As a young student I struggled with traditional methods of learning because it often felt like large parts of me, such as my feelings, intuitive impressions, visionary capabilities, hopes and dreams, and instinctive responses (did I like what I was studying?) were being left out of the equation. In other words, the content of study was "out there" and rather than ‘it’ interacting with me, it seemed like I had to leave myself to interact with ‘it’. Also, I wanted my studies to be passionate, relevant and personally meaningful, but too often they felt far away, detached and inapplicable to my actual life.
When I got my degree in Transformative Education and Psychology, I discovered that the learning which happens on the inside while studying is just as important to the overall understanding of the subject as assimilating the content. In fact, the more I paid attention to my internal reactions to a subject, the better I remembered it, like it became part of me, rather than forgetting myself to ‘it’. Often reminding me of other life experiences and intuitive connections, I could often find a thread of meaning through what I was studying and my other passionate endeavors. In a word, I let the two worlds, inside and outside, become one.
We all have distinct styles of learning which, when respected, make learning enjoyable, easier and rewarding. Whole Person Learning is like following the river rather than climbing up hill. Learners are, first of all, encouraged to learn the way they innately learn, rather than imposing any outside expectation. Also, learners are given precious space to explore what learning styles work for them and what don’t. It is often the case that the learning and self-understanding process is equally, if not more important, to learners than the content being studied.
Whole Person Learning invites learners to approach their studies with ALL of themselves, that is, the whole of their felt experience. After all, this is how we engage life, why not learning? So rather than restricting or reducing our creative sensibilities, capabilities or experience, we draw upon a much expanded repertoire which includes and values (but is not limited to) focused cognition, along with the added dimensions of intuitive reasoning, global thinking, visionary capability, common sense, and emotional and instinctive responsiveness.
May your learning journey be open, easy and free.
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