The Learning Curve

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: Mar 22, 2013

Okay.  I admit it.  I have an absolutely insatiable appetite for…..learning.  Since forever. Likely always.  I can’t help myself, I am interested in all kinds of things, some of them diametrically opposed, others not normal for females!   Luckily I chose a career that nurtures and feeds this beast.  As someone once told me, journalists have a front row seat in the classroom of life.  How brilliant and absolutely true, I thought.  That is me.

Against this backdrop, it should come as little surprise that there is one thing that steams…wait, two things that steam me about learning new things, the world at large and parenting.  Number one:  people (young and old) who ever utter the words, “I am bored”.  And two:  people (old and young) who say, “I don’t know” about something.

It used to be you’d go to the library, or crack open your shiny new set of encyclopedias to figure out the answer to things you didn’t know. Now you can hang upside down in your pyjamas and google it.

My point here is that there is no reason why people, especially children, cannot self-educate, when the need arises.  It is not complicated, and yet every day I see people who rather claim the ‘I have no idea’ card than get up and find an answer on their own.

Personal example.  My daughter, who recently turned nine, has been assigned several projects this year involving different types of technology. Many things I had never heard of, some things I am vaguely familiar with.  So when she came home the other day and announced that she wanted to try doing her latest project as a PowerPoint, I thought hmmm…this is an opportunity for both of us to learn.

For whatever reason, I have never had to do complicated PowerPoint presentations.  Anyhow, I told her how to Google it.  She was mesmerized and tickled pink that she could figure this out herself.  She was so enthralled that she ended up voluntarily doing a March Break diary on PowerPoint and loving every minute of it.  Once I showed her that she could google it, I left and let her figure it out.  When I came back 30 minutes later she could not wait to teach me what she learned. And then I was mesmerized!  The feeling of empowerment that it gave her was priceless.  While I realize I may one day live to regret telling her, ‘you can google anything’ — for now it served an important purpose.

Anyhow, it is an interesting lesson for parents and children alike.  In a world where self-education has never been more prominent or easier, it is important for all of us to do it, find a solution and execute on it.

You can teach an old dog new tricks, and you can also teach a new dog old tricks — think independently, seek an answer and don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know.




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