Catch yourself learning


I’ve recently been preparing for my teenage son to return to school. Not that I need to do much other than ensure his school uniform still fits (highly unlikely) and check that we have plenty of pens for him to lose (will we ever learn there are never enough?).
If I’m honest, I used to dread returning to school. I never seemed to get it quite right for my teachers and no matter how hard I tried, I struggled with some subjects that I now know I’m quite capable of learning. 
Over the years I’ve realised that learning is a funny old thing. We all learn in different ways; reading, listening, doing, tasting, asking, watching, researching, reflecting. There are so many ways to learn and frankly we don’t often notice or recognise that we have actually learned something new at all; the moment just passes us by.
I used to work in a team where we would consciously learn from our mistakes. Team members were quite open to admitting mistakes and would share the situation with the team so we could all learn. There was even a weekly award for the most valuable or funniest mistake! I guess it’s no surprise that the award often sat on my desk.
We also got into the habit of noticing when we had learned something new. It took several months to get into this habit and the results were fabulous.   A better way of formatting a spreadsheet, a quicker way of setting up an event; these would be noticed and then shared with the rest of the team. Over time we became a learning team and were amazed by what we discovered and how often we were learning – simply because we began to take notice.
Do you ever catch yourself learning?   If not, give it a go. 



    Perhaps something in the garden has taught you something about yourself?



    Perhaps a friend or colleague has said something that turned a light bulb on in your mind – a penny has dropped!



    Perhaps a passage of scripture has come to life in a new way, challenged you?



If you do catch yourself learning, what are you going to do with it? 
Well, you’ve already achieved the first step – noticing it. Perhaps you could also try and capture it in some way, write a note in a journal, scribble a note in your bible, draw a picture, write a limerick! 
The options are endless, but first we need notice the learning.  Most of the time, we will learn tiny (but no less precious) things. Other times we might have life changing discoveries.
Go on – surprise yourself! Catch yourself learning something new every day. You’ll be amazed!
Ann Howlett-Foster
District Training Officer



Ann Howlett-Foster, 25/09/2009