How to bring back the joy of learning

In my role as a lecturer and a tutor I meet many many students with various reasons for studying for a degree be it science or humanities (the subject does not matter here). They may be seeking the first step to a professional career in a particular field e.g., Teacher/ Solicitor/Health Care etc, they may be studying for a degree because the subject matter interested them perhaps due to a TV programme or hearing about a prominent scientist such as Prof Hawking or Sir Attenborough. Perhaps also because their parents and families expected them to go to university to study to get a successful career…

The reasons and motivations vary as much as the students I have met in my career. In recent years however, I have noticed an alarming trend amongst a large percentage of these bright young people. They seem fixated about their results and get terribly obsessed about the ups and downs of their marks. It’s a total disaster to them if they receive lower marks than they expected.

I had not noticed this was serious until more and more of my colleagues mentioned similar things to me. Why are the students so upset, as if their lives have been ruined? Why do they get so worked up about a mere number- after all when the marks are processed and rounded up the difference is minute? Why are they so results driven?

There could be many reasons, but the students seem unable to enjoy the journey they are taking in the most formative part of their lives, unable to appreciate the friendships they make or recognise their confidence and skills increasing year on year. Even something as simple as being able to solve a complex problem which they could not have done when they were in their first year does not bring them satisfaction. They simply seem unable to take stock and BE with what they are studying.

Through the practice of the SEJ process, I endeavour to BE in the moment with them to share in a discovery of truth. To show them the joy of discovering with their own eyes, the joy of simply finding out ‘why does this happen this way?’ Especially when experiments don’t give the results we expected! As I recall, my professor, during the doctorate training told me, that finding out something does not work is just as valuable as finding out that it does. He even went onto say that would be a valuable contribution to the progress of science. Because nothing is ever mundane or repetitive when we practice the SEJ as the Truth is based on reality.

My role as a teacher is not to give them answers but to share the joy of finding out their own truth. Will you be joining me with this endeavour?

Dr M Howard-Kishi

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