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Friday, November 21, 2008

Ego and learning

I have been watching my three year old daughter a lot recently. Not as the apple of my eye, which she of course remains, but as a learning being. I am constantly amazed by how quickly she learns new things (or to those for whom preciseness is important, how she learns and acquires new things).

I have often felt that if I learn one or two new things a day, then it is a good day. But she demonstratively learns 50+ new things a day. And it is her ability to test and experiment with new words, ideas or actions without fear that helps her do this. Her ability to exist in the moment is a joy to behold. She can be howling with misery at having been denied the opportunity to wear her skimpy summer "blootiful princess dress" when it is 5 degrees outside and the next second giggling at the squirrel that just fell off the fence. Even as the tears still roll down her face she has moved on to the next idea/emotion without its predecessor getting in the way.

Like a computer fresh out of the box that boots up in seconds only to be worn down into a state of quasi permanent nothingness once we have loaded all the unnecessary software to slow it down. It is one thing to read Chomsky's and others' work on the way children acquire knowledge. It is another thing to see it happening.

I look to her for my lessons in learning at the moment. I know I cannot completely recover the childlike enthusiasm for life but trying not to let fears and emotion get in the way of new things can only be helpful. The trick will be as a parent trying not to load her with unnecessary worries, prejudices and rubbish so that she can continue to be much better than me. And so on and so on...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love this blog about your daughter's learning Hugh. No suprise to you I'm sure, as you will be aware I am also in awe of my 2 year old. She is practising hard with the words she hears every day, with hilarious and wonderous results (today she told me she was having a "conga-sation").

I think it's an important and real challenge for the training environment to bring out the inquisitive and un-embarrassed "child" in as many people as possible. It's a risky business trying to do this as a trainer though. It's a tightrope walk to ensure you don't seem patronising and / or niave. However, I still think as a trainer I need to embody a genuine enthusiasm for discovery, as this frees others up to join in (if they want to). Unfortunately there are still an awful lot of old school "font of all knowledge" trainer approaches out there; bringing out a totally different sort of "childish" response.
(Melody McMillan)