I just finished reading a 100-page book for class titled Learning and Teaching for Exponential Growth by Susan Peterson Gong.
Despite the awful design of the cover, this is actually a good book.
Summary (aka Observations):
Basically, it is the research of Mormon psychologist Walter Gong, and the people who have built upon and validated his educational theories. Some of his theories include:
- Everyone is a teacher and a learner.
- It takes at least three people to teach and learn effectively (Person 1 hasn’t taught effectively/real learning hasn’t taken place until Person 2 can teach Person 3).
- Love is essential in the teaching/learning process.
- If the teaching and learning is done correctly, then it should be a memorable, joyful experience, and foster the desire for life-long learning.
- This method is not easy, but it is worth the time and effort that is put into it.
My Review (aka Analysis):
Although at the beginning of the book I felt like some of the concepts went over my head/were not explained well/didn’t apply to me as much, I found the overall message of the book to be very inspiring, and the last chapter particularly applicable to me. Not all the parts made sense as I was reading it, but it all came together in the end. And this might be weird to say about a book on educational philosophy, but I just knew it was right. Probably because I have seen examples of his theories work in my own life.
Here are two examples:
“Teachers learn how to create experience for others. They shape time and space to create environments and moments that help others grow into their possibilities.” (64)
While I have had many good teachers that have helped me “grow into my possibilities,” I had one teacher during my senior year of high school that really made me see my possibility for perfection. He always made me try my hardest. If I got even one question wrong on a test, he would tell me I didn’t try hard enough and that I could do better the next time. Although I could have responded negatively to my failure and just shut down, because I knew that he genuinely cared for me and each of his students, it made me want to improve (even if it was just to spite him).
On how Stephen and Sandra Covey raised their children: “Learning and teaching together became part of their fundamental way of interacting. It’s no wonder that Stephen Covey can point with pride to the shared values, the spiritual commitment, and the emotional well-being of all of his nine children.” (100)
I consider myself very lucky to have grown up in a home similar to that of Stephen Covey’s. My family always had FHE and we always ate dinner together, just like in Stephen Covey’s home. My parents always asked us what we learned in school (Although, I don’t think it was as structured as the Covey’s home). As we got older, our dinner table conversation would often revolve around some mathematical trivia, or science phenomenon, or weird Spanish vocabulary. We are always telling each other “Fun Facts.” It really is our fundamental way of interacting. And I think my parents can also point with pride to the “shared values, spiritual commitment, and emotional well-being” of all of their six children. It’s cool to see how little things like FHE and eating meals together can really make a big difference and turn us into life-long learners.
There are a lot of things I want to do now, but I think I want to start by showing my love to others more often. I like the quote in the book that says we get more love by giving it away. I will try harder to love people more, but also to love learning more. And I will do that by serving others more often and without reservation, and by really caring about my homework and trying to look at the big picture for why I am learning it.