This series of posts looks at six vital principles for getting the most value out of your education, regardless of how you go about pursuing it.
Principle # 2: Learn to learn from books.
Among reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic, reading is by far the most important, because if you can read then you can learn the other two skills and many more besides. This principle may seem obvious, but if it were diligently put into practice it would drastically change the roles of both teacher and student. Given that the majority of the world’s knowledge is stored in books, and that most of the rest is written about or otherwise available online, teachers have no business spoon feeding knowledge to students, but instead only need to endow the inspiration and skills to seek and acquire the knowledge they need. If a focus on the ability to learn from books is maximized in the educational process, then practically all other aspects of it become obsolete.
This does not mean that there isn’t a role for teachers beyond teaching research and study skills, it just means that their role isn’t to impart knowledge. Knowledge can be gained from books, but experience can only be gained by engaging with people and activities, and this is how a teachers’s experience can be of most value, by active engagement alongside students in DOING things.
Whether you are choosing to go through formal schooling or pursue your education independently, don’t fall into passive/receptive mode. Learning is not like watching TV. Actively engage your thought process with ideas that are interesting and important, and be proactive about acquiring the knowledge you are seeking. Going through school at any level and just listening to the lectures is a massive waste of time and money.