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The Joy of Practical Learning…What Can You DO?

An unfortunate number of people graduate from high school or college with a lot of knowledge and no practical ability. I’m a firm believer that practical learning (i.e. the ability to do something) is just as important as academic learning (i.e. knowledge about something). Practical learning encompasses anything that helps someone master a skill or ability. It includes skills that are sometimes considered drudge work…cooking, painting, fixing a car. As well as talents that are more recreational…skiing, drawing, dancing. Why Practical Learning? While skill-based learning comes naturally to some, many people are more comfortable with academic learning. When I graduated college, I loved reading and thinking. Over the next few years, I set aside time to escape from the written word and focus my energy developing skills. If you’re more of a thinker than a do-er, it may be difficult to focus on practical learning. There is great satisfaction in being able to accomplish something. Can you: Related:  osensei2001

The World As Your Campus: Design A General Ed Curriculum for Life One of the biggest hurdles people face when embarking on a journey of self-education is deciding what to learn. There are so many possibilities that it’s difficult to narrow down the options. If you still don’t know what you want to focus your self-studies on, may I suggest you take a bit of time for “general education.” In college, we think of general education as the series of courses one must take to get a broad understanding of academics. In the “world campus,” a general education is anything that helps you explore your own interests and share a common understanding with humanity. An inspiring essay from William Upski Wimsatt, published in Utne Reader, explores one self-educator’s personal curriculum: “I…enrolled as a student at the University of Planet Earth, the world’s oldest and largest educational institution. Here’s my curriculum: Live in a different city every year. Now, that’s an exciting curriculum. For a list of small steps to help you get started see: Deschooling Yourself .

How to Learn on Your Own: Creating an Independent Scholar Resource Plan One of the most challenging and gratifying parts of learning alone is the opportunity to search for and select your own learning material. Students in traditional classrooms usually don’t get to decide how they are going to master course content. Instructors decide for them in the form of textbook selection, quizzes, tests, group projects, etc. A resource plan is a document used to brainstorm the learning material you can use when you begin your studies. This article will show you how to create a resource plan to use in your independent studies. Step 1: Set a Goal The first step to creating a resource plan is to decide on a single goal. Ineffective Goal – Learn HTMLEffective Goal – Create several websites using HTML, referring only minimally to a coding book. Ineffective Goal – Learn about American literature.Effective Goal – Identify and read 100 classic American novels, memorize the major time periods in American literature, and be able to discuss major American authors.

The American Scholar: A Declaration of Intellectual Independence “The scholar is that man who must take up into himself all the ability of the time, all the contributions of the past, all the hopes of the future. He must be a university of knowledges. If there be one lesson more than another, which should pierce his ear, it is, The world is nothing, the man is all; in yourself is the law of all nature, and you know not yet how a globule of sap ascends; in yourself slumbers the whole of Reason; it is for you to know all, it is for you to dare all.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson Just 61 years after the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, Ralph Waldo Emerson offered a declaration of his own urging Americans to stop being “parrot[s] of other men’s thinking.” The groundbreaking speech, later titled The American Scholar, is a treasure trove of autodidactic insight. In his speech, Emerson draws attention to three ways that people can become independent thinkers and free themselves from over-reliance upon the ideas of others. Study the Past

The Lifelong Learner Infographic Continuing Education Infographics Lifelong learning is the ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. The Lifelong Learner Infographic explores why you should never stop learning, the perceived barriers of lifelong learning as well as its benefits and provides tips on how to become a lifelong learner. Via: www.professionalacademy.com Embed This Education Infographic on your Site or Blog!

Introduction to the Great Books of the Western World The best way to understand the world you live in now is to read the Western canon. By reading these classic books, you’ll develop a deep understanding of why our society is the way it is, why our government operates the way it does, and how the great ideas of history have come to shape our beliefs. You cannot truly think for yourself if you cannot recognize where your ideas and beliefs originate from. By studying the works of Western history, you’ll see that even the “modern” belief sets have been developing for hundreds of years. Once you can recognize where your preconceived beliefs come from, you become free – free to accept the knowledge that has been passed on to you or free to reject these ideas. Each Monday I plan to post a new overview of one of the Great Books of the Western World and show you where to find it for free. What is the Great Books of the Western World Series? Upon publication, Hutchins proclaimed: “This is more than a set of books, and more than a liberal education.

