We at Learning, Science and Society are fascinated b y the way people learn. Don’t learn. And unlearn. Last year the UK, from where we sit now, spent £91.8 billion on education, which was 11% of its GDP*. If you add to that the amount spent on private education, professional training, all the various types of evening classes and so on, that’s a very, very great deal of money. How much value does a society get from all this spending. In a nutshell: how often does a piece of knowledge get transferred to from one person to another?
Let me give an example. Many years ago a friend of mine moved with his young family to one of the new villages springing up around the boom city of Cambridge in England (there’s that education word again). As did many, he joined the local football club: busy young executives need exercise. His team had mixed fortunes in their local league. But they tried hard, had practice every Wednesday evening, and were led by one of those enthusiastic types you find a lot in local clubs and societies. This one had made a study of football tactics and training, which he tried to impart to my friend and his teammates on Wednesday nights.
The Trainer had diagnosed that one of the reason for their bad results was a tendency to boot the ball away aimlessly in great long kicks, especially when danger threatened. There was no attempt to make passes or find a colleague: in fact it was very much the English style of the time.
The Trainer felt that the solution was close, directed passing, “playing the short ball.” And one Wednesday evening he drilled them endlessly in this. Everyone agreed; everyone bought in, as they say.
Came Sunday morning, and the first match in the new style of play. The other team kicked off, and attacked. The Centre Half of my friend’s team found the ball at his feet and in one second, BOOT, away he hoofed it to the centre circle. As if Wednesday night had not happened at all.
I hope I do not ruffle too many feathers when I assert that some central defenders are more noted for their qualities of strength and toughness rather than agility in any form. And that, as a psychological type, they form the rugged honest yeoman, don’t- waste- my -time -with- fancy- new- ideas attitude that is the bedrock of any human group. Many have even gone on to careers in management, or the Professions. Yet it must be admitted that this man seemed to have learned nothing, absolutely nothing from two hours of training. And that only three days before.
So what was going on? Why do some people learn some things, and others not? Did you have a good teacher, who made the information flow? Or did you do better in later life, perhaps in work training, where things were less academic? Did you have a difficulty to overcome? Why do girls seem to be outpacing boys? Why do some groups, especially boys, seem to despise learning?
We don’t know. We want your ideas. For us at LSS, there is no better or more interesting source of ideas than other peoples’ experiences. As the above example shows. Please contact us on the links shown, or via Facebook. We want to know
*UK Public Spending website ukpublicspending.co.uk
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