The purpose of learning

What is learning? At its most basic level, learning is to construct meaning.

What is the purpose of learning? Again, at the most basic level, the purpose of learning is to develop AND fully utilize the fundamental human intrapersonal virtues.

What is a virtue? A virtue is a qualitative ethical capability of moral excellence and true practical wisdom. To be virtuous, everything the learner does, must be ethical. Being ethical is doing the right thing irrespective if someone is looking over your shoulder or not.

There are ten fundamental human virtues. They are, in hierarchical order:

  1. Self-confidence
  2. Motivation
  3. Initiative
  4. Effort
  5. Perseverance
  6. Common sense
  7. Responsibility
  8. Independence
  9. Joy
  10. Love

ALL human beings have the potential for these human virtues, and they need to be developed and utilized.

All humans, are born with a will. The will to do the right thing. To be ethical. That is the purpose of learning; to develop the fundamental human virtues.

There is a catch.

You cannot do it for someone. You can only do it for yourself.

If you do not put the work in, you won’t get anything out. If you have self-confidence, you will become motivated. If you are motivated, you will take initiative. If you take the initiative, you will make an effort, to persevere, using common sense and a sense of responsibility to become independent, find joy in life and love.

Challenge yourself

So how do we start this cascade? By setting a challenge for the student that is ABOVE their ability. Above their ability (the key), because that is where you want them to be. Life does not adapt and scale to your abilities. Life just is and life just challenges. When the learner solve the challenge, they will be self-confident.

I have done this.

The task of the teacher is to then set a next challenge, again above their ability. The self-confident student will be motivated to rise to the challenge.

I can do this.

The self-confident motivated student will take the initiative and find the next challenge to solve.

What else can I do?

From fundamental intra-personal virtues flow fundamental interpersonal virtues. These are:

  1. Humanisation
  2. Communication
  3. Dealing with feelings
  4. Justice and forgiveness
  5. Love
  6. Leadership

Our school system fails at the first step, and from there it is a cascade of fail. A 30% pass rate, does not set the bar very high. It cannot even be said to be a shebeen. If your students aspire to a shebeen, how can you expect them to be confident and motivated to take the initiative and make an effort to persevere with common sense and responsibility to humanity to independently find joy in their work and love when they reach the stars?


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