Learning to learn

Since last week we have been discussing some of Claxton’s articles and trying to get deeper into his theory of long-life learning and learning as a ‘learnable’ process. Claxton’s main concern is education as a means of preparing people for a life of learning in a world that is highly unpredictable and where only the resilient, the ones able to learn in a permanent way and able to apply knowledge in a number of situations will succeed in coping with the changes that are upon us.

I couldn’t agree more, but at the same time there is something unsettling about this. I do believe in the power of learning and in the principle of educating people to be better learners, better thinkers and better human beings. I just fear the point when we will all become learning machines, efficient learning mechanisms that rationalize and take the most of our cognitive and emotional selves to the point that even emotional states become cognitively deconstructed. Has Claxton realised the trap too? Has he foreseen a safeguard mechanism against that? Or is my fear rooted in literary futuristic distopias?

Even agreeing with all the principles he puts forward, there were times when I was reading his articles and when expressions such as  ‘skillful problem-solvers’, ‘ powerful learners’, ‘develop disposition’, ‘infusion approach’ almost made my fire alarm go off. There is a faint taint of conditioning and some corporatism echoes at times that make me feel quite uneasy.

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