Learn. Unlearn. Relearn.

How can we nurture and support the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn in ourselves, our students, and our school community?

Photo Credit: forayinto35mm via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: forayinto35mm via Compfight cc

Nothing endures but change. – Heraclitus

What is it about change that is so difficult?

Maybe it’s a loss of identity. When we know how things work we feel competent. Life appears predictable.

Living and working in international settings and schools requires a great deal of flexibility and an openness to learning, unlearning and relearning. Each school and culture operate differently, even when they share similar standards, curriculum or frameworks.

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve met anyone for whom the process of unlearning and relearning is really easy, at least not for anything significant. We may develop a resiliency with the ever evolving technology around us, but major shifts and transitions take time.

Photo Credit: steve_steady64 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: steve_steady64 via Compfight cc

Everything flows. Nothing stands still.  – Heraclitus

At a conference a while back, I heard the following quote:

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”  Herbert Gerjuo

So how can we nurture and support the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn in ourselves, our students, and our school community?

I’ve been thinking about this for some time and I’ve identified four steps to guide this process:

1. Know that it takes time.

Be brave enough to talk about the time it takes to engage in the cycle of unlearning, letting go and relearning. There is loss in this. Acknowledge it. 

2. Empathize.

Don’t defend. Don’t deflect. Listen and Care.

3. Model Struggle and Focus on Learning. 

We’ve all been there. Model a growth mindset.  Make your own learning visible and share it open-heartedly. 

4. Build trust. 

At a workshop one of the presenters–a retired veteran school leader–said the one thing he would do differently if he could do it all over again was to spend more time building trust.

Trust is essential in facilitating a community that embraces learning, unlearning, and relearning. 

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What ideas do you have for helping yourself, your students, and your school community engage in the process of learning, unlearning, and relearning?

 

One Reply to “Learn. Unlearn. Relearn.”

  1. I really appreciate your four step process, Shary! I think you’ve hit on some really important points – particularly the idea of modeling struggle – it’s so important for others to see that sometimes learning is not easy, even in our field of expertise. If we might be struggling, then certainly it’s understandable for someone outside that field to struggle too. It can be hard for teachers to admit that something is hard, so if we do it first, we’re opening the door to an honest conversation.

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