Friday, April 14, 2006

Question 2--Is learning social?

2. The authors, Brown and Gray , state, “First, learning is fundamentally social and second, learning about is quite different than learning to be, which is a process of enculturation.”

Take these two ideas separately, what do they mean by “learning is social?”

Is a blog social? Is a classroom automatically “social”? Why or why not?

What is “learning to be?” Give me an example of a time when you were either teaching “others to be” or “being taught to be.”

Are you being “taught to be” in this activity? Why or why not?


Liz Haynes said...

I think much of our life is dedicated to figuring out who we are, what we want to be, what we believe (values), how we make decisions (ethics),how we want to be identified, what we want to accomplish (goals), and who we want to associate with in our everyday lives. This journey of a lifetime is one that we must do internally, but we can only evaluate all of the above questions by participating in a social setting. To know if I am thinking, feeling, acting, and being genuine...I need input and interaction with people. Am I consistent in my values and ethics at school, work, home, and alone? We need people to advocate our dreams, debate our convictions, and participate in our dreams. I believe it is through the interactions with people and the relationships we build that we find self-actualization.

That being said, the knowledge that each individual seeks in life must undergoes some sort of litmus test, where we take in knowledge and decide if this is something we can use now, save for a future application, or discard it completely. We are hungry for the knowledge we can apply in our everyday lives that allows us or empowers us to be who we are.

As we seek this internal harmony, we seek realtionships for a variety of reasons -- each relationship offering a new and challenging way to perceive ourselves. Sometimes a relationship can lead to more questions than answers and make you question your own personal intent or struggles. Through this sometimes stressful process I believe culture, or norming is developed.

Therefore, a blog can be very social if the faciliator and community inspire/challenge you to "be" involved in the blog...wherein a formal classroom setting may or may not be social, depending upon the types of relationships that exist among the members. I believe the blog activities and questions posed in this format allows the participant to be social involved.

Rachelle Hollinshead said...

Liz's comments say to me that she believes learning is social. I agree because even if the initial learning is done in solitude, you must have "socialize" with others in order to question or confirm what you've learned.

My definition of "learning to be" is questioning your traditional thoughts and actions and moving to a new way of thinking and doing. In an odd sort of way, I think that's what we (Extension) are doing in our movement towards cost recovery. We are teaching "others to be" because we are moving them from their traditional thinking of "Extension is free" to the understanding that everything has a cost and that Extension does have a monetary value.

I view a blog as a social space, especially for the younger generations, although it is not my first choice for being social. I don't think a classroom is automatically "social". I think that is a personal choice. I can go in a classroom (especially in a traditional lecture format) and not interact with anyone, or I can choose to engage in the conversations that occur. However, in Extension, we stress experiential learning so it is difficult for it not to have a social atmosphere.

For me, this activity is certainly "teaching me to be" because blogging on a web site is not something I would do on my own.