Thursday, 3 May 2012

Knowledge Is Like A Room Full Of People

This excerpt from Papert's Mindstorms really stood out to me as a good analogy of my studies, but also of the role teachers have the process of learning any new skill or field, and the importance of learning how to learn.
"Getting to know a domain of knowledge is much like coming into a new community of people. Sometimes one is initially overwhelmed by a bewildering array of undifferentiated faces. Only gradually do the individuals begin to stand out. On other occasions one is fortunate in quickly getting to know a person or two with whom an important relationship can develop. Such good luck may come from an intuitive sense for picking out the "interesting" people, or it may come from having good introductions.
Similarly, when one enters a new domain of knowledge, one initially encounters a crowd of new ideas. Good learners are able to pick out those who are powerful and congenial. Others who are less skillful need help from teachers and friends. But we must not forget that while good teachers play the role of mutual friends who can provide good introductions, the actual job of getting to know an idea or a person cannot be done by a third party. Everyone must acquire skill at getting to know and a personal style for doing it."

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