From Learning to Knowing

With children, we normally associate ‘learning’ to represent all activities of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviours, skills, values, attitudes, and preferences. It largely means conditioning and I am not discussing how to condition children. Rather I am trying to throw light on how knowing takes place in the mind. Conditioning is easy- be authoritative, set rewards and/or punishments for desired behaviours and make them practice. Learning can be lost as easily as it can be gained. ‘Knowing’ is different.

Pursuit of truth or knowledge comes to some of us naturally and to some not so naturally. It’s an inner drive and an intrinsic motivation to discover the truth or reality of this world. It’s a relentless pursuit and one finds solace and contentment in gaining knowledge.

Interestingly, knowing although sounds like a verb, something one does, it isn’t. On the contrary, is something that happens in itself when the conditions are right. Knowing is not the same as downloading a book in one’s mind or committing a text to memory- like I mentioned, that’s learning.

If we understand knowledge as a phenomenon that takes place in the mind rather than words that abound on the web and in texts, we will have a different quality of education altogether- one oriented towards knowing, not learning.

Largely it needs three prerequisites: a desire to know, the right mindset,  the exposure to the right object of knowledge and the employment of the right means. It cannot be forced like learning. We need to let it happen itself in the mind. It also happens at its own pace with the person actively listening, resolving conflicts and filling gaps in understanding and finally reflecting on the knowledge gained.

Knowing sticks. All we can really do is allow it to take place by exposing children to a healthy environment where they have the freedom to explore, doubt, question and seek answers. Such a place allows them to reflect. We simply have to remove the impediments and the distractions that can detract from this process.

It is this ‘knowing’ that leads to wisdom and enlightenment.

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