Foreword: After teaching for some years now, I have been reflecting a lot on learning -- in terms of both speed, as well as our attitudes towards it.
Children seem to have this determination to want to do their best. the
younger they are, the more they want it. It could be for praise, for
ego-boosting, for happiness, for the love of the teacher, for the love
of the activity, for personal satisfaction, for self-worth. Whatever
the reason...it does them good.
Why do we slowly lose it as we get older? Do we get more used to
failure? Do we accept that we cant do some things? Why cant we know that
we have our limits, and yet still strive for the best?
There was once when i was teaching a primary 1 class. We were doing stretching. Some girls were struggling.
One big mouth said "I cant do it!"....and I could see the rest of them
slowly starting to give up and telling me that they also couldnt do
I had to do some crowd control: "There's no such thing called 'I cant
do it'....there's only a thing called I'll try my best"...."I'm not
expecting you to get a perfect split today...all I want to see is that
you try your best....so...dont say can't....say try".
They perked up a little.
I asked them, "so...what should you say??"
The cute little things replied, "try"
Sometimes as I teach adult classes, I do see the look of determination
in some. And yet...there are others who give in too readily. We think
that we're too old to learn new things. We sometimes sign up for courses
with the mindset that we are trying things out...and will accept fate
if we turn out not being able to do well in it....get discouraged, and
Why do kids keep going for classes every week, trying so hard to please
the teacher and their parents (and themselves)? They (and their
parents) know it's gona take a long time to be a good dancer or
musician or karate-master....and they may not even become one at the
end of it. I'm not saying that all grown ups don't have
determination....its just that I feel that a lot of us get defeated
just by the thought of "age". Cant we also just keep trying for more
than 10yrs? Or are we seeking instant results...and when it doesnt
happen, we give up?
Ahhh...and the last thing this reflection leads to: is the process or the end more important?