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Even though there is a deep and widespread debate in the Philosophy of Learning, as well as the moment in which it begins, ends or under what parameters it should be carried out, the truth is that the majority of thinkers coincide in recognizing in this intellectual process of the human being the greatest value of this individual as an individual.
What is learning?
In this sense, it would also be important to take into account what Learning is specifically, a process that basically -beyond the particular definitions that each of the intellectuals who have defined it may have elaborated– is understood as a cognitive process, by means of which the individual, through activities such as observation, thought, experience or following instructions, is able to acquire certain skills, which will be translated into new knowledge, or the modification of existing knowledge.
Consequently, Learning being understood then as a process of acquisition of new knowledge and skills, it can also be concluded that it is a process inherent to the human being, beyond the cognitive abilities of each person, since -as some special educators point out- beyond the existence of a degree of cognitive disability in the person, learning is also present. Consequently, all human beings are born with the possibility of learning.
Phrases about learning
However, an assertion of this type can also unleash multiple debates on the different types of intelligence, what is actually measured by IQ tests, among other categories and instances, which, inserted in the subject of Learning, seek to discriminate who is more apt to do so.
On the other hand, it is also important to highlight how in different stages of the History of knowledge, specifically during the ancient world and the Renaissance, Learning, knowledge, knowledge and thought are given pedestal as the maximum value of the human being, perhaps ignoring aspects that are a little more subjective, but equally human, such as emotional intelligence, artistic ability, sensory sensitivity, among other entities that are gradually claiming their focus on the concept of human intelligence.
Nevertheless, a good way to quickly review how Learning has been understood by the different generations of philosophers, thinkers and educators may be to bring to chapter some of the phrases pronounced by their most famous representatives. Here are some of them:
Plato (427 B.C. – 347 B.C.)
All that is called studying and learning is nothing more than remembering.
First of all, one can bring up this phrase from the classical philosopher Plato, where the innate character of knowledge for the Greeks is evident.
Thus, as inferred from the words of this Greek philosopher, when the human being initiates a process of learning, he is not actually learning new things that are not in him, but initiates a process in which ideas and knowledge, which are in him naturally, before he is born, emerge as memories. In this way, learning is to re-capture the knowledge within oneself.
Seneca (2 B.C. – 65 A.D.)
There are certain things that to do them well it isn´t enough to have learned them.
For its part, centuries after Plato, Seneca emphasized another aspect that can be seen in the abilities of a human being, and not always have to do with the ability to learn or how strict or complete this has been, but are more related to talent.
Consequently, two individuals can initiate and pass through the same learning process, but show different performances in the same field, since this will no longer depend on the learning capacity, but on other skills, which may or may not apply better in what they do.
Confucius (551 B.C. – 478 B.C.)
Learning without reflection is a waste of energy.
Likewise, those great thinkers who have taken a moment in their lives to reflect on Human Learning have shown an interest in the pedagogical process that is related to it.
In this order of ideas, then arises as an example this phrase of Confucius, Chinese philosopher who already five centuries before Christ, raised his voice to indicate the importance in the learning process of reflection, since if only knowledge is acquired, without there being a process of analysis that leads the individual to understand or bring that knowledge to his world, time will be lost, since then the learning process will not really happen, will be a simple consumption and repetition of meaningless data.
Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)
Tell me and I forget it, teach me and I remember it, involure me and I learn it.
In this same pedagogical tonic, but more than twenty centuries after Confucius, the American intellectual Benjamin Franklin stressed the importance of involving the student in the process that is intended to learn.
Thus, to paraphrase Franklin’s ideas, Apprenticeship will not happen only with a teacher who says a lesson for hours. Not even by showing who you want to teach how the activity should be carried out. Rather, it is absolutely necessary that the person who wishes to acquire knowledge faces the practice, feels immersed in the process, knows it, resolves with his abilities the obstacles that this provides, in short, doing to learn, or what is the same: you learn by doing.
B.B. King (1925 – 2015)
The wonderful thing about learning something is that no one can take it away from us.
Finally, another aspect that has amazed many thinkers and educators about Learning is precisely its intangible character, which makes it – in the eyes of many – a human possession, which is not only invaluable, but also – even when it is transferable – is safe.
That is to say, no one in the world can destroy or steal what another has fixed in himself as a learning. Therefore, as this American guitarist said at the time, the best thing about the learning process is that its fruits belong only to those who have cultivated them, and although they can share them at will, they can consider themselves to have an untouchable fortune, which no one will be able to take away from them. A treasure safe from thieves, which can grow without measure until the end of days.
October 31, 2019