In Die Lernwerkstatt we learn to learn. But what does that even mean?

The first time I came across the expression “learn to learn“ was in Heinz von Foerster's book “Der Anfang von Himmel und Erde hat keinen Namen“ (The beginning of heaven and earth has no name).

Von Foerster says (and I paraphrase, since the book is in German):

Primarily, it is crucial to recognize, that I can learn to learn. Such a concept, that I can see a learning possibility in learning itself, allows for a whole new perspective on the difficulty of learning something. 

He goes on to say:

When I learn to learn, my participation reaches a much higher level. Suddenly, I develop an idea of why I'm doing this all in the first place, why I want to learn this, why this is all happening, etc.

The “why“ that drives the learning process is fundamentally important. For example, it baffles me that I can spend 12 years in school studying math, but at no point is it a priority to answer the questions: “Why am I even studying this?“ “Why do I need math?“

Questions are fundamental tools for learning. In Die Lernwerkstatt our learning guides use the so-called coyote-method. This method is used to encourage learning through enthusiasm and joy. Students are encouraged to come up with and try their own solutions in order to overcome challenges. Learning becomes an active and playful process. The most helpful tool of a learning guide is a skillfully posed question.  These questions encourage students to play with their thoughts and acquire knowledge through experiences. They develop the ability to think divergently and to create relations, which can only be created using their own, unique perspective.

Learning to learn also means developing a feeling for your own learning habits and then implementing the right learning techniques. A major advantage of Die Lernwerkstatt is the diversity of our learning guides. We come from completely different backgrounds, such as
engineering, political science, art history, etc. Therfore we are skilled in a wide spectrum of learning techniques. However, our priority is to guide students and allow them to make their own experiences, and thereby develop their own learning techniques. We are learning guides, not teachers who primarily want to transfer knowledge.

Albert Einstein, who not only initiated the greatest scientific revolution of the 20th century with his theory of relativity, but who was also a spirited philosopher, once said: 

Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the
mind to think.
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