Since I was a child I’ve always loved learning, but I’ve often wondered why I have. I hear often that one of the goals of a school is to ensure that students love learning, so it seems worth thinking for a moment about what it means.
I think there are at least three things that make up a love of learning, which I’ll state in the abstract for your consideration. If I have a chance, I’ll try to illustrate each if they seem to need it.
First, let it be said that learning is not the same as the honor received for learning or the pleasures that are often used to seduce students into learning. Rather.
Love is cultivated by the satisfaction of an appetite. Thus love of learning is experienced when the student actually learns something. This means,
- Perceiving a truth not previously perceived
- Recognizing a relation or connection not previously known (such as a cause or an effect)
- Recognizing a likeness or distinction not previously identified
This is not academic but human. When we experience any of these three with our own minds we feel happy, and we want more of them. When we are prevented from experiencing them or convinced that they are impossible (the definition of despair), we come to believe that we hate learning – when in fact, what we hate is being ignorant.