The topic of “teach it to learn it” has been on my mind a lot lately. I guess to truly acknowledge the topic would require a complete re-thinking of… the very fabric of society. If I assert that society was built and shaped through compulsory schooling, as originated by the very generous Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations.
With the immensity (and monstrosity) of this topic at hand, not surprisingly, I couldn’t figure an easy way to put my state and feelings into words coherently. As a first remedy I resorted to a chat with the machine, to solidify a few definitions. Then I took to writing myself a few summaries. Here they are:
Software and hardware – The mind and the body Myth
The idea of a separation between mind and body traces back to influential figures like René Descartes (a 17th-century philosopher), asserting that the mind and body are distinct entities.
Descartes argued that the mind is immaterial and responsible for thoughts and consciousness, while the body operates mechanically. The rise of content production for monetisation purposes, the advent of Newspapers (and people sticking their heads into them as if they were addicted to them somehow), and finally social media and influencer marketing further contributed to this divide.
However, contemporary understandings challenge this separation: the recognition of the interconnectedness between mental and physical well-being.
For instance, emotions, thoughts, and psychological states can significantly impact physical health. Similarly, physical health issues can affect mental well-being, contributing to conditions like anxiety or depression. Likewise, positive emotions and a healthy mindset promote overall physical well-being, and physical well-being positively impacts mental health.
A tool for every task – The Left-Brain Right-Brain Myth
The belief in the separation of rational thinking and creativity via the left and right brain originates from ethically very challenging neurological studies in the 1960s and 1970s, notably by Sperry and Gazzaniga, focusing on surgery to split the human brain. These studies suggested logical thinking is located in the left brain and creativity with the right.
However, further research using advanced imaging has shown that while certain functions may dominate specific hemispheres, the brain operates with extensive interconnections between both sides. Despite its popularization in culture and self-help literature, the strict left-right brain dichotomy oversimplifies the brain’s complexity and interconnected nature, emphasizing collaboration between hemispheres for most tasks.
Pouring water from one bucket to the next – The Teaching and Learning are separate Myth
The traditional perception of teaching and learning as separate processes is rooted in a hierarchical educational model where the teacher is the primary source of knowledge, seen as transmitting information to lower-ranking students expected to absorb and reproduce facts. In this sense teaching is typically viewed as the delivery of content by the authoritative figure in the classroom, while learning is perceived as the responsibility of submissive students to receive information.
Contrariwise, “teach it to learn it” challenges the traditional perception that teaching and learning are separate processes. This perspective suggests that the act of teaching is intricately linked to the process of learning.
By teaching a concept or explaining a subject matter to others, individuals reinforce their understanding, deepen their knowledge, and refine their own comprehension. This process often requires organizing information in a coherent way, identifying key points, and considering various perspectives—all of which contribute to a deeper grasp of the subject matter.
In this sense teaching might be viewed as a form of learning activity, where learners of various proficiency and experience levels come together and collaborate. The less experienced ones respectfully hear from the ones who are already much deeper into the subject, before engaging in their own, further explorations. There is critical thinking and experimentation (hypothesis, falsification and verification), however, without creating class-hierarchy and appeal to authority.
Something like this.