One of the most thought provoking questions came from Boudin’s article when her students asked “What can we do with everything we are learning?” (p.222). Isn’t that the question we all ask ourselves every week? How can we apply what we are learning to our respective work? It can be so difficult to bridge the gap between the theoretical and the application. I am looking across a country filled with theory X students, yet I desperately want to bring them into theory Y. It comes up for me on a weekly basis. In fact, someone asked me today to fix all of the new hire classes for the call center, so that they aren’t so process oriented, but reflect the principles of adult learning. How can I flip the model of learning to take what we do in this class, where we read/review and process materials and then come to class to discuss, and apply it to a call center? Or apply the principles of adult learning to the branch environment? Neither of my audiences is actively interested in learning. I realize the same holds true for most children in the school system as well, so this is not a unique problem.
The participants in Boudin’s correctional facility class and in Precious’ class weren’t actively seeking knowledge either. Yet, in both examples, they ultimately found their personal reasons to want to learn. And they made it their own, either through journaling or through the creation of a play on AIDS. Their ability to internalize what they were learning and make it meaningful was a sign of a successful learning experience. However, I can’t make banking or procedures to support federal regulations personal, so these specific tactics won’t work, but I will keep searching for inspiration.
The other question that surfaced while I was reading Michelson's article on self-narration is "do you know who you are?" She doesn't ask it outright, but writes around the question. Do you have to be self-aware to write about your experiences to define them as action learning? She makes a leap of faith in her writing that gives a certain amount of credit that action learning is an automatic experience. Many personal accounts can be captured on the page without true understanding. Do we really think that everyone in our society grows from their experiences? Or do they simply make the same mistakes over and over without learning the lesson? Do they get to a certain point and just hit a plateau? Or perhaps the patterns and therefore the learning happens after the words are on the page. Maybe it is in the combination of reflection, distance and time where the true learning occurs.