The Liberal Arts as Guideposts in the 21st Century - Commentary By Nannerl O. Keohane The very broad, capacious form of education that we call the liberal arts is rooted in a specific curriculum in classical and medieval times. We all wrestle with the challenges of educating students who are used to multitasking, doing their homework while listening to music and texting on their iPhones. An excellent example of the power of multimedia coupled with the liberal arts is "Imaginary Journeys," a general-education course sometimes taught at Harvard University by Stephen Greenblatt. This kind of education has become more and more appealing to students and teachers at universities around the world. Yet, as we know, the trends in the United States are in the opposite direction, and this is not just a recent problem. "Liberal education in crisis" is a tiresomely familiar theme, and countless commissions, reports, and study groups have attempted to address it. But how can college presidents today best go about making the case for the liberal arts? Nannerl O.

How To Learn On Your Own: Make A Personal Scholar Resource Plan One of the most challenging and gratifying parts of learning alone is the opportunity to search for and select your own learning material. Students in traditional classrooms usually don’t get to decide how they are going to master course content. Instructors decide for them in the form of textbook selection, quizzes, tests, group projects, etc. As an independent learner, you can make your study time more effective by using only the learning methods that work for you. A resource plan is a document used to brainstorm the learning material you can use when you begin your studies. This article will show you how to create a resource plan to use in your independent studies. Step 1: Set a Goal The first step to creating a resource plan is to decide on a single goal. Ineffective Goal – Learn HTMLEffective Goal – Create several websites using HTML, referring only minimally to a coding book. Step 2: Collect Materials Books – The written word is still one of the best ways to learn a subject.

10 Ways Reading the Great Books Can Improve Your Life The Master Course in Personal Development May Already Be Sitting On Your Shelf Reading the great books takes a lot of effort. Studying masterpieces such as the Odyssey or the works of Shakespeare requires more concentration than picking up a Tom Clancy novel. But, the payoffs can be tremendous. If you’re not sold on starting a reading plan, consider the benefits that reading great literature can bring to your life. 1. “These books are the means of understanding our society and ourselves. Consider your thoughts on subjects such as romantic love, truth, democracy, and freedom. 2. “We are tied down, all our days and for the greater part of our days, to the commonplace. Reading the great books may not turn us into Platos and Einsteins. 3. 4. “The liberally educated man has a mind that can operate will in all fields. 5. Everyone has to forge his own path in this life. 6. Once you get through a few of the more challenging books, you’ll find it easier to comprehend all kinds of works. 7. 8. 9.

Do Hard Things I have a rather uncommon mantra for my life: Do the hardest thing you can. Uncommon, because I’ve met exceedingly few people who agree with it. In fact, almost everyone suggests the opposite. Yet, despite taking on bigger projects, I’ve found this mantra to be increasingly valuable. Building Strength If you lift the heaviest weight you can lift, then you become stronger as a result. A synonym for this kind of strength might be confidence, although that also has implications of irrational self-assessments as well, so I prefer the word strength. When I did my first course for the MIT Challenge, it was stressful. I’d also say I have fewer negative preoccupations during this challenge than before it. What if You Burn Out? Implicit in the mantra is the hardest thing you can do. Burnout shouldn’t be the goal, but it might be a side-effect. But even in that case, how bad is burnout really? Burnout, like any failure, is only temporary. Caveats: Hard, Not Many; Harder Goals, Not Harder Methods

Memorizing Dates - How To Remember Dates For A Test Dates are often difficult to remember because they seem so random and obscure unless we can relate them to something specific. For instance, the American Civil War started in 1861, but unless you have a strong interest in the specific timeline of the war, there is nothing special about the starting date that separates that date from any other. What makes 1861 stand apart from 1863 or 1851? When trying to memorize a date, students can really benefit from a mnemonic system (memory technique) to help them recall the right numbers in the right order. For memorizing dates it might be helpful to borrow a practice from the London Cockneys. A Cockney is an inhabitant of the East End of London, England. In Cockney slang: Can you believe it? More examples: Whistle and flute = suit White mice = ice Tom Hanks = thanks Trouble and strife = wife Remembering Dates We can use the same method to remember dates. You can leave off the century, so that 1861, the starting date for the Civil War, becomes 61.

Study Guides: Thinking Critically About Critical Thinking by Ralph Dumain “Condescension, and thinking oneself no better, are the same. To adapt to the weakness of the oppressed is to affirm in it the pre-condition of power, and to develop in oneself the coarseness, insensibility and violence needed to exert domination. . . ” — Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia (London: Verso, 1987), end of section 5 (p. 26) “The weak points in the abstract materialism of natural science, a materialism that excludes history and its process, are at once evident from the abstract and ideological conceptions of its spokesmen, whenever they venture beyond the bounds of their own speciality.” — Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Chapter 15. This web site as a whole could be considered essentially a guide to critical thinking (including specimens of erroneous steps along the way). Related projects in progress include (1) bibliography and critical survey of the literature on the dumbing down of the American people; (2) George Lakoff's liberalism and notion of framing. Videos

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