Here, I don’t intend to talk about the need for learning, the scope of learning, or the goals of learning. I just want to share some observations on the attitude towards learning and the treatment of it.
Observation #1 is that learning is very often deferred to a next stage. I would quote a general comment heard in teachers’ and parents’ meeting. It says, what is more important for the teacher is to finish with the syllabus (always referred to as “covering” the syllabus), and for the student is to pass the exams. The intention or the value on which the syllabus is based is not usually taken into consideration. So learning is very often postponed to a further stage, and no wonder most of us have had the “real” learning outside the schools and universities.
Observation #2 is that learning for exam is separated from learning for knowing. Exams have become a be-all and end-all of classroom learning. Instead of integrating exams into the process of learning, it has become the destination - isolated and away. The task of the learner is only to get there somehow, receive the award and move out. Hopefully, he/she would learn things after that.
Observation #3 is that learning is limited to a frame (normally, a prescribed text), where information is prioritized over imagination and innovation. Too much of information is crammed into the learner’s mind that he/she is left with no space for creative inferences. By the time he/she is an adult, he/she will have lost the faculty of wonder and curiosity.
So, if you ask me what is learning, I would say that Learning is something that would sandwich the curious observation with wild imagination into a perfect, delicious toast of experience.
Let exams be a part of it, not an end of it.
Always remember that Learning is now and here.