer something of myself, for it is in this exchange that there lies the promise of an expanded mind.
A wise teacher once shared with me that people in classes ask questions based on 3 main psychological impulses:
1 They truly want to know the answer, or
2. They want to prove they already know the answer, or
3. To try and demonstrate the teacher does NOT know the answer.
So as long as my questioning falls into category one, I guess I really am a mature aged student!