Debate Magazine

Tacit Learning (part 2)

By Stevemiranda

Yesterday, I wrote about the power of “tacit learning,” a notion from Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown in their book A New Culture of Learning. One particularly important aspect of tacit learning, borrowed from philosopher Michael Polanyi, is called “indwelling.”

The authors write, “Indwelling is a familiarity with ideas, practices, and processes that are so engrained they become second nature. . . . When we think about engaging the passion of the learner, we need to think about her sense of indwelling, because that is her greatest source of inspiration, but it is also the largest reservoir she has of tacit knowledge. The basketball player who knows how to shoot a jump shot has not only a greater motivation to learn about biomechanics because it might improve his game, but he also has a vast stockpile of tacit information that can help inform him of what might be good questions to ask about how to shoot a basketball effectively. It is not just that the basketball player cares more. He actually knows things and makes connections on a tacit level because for him, these are places where indwelling happens.”

When I read this, I thought of a former PSCS student named Aaron. He’s a heavy metal drummer with the goal of some day becoming a professional studio musician. Last month he presented to the PSCS community his senior project, a process that begins not with the quest for the right answer, but with an inquiry into finding out the right question. Seniors are charged with completing a senior project that is challenging, furthers a personal passion, and is completed over a long stretch of time. For many students, just figuring our what their project will be requires deep introspection. But it’s not something a teacher can do for them. The students must figure this out for themselves.

Aaron decided he wanted to build a drum kit from scratch. It took him more than six months to complete, but he did it—and the results were extraordinary. (I’ve embedded a video below, so you can see for yourself.)

And that’s exactly the point the authors are making; of course Aaron’s drum kit is extraordinary. When you start by challenging the student to craft his own question, when you engage him in an area in which he’s passionate, and allow him to utilize his vast body of tacit knowledge, indwelling happens. The personal growth that comes from this process becomes exponential.

(Join the discussion at www.facebook.com/reeducate. Get updates at www.twitter.com/reeducate.)


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • “This Diet Has Been Nothing Short of Life Changing for Me and My Family”

    Tyler has been able to truly turn his life around with a low-carb diet. Here's how he massively increased his energy levels and lost 100 lbs (45 kg) in only... Read more

    The 25 June 2017 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • New Keto Meal Plan

    Our popular low-carb meal-plan tool gives you everything you need to succeed on low carb. Meal plans, recipes and shopping lists - no planning required! Adjust... Read more

    The 25 June 2017 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • Vegan Rocket Pesto Pasta!

    Vegan Rocket Pesto Pasta!

    I harvested a lot of wild rocket in our garden hey, what to do with it? I knew that I made a previous non-vegan rocket pesto that was so delicious. Read more

    The 25 June 2017 by   Sophies Foodie
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES, VEGETARIAN & VEGAN
  • Party Saturday

    According to the calendar, summer started this past week. According to Tajikistan, summer started last month. And so by now, a month into summer, it is hot. Read more

    The 25 June 2017 by   Sherwoods
    FAMILY, PARENTING
  • Sunday Bliss Is..

    Sunday Bliss Is..

    ..baking these adorable red berry and almond blondies in this understated sunlit kitchen. Join the Read more

    The 25 June 2017 by   Myparadissi
    HOME, INTERIOR DESIGN
  • 5 Reasons NOT To Start With A Non-Profit Business

    Reasons Start With Non-Profit Business

    A common misconception I often hear in the startup world is that non-profits are easy and safe, since they don’t have to pay taxes, and they don’t have to make ... Read more

    The 25 June 2017 by   Martin Zwilling
    BUSINESS, CAREER
  • A Day at the Marvellous West Woodhay Gardeners' Fair

    Marvellous West Woodhay Gardeners' Fair

    I received an invitation the other day to go to the West Woodhay Gardeners' Fair; a quick check on the map and I thought it would make a nice day trip. I happil... Read more

    The 25 June 2017 by   Ozhene
    GARDENING, HOME