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Becoming a Sponge for Learning Again

As a child, you were constantly exploring your environment, discovering and learning new things, actively seeking learning opportunities, such as having an adult read you a book, learning how to walk, learning to turn on the TV, finding your favorite cartoons and asking that universal question -- "Why?" Your mind was a sponge, soaking up everything without a formal teacher or classroom situation.

You were an aggressive learner. You didn't wait; you couldn't wait for a formal presentation from a teacher. For example, you learned how to speak one of the more difficult languages, English, before you ever set foot in a classroom. One of the reasons you were so aggressive and eager to learn was that no one had yet instilled in you the fear of failure, nor had you ever been intimidated by having to take a test. You were totally uninhibited as a young child.

This enthusiasm for learning followed you to kindergarten and possibly up through the fourth or fifth grade. Then the dreaded disease known as adolescence set in, and you underwent some major physical and emotional changes that would forever change you as an individual and a learner.You probably would never again be the aggressive learner that you were as a child.

You now became a passive learner as a young adult. Your aggressiveness turned into reaction. Seldom did you seek out new learning activities. You now waited for a teacher to instruct you, assign homework, administer tests and give you a grade, which was a measurement of what you had learned -- or was it a measurement of what the teacher believed he or she had taught? Tests, grades and fear of failure now became your "motivation" for learning.