Learning from conversations

By Theophilous Chiviru

Many people believe in learning from their mistakes and previous encounters with situations and events. Some people believe that this is why people make mistakes so that they learn about life, about human resilience, about human frailty. And you can see them sometimes, searching for that lesson; they ask probing questions, they try to make connections.

But I have learnt through the Fredskorpset (FK) initiative that there is more exposure in listening and conversation. The FK exchange programme and preparation course stimulates a learning process for individuals, not from themselves and their experiences, but from those of others. The interaction of minds of conflicting backgrounds transfers information, creating a mind that is open-minded and receptive to other people’s viewpoints.

Though it is true that age and the accumulation of experiences accompanies vast knowledge, better understanding of life and its aspects, I have learned through the FK programme that young people too have many things they can teach each other, such as about new environments, the fast-moving world and its changing traditions and cultures.

The exchange process has demonstrated to me that young people in a resourced environment do improve individual and community performance and motivation when engaged in meaningful learning and conversation opportunities. The experience has proven that life is a continual process of circular learning from our own and other’s experiences, trials and triumphs. You never know from whom you are going to learn. I now believe the key to lifelong learning is having a student mindset, which allows conversations to teach us at any given opportunity while we are open to new ideas and possibilities. Part of being human is to learn from one another. Knowledge, skills, and even philosophy are passed on not only from generation to generation, but from culture to culture.
When I graduated from college, I thought that I was done with learning. I really thought I knew all that I needed to know and was ready to move on into adulthood and become the person I was supposed to be. The FK programme has taught me that the entire world and its inhabitants is a huge resource for learning and that I can take part in this great collaboration of knowledge. I am excited that everywhere I go, and every person I come across, has the potential to expand my perspective and add to my knowledge in some way. Yes, lessons are waiting for us just about everywhere – we just need to take notice.

Theo Chiviru is Idasa’s FK Participant at TRC-Lesotho

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One Response

  1. […] American Thinking; Negative Impact of behaviorism; Circular Learning; Learning From Conversations; Circularity […]

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