A few days ago, I was reading a paper that was describing teaching as a contemplative profession. In this paper, the author advances the argument that awareness of learning, both personally and professionally, is an essential feature of effective and mindful teaching practice. The author also went a step further to convey that the awareness of awareness of learning is an important point for authentic reflective, conceptualization, and operationalization of teaching and learning practice.
The idea of being aware of one’s awareness of learning caught my attention. What does this mean?
Being aware means attending to new information.
Being aware means noticing the changes in an environment.
Being aware means focusing on the internal and external changes simultaneously.
Being aware refers to adopting an active orientation towards personal/professional growth.
Reflecting upon this concept, I strongly believe that to be an effective educator, an awareness of learning is not enough, and must be supplemented with an awareness of awareness of learning.
How does this relate to schooling vs. education?
I believe that by overlapping the role of school with that of education has blinded many of us to fixate on the awareness of learning. We focus on metrics, standards, and learning objectives as measures of our learning. We are definitely aware of progress and changes to test grades. But are we aware of our awareness to learning? I do not think so because if we were, we would soon realize that schooling does not equate to education, and education does not need to come from schooling. Why? Because an awareness of learning may give you a false perception of learning but an awareness of awareness of learning expands your view beyond standards and metrics to philosophies, orientations, values, and beliefs.
tl;dr – Awareness of awareness of learning allows us to separate schooling and education.