I Believe that Learning is Inherently Social

Most of us remember many lessons we learned from others in our early childhood, both in the home and outside. We then started school and learned from teachers, but also by watching, playing, and talking with our friends. As we grew, lessons in school became more complex and required more time for homework. It may have been done alone or with others, but the social connection was still strong: teachers directed and facilitated the learning, and we often shared answers or talked about homework with peers. It may even be difficult to remember any single childhood milestone that didn’t involve someone else pointing the way, showing us how, sharing insight, or encouraging us.

This is not to say that everything we know or can do was learned socially. We may read a book and strive to find our own meaning. We may follow a manual to effect a repair we’ve never attempted before. And there’s little doubt that most of us would learn survival skills if stranded on a deserted island. This is experiential learning; in these cases it’s happening without deliberately interacting with others.

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