Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reflection and Perspectives

How often do you pause and reflect on your efforts, accomplishments, and adjust your avenues of approach? How do you encourage others to self reflect and view different perspectives in the learning environment?

Whether I am in a formal or informal learning environment I am often reminded of the story of "The Blind Men and the Elephant". Today you can see the various credits in the Wikipedia article or through the 1000+ titles in Google Books.

So how often do you put yourself in the position of the blind men and the elephant to see another person's perspective?

I am not sure how old I was when I first read this story but I know it factors into my life, regardless of my role of the hour. Wikipedia describes a few versions of the story but this quote from the Buddhist version caught my attention: "Just so are these preachers and scholars holding various views blind and unseeing...In their ignorance they are by nature quarrelsome, wrangling, and disputatious, each maintaining reality is thus and thus."

So for those who are sharing knowledge in any learning environment, ensure you are not right fighting for a truth which may only be a half truth, take a moment and listen, and see if you can "Seek first to understand then be understood" (Steven Covey).

The learning process is not an "us vs. them" battlefield. The lifelong learning process is one part of the "unity" within the community. What role do you fill?

Some quotes that have caught my attention during my homework and research assignments this week:

Quotes from Robert M. Hutchins:

"The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives."

“It must be remembered that the purpose of education is not to fill the minds of students with facts…it is to teach them to think.”

“Education is a kind of continuing dialogue, and a dialogue assumes different points of view.”

“My idea of education is to unsettle the minds of the young and inflame their intellects.”

From Peter F. Drucker:

We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.

So how often do you pause and reflect on your efforts, accomplishments, and adjust your avenues of approach? How do you encourage others to self reflect and view different perspectives in the learning environment?

Comments are always welcome.

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