Sunday, July 15, 2012

Teaching Difficulties: 4 Reasons why People Don’t Want to Learn

4 reasons people may not appear to want to learn:
  1. Pride - They don’t think they need to learn anything – This is the one that frustrates us the most, and it’s the one we accuse people of the most. It’s true, arrogance is common in leadership, but it can also rear it's head amongst those who need to be led. Many leaders feel they are in a position because they are the only ones who could do the job. Everyone around them may know that’s not true, but they can’t see it. They don’t care to learn from others, because they aren’t willing to admit or see they have anything to learn. Sometimes those who still have much to learn are too proud to admit it.
  2. We don't know what we don't know - They don’t know they need to learn anything – It may sound similar, but this is a different reason. It isn’t arrogance than causes this one, but rather ignorance. We’ve all been there at times. Many times we assume that we know the answers already. It isn’t because we were not interested in learning more, it's just that we didn’t know there was more to learn and the older we get the more we realize how much we don’t know yet. Some of that comes with maturity and age. Some of it comes with experience, but, many times we don’t think we need to know anything more because we just don’t realise the shortcomings in what we believe we know.
  3. Credibility - They don’t want to learn from you – This is a hard one for leaders to accept, but it’s actually quite common. It could be a relational issue or a positional issue…it might simply be a personality clash, but for whatever reason, it keeps them from desiring to learn from you. If you are a parent of teenagers, you will know that your kids are good at learning more from others than they do from you. You can welcome appreciate the people who provide positive advice. We have all worked with leaders who are supposed to be leading us, but in fact, we knew more about a subject than they. It takes a very humble or enlightened person to learn from those you’re supposed to be leading. Allow your people to learn from whatever sources they prefer, as long as they're accurate.
  4. Learning styles -Maybe they want to learn on their own – There’s nothing wrong with this, as long as they remain approachable and open i.e. teachable. In fact, as long as your people are learning and progressing they should be encouraged in every way. Some of the best lessons in life come from simply trying something and perhaps you succeed or perhaps you come near to failure. Give people the freedom to explore their environment independent of you. Support them in their efforts and give them permission to fail and a license to succeed. It will help them, you and any organisation you are attached to, to grow and develop in ways you could not imagine.
We all are aware that you can’t teach someone who doesn’t want to learn.

That’s why the best leaders, teachers, parents etc. spend more time motivating the learner than they do teaching them.

In the book “Switch”, authors Dan and Chip Heath call it “motivating the elephant”. If you, as a leader, desire people to learn from you, first motivate them so that they really want to learn.

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