Thursday, 11 February 2016

Learning - Hitch Hiking The Long And Winding Road

When I was a teenager I hitch hiked around Europe - I didn't have any money money but wanted to explore and have an adventure. I didn't; want to be a tourist - wanted to experience the journey and not just treat it as a way to get to places. Being a native English speaker was an advantage of course because everyone else speaks English but I wanted a richer and more authentic experience - to learn about places from the inside - I wanted to try and interact with people on their terms, using their language and to learn at least a little of the languages of the countries I visited. I remember wondering what the quickest, simplest and easiest way might be .... there not being smartphones and Google translate back in the 1970s! What I decided to do was to learn how to ask one short question in the language of the countries I visited - I learned to say "How do I say in [language]" where language was the language of the country I was in. I thought that asking a question would be the best way to learn and asking this one general question meant that I could apply it in a lot of circumstances - I could hold up an object or point to things or I could act out\mime something. I was surprised how effective this was - people appreciated my effort to speak with them on their terms (in their language) and were eager to help and talk. The interesting thing was that I would often share learning - when I asked how to say something in their language they would often ask how to say it in English.

When you are hitch hiking you take the opportunities that you can - you are rarely able to get directly to where you want to go but you might get a lift in the approximate direction -you end up discovering people, places and things.

While hitch hiking I came to appreciate the long and winding road of learning -  I came to appreciate the serendipity and the moment - how one thing leads to another and how its best to learn things "in the moment" as they things occur - when the context, circumstances and motivation is there.

This was long before the Web and of course but the essence of the web was in my experience of hitch hiking and learning - I was surfing connections.

This was long before connectivism of course but the essence of connectivism  was in my experience of hitch hiking - I was experiencing the vitality of social interaction in learning.

This was long before I came across decentralised notions in education and economics but the essence of my experience of hitch hiking was peer to peer and the sharing economy.

Learning: appreciate the journey - not just the destination.

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