Friday, December 17, 2010

Learning is an Act of Choice

Having my interest in the concept of the intentional non-learner renewed, I spent some time reviewing notes that I had taken from a presentation made by Larry Lazotte at the Model Schools Conference in June of 2006. In that presentation, he had stated that learning is an act of choice. I wish I knew more as to his thoughts about learning as an act of choice. Not having more on the topic, I decided to attempt some understanding.

Without a doubt, some of our students choose not to learn, or not to learn what it is that we want them to learn. This is to suggest that there are students who are at varying levels of compliance. Some will do whatever we ask of them and others won't. The question becomes, "why won't they do what we ask?" Why do students choose not to learn?

I think there are at least two answers to this question. First, the learning often involves effort and there are many of us--I am included--who would prefer to avoid effort, if possible. (I believe that I have resigned myself to the understanding that the harder I work, the better off my life is. Therefore, I do what I have to do.) So, the learning looks like work...some students decide they really would rather not do the work.

Other students have tried to do the work and failed. Failure is a hurtful thing. They eventually come to the conclusion that when they try, they fail. Therefore, if they do not try, they do not fail and they can feel better about themselves.

Yes, learning is an act of choice...but there must be more to this topic.

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