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Martin Courtney

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Why do people like to learn, but dislike being taught?

Winston Churchill once said
"Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught". This quote got me thinking about the learning process.

What is the difference between learning something and being taught something? What is better? does it depend what it is or who it is? Do people see strength in learning but see weakness in being taught?

I dunno, it's over to you guys....


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  • Sep 19 2011: Personally i enjoy both! my dislike for either depends on my environment and the teacher (me, book, person)...

    There are a lot of things I would like to say about this, but I will just focus on the social assumption connected with teaching that can make being taught a not fun experience.

    Socially, those accepted as teachers (book or person) are credited with some type of superior knowledge and value. This assumption of superiority, accepted by both teacher and student, often leads to a devaluing of the student’s ideas/knowledge/experiences by the teacher, through conscious statements and subconscious actions, which slowly tears down a student’s confidence. A negative feeling of inferiority begins to associate itself with the “being taught” experience which leads to quotes like Churchill…

    Even the best of teachers with the most positive of intentions have given a look or made a comment that undermined a student’s idea/knowledge…No one likes to be 'talked down to' but our “traditional” hierarchy of qualified knowledge tends to promote that behavior.
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      Sep 20 2011: Oh gee. I didn't even think of this, but it is a perfectly valid point. A neurotic teacher could indeed be off-putting.

      I think I was lucky in that on my very first day of school, and I do mean kindergarten, the teacher argued with me about something where I was right and she was wrong (and it wasn't even something that she would even have had a case for, since it was something incredibly trivial that had to do with my past).

      I remember being confused that she would even have the inclination to argue about it, never mind the fact she was wrong, and as a result I don't think I ever saw the mystique that the other kids seemed to have for teachers. I have always understood that my learning was up to me, not them.

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