Learning: a Continuous Process

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Brooke A. Marion 0492493
Professor: Linda Rodenburg
English 1112 WDE
16 January 2013
Learning: A Continuous Process
Learning is more than memorizing, more than regurgitating facts and information. It is about the context, the experience, of interpreting these facts and transforming them into knowledge. This, as Jeff Cobb argues, is what constitutes learning and I concur. After reading an excerpt from Charles Dickens’ novel, “Book the First Sowing” as well as one from bell hooks’ book, “Talking Back”, I felt that both authors held a similar definition of learning. For example, bell hooks’ view in regards to learning emphasizes the importance of experience and embracing one’s own cultural background and gender. She uses the power of speech and writing as examples of learning, but emphasizes that for her, learning means more than listening; it means engaging, having a voice. “It was in that world of woman talk that was born in me the craving to speak, to have a voice, and not just any voice but one that could be identified as belonging to me” (hooks 5). It is important to be a part of the learning process, not a bystander, in order for effective learning to take place. Contrastingly, Dickens’ uses a much different approach to convey this same message. Sarcastically painting a picture of a scenario in which there is teaching without learning, he sheds light on the learning process by drawing on an ineffective method of teaching; spitting out concrete facts, without reason or context. He emphasises the absence of thinking and therefore, the absence of learning. Knowing a massive amount of facts, like Mr. M’Choakumchild, but not being able to relate them to different circumstances or perspectives, renders them rather useless. As the narrator states, “If he had only learnt a little less, how infinitely better he might have taught much more” (Dickens 53). In my own experience, learning happens best when I am able to participate and relate information to...
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