Paying To “Learn to Run”

Yesterday, went out for a nice bike ride. Beautiful weather, wind at my back and then baam! a flat. So I had to walk my bike home.

The benefit of this was that I could slow down, think, become more aware of my surroundings. One thing I noticed was a poster tacked to a telephone pole. It read: Trail Running Clinic: Come Learn to Run Trails. blablabla $40.00.

I almost fell over laughing. What people will pay for these days! $40 and it wasn’t even on a trail. Rather, meeting in a shop! Yes, pay money, sit down and listen to someone make this very simple thing into something very intricate, difficult and only for the “knowledgeable”. Oh, me. Oh my!

Why learn to trail run? Why not just get out on the trails and let experience do the talking. Why not “just do it”? It’s cheaper. Why pay for something that you can do of your own accord? Experience is after all, the best teacher. Why pay for something natural and “god given” (running, learning)?

In teaching and learning (education), we should pay for the possibility to learn. That means we pay for internet access, we pay (through taxes) for libraries, we pay services that enrich content for learning or for access to places (online and off) that allow us to “experience” and learn. We don’t pay for knowledge itself – no matter how sugarcoated or presented in the form of an expert. No matter how broken down and butchered into technical terms, language and lingo. We are fooling ourselves into thinking we are learning when we allow the responsibility to learn, to be placed into the bucket of “just being there with it (an expert)” and not “experiencing it (the learning itself)”.

Enjoy your summer day. I just thought it worth sharing this metaphor – one to ponder. Would you pay to attend an in store clinic on trail running? Would you pay to listen to an “expert” speak about learning English?

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy reading: The Spirit of Education.

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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