Reading as Learning: Learning through Instruction and Discovery

Image: Shutterstock
Getting more information is learning, as well as understanding what you didn't understand before. However, there are important differences between these two types of learning. Getting information mean simply knowing that something is a fact. Understanding means knowing, plus, knowing why it happened, what is the relation with other facts, in what ways they are same, in what ways they are different, and so on.

To prevent this misconception (reading a lot is like reading well) we need to distinguish between types of learning. This difference greatly affects all reading activities and the relationship between reading and education.

In the history of education, people often distinguish between learning through instruction and learning through discovery. Instructions occur when someone teaches others through speech or writing. However, we can get knowledge without being taught. If not, and if all teachers must be taught first what they teach to students, there will be no knowledge. Therefore, there must be discovery, namely the process of learning something by researching, investigating, and pondering without being taught.

The relationship between discovery and instruction is the same as the relationship between learning without help and learning with the help of others. In these two situations, learning activities occur within the learning person. It is wrong to assume that discovery is active learning and instruction is passive. There is no learning that is not active, like there is no reading that is not active.

To explain that difference, we refer to instruc- tors as "finding with help." Without going too far into the learning theories of psychologists, it is clear that teaching is a special art, like the other two arts: medicine and agriculture. Doctors can do things for their patients, but in the end, patients themselves must improve, be healthy.

This difference is similar to being able to remember something and be able to explain it. If you remember what the author said, you have learned something from him. If what the author said is true, you have even learned something about the world. But, whether it's the fact about the text or the facts about the world that you have understood, what you get is nothing more than information if what you practice is only your memory. You have not accepted enlightenment. You get enlightenment only at the moment, in addition to know what the author describes, you know what the author mean and why he said it.

Of course it's true, that you have to remember what the author said to know what he meant. Getting information is a condition for understanding, but the point is do not to only getting information.

Montaigne said, "Illiterate people ignore the alphabet, and educated people ignore understanding." The first is people who ignore the alphabet, they cannot read at all. The second is a person who read many books or texts without understanding them correctly.

As Alexander Pope said, they are "stupid readers", reading incorrectly. There are always readers who are not good, educated people who read a lot but don't read well. The Greeks have a combination term between reading and ignorance like that called Sophomores.

To prevent this misconception (reading a lot is like reading well) we need to distinguish between types of learning. This difference greatly affects all reading activities and the relationship between reading and education.

In the history of education, people often distinguish between learning through instruction and learning through discovery. Instruction occur when someone teach others through speech or writing. However, we can get knowledge without being taught/given a lesson. If not, and if all teachers must be taught first what they teach to students, there will be nothing knowledge. Therefore, there must be discovery, the process of learning something by researching, investigating, and pondering without being taught.

The relationship between discovery and instruction is the same as the relationship between learning without help and learning with the help of others. In these two situations, learning activities occur within the learning person. It is wrong to assume that discovery is active learning and instruction is passive. There is no learning that is not active, like there is no reading that is not active, all reading are active reading.

Without going too far into the learning theories of psychologists, it is clear that teaching is a special art, like the other two arts: medicine and agriculture. Doctors can do things for their patients, but in the end, patients must be healthy themselves.

Likewise teachers, they can help students in various ways, but students must learn themselves. Knowledge must grow in the minds of students themselves. The difference between instructive learning and observetive learning - or between finding and being helped and finding without help - is mainly concerned with the difference in the material being studied. When given instructions -find with the help of teachers- students respond to something that is conveyed to them. They respond to lessons, written or oral. They learn by reading or listening. It should be noted here the close relationship between reading and listening. If we ignore the small differences between these two ways of communicating, we can say that reading and listening is the same art - art to be taught. However, when students learn without any help from the teacher, they learn about nature or the world, not discourse. Such learning rules underlie finding without help. If we use the word "reading" in the broad meaning, we can say that discovering, to be exact without help, is the art of reading nature or the world as well as instruction (receiving teaching, or finding assisted) is the art of reading books or the art of learning from discourse.

How about thinking? If what we mean by "thinking" is to use the mind to gain knowledge or understanding, and if learning with and without help is a way of gaining knowledge, thinking must be done on both activities. We must think while reading and listening. We also have to think when researching. Usually, this type of thinking activity is different - like the difference between the two ways of learning.

Many people think that thinking is more related to research and discovery without help because they think that reading and listening can be done relatively without effort. It may be true that a person think less when he read for information or entertainment than when he tries to find something. This type of reading is indeed less active. But that assumption does not apply to the type of reading that is more active -reading to understand. No one who has read this way will say that this way of reading can be done without thinking.

Thinking is only one part of learning activities. Someone must be also use the sense and imagination. He must observe, remember, and imaginatively. Again there is a tendency to emphasize the role of this activity in the process of finding without help and forgetting or minimizing its role in the process of receiving instruction by reading and listening.

For example, many people assume that although a poet must use imagination in writing poem, the reader does not need to use his imagination when reading the poem. In fact, the art of reading includes all the skills that exist in the art of finding without being helped: good observation, reading memory, imagination, and of course, intelligence is trained in conducting analysis and reflection. The reason, reading is a discovery too - even with help, and without help.

Reference: Mortimer J. Adler & Charles van Doren, How to read a Book: The Classical Guide to Intelligent Reading, 1972.

Iklan Atas Artikel

Iklan Tengah Artikel 1

Iklan Tengah Artikel 2

Iklan Bawah Artikel