All entries for Wednesday 11 March 2009

March 11, 2009

my favourite game; about knowledge, learning, education…

I lost it again Word count: 1015 (including quotations)

Quotations are back!! Though what I'll try to do here might be something over my head (is this the right expression?)

First let's start with something that supports my previous post:The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.Thomas Berger

Let's try to ask some questions here then. In few months (or know) when they will ask us "what have you learned in your master degree?" or "What makes you different from other people?" or similar things what will be our answer? Will (are) we be satisfied with our answer?

When we will go out from here there will be people with greater knowledge or experience about, global issues, people, six sigma, product development, asset management, robust design, financial analysis or whatever we think we learned here in WMG. So what does this whole year really gives us? Well I think Paul tried to explain it to us for more than once; if I understood correctly : ) Simply things we learned from the processes we were implementing is more important the content... ?

Let's see if I'll be go deeper a bit with some quotations, there might be repetitions:

"...In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson.Tom Bodett

So true isn't it? basically it's not different from what we have been saying for a while; which is learning comes through experience ( theory of knowledge- yes Deming again). In real life even when they teach you a lesson usually it is to make you understand the test not solve it. So wouldn't it be better to learn how to solve a test and learn from it?

"Education is what remains when we have forgotten all that we have been taught”  George Savile

Again isn't that what remains is what we learned from implementing the processes? For example no one gave us a lecture about how having a output from seminars is important...

"...Learn as if you were to live forever.Mahatma Gandhi

I'm pretty sure that he talks about another aspect of learning, but I was thinking if I knew I'd live forever I would like to know more about how to learn things, because given you are in a infinite time frame what would be the percentage of time you would spend on financial analysis for example. Unless you are crazy and do analysis forever at one point you bound to feel the need to learn something else. Which taken to the limit would make the subject you selected to learn irrelevant. I’ll buy a drink to the first person who can understand this and explain to me (not joking). I'll also buy a dinner if that person watches the movie "The Man From Earth" and talks about it relating to this.

To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.Copernicus

I think this is also related to asking questions (or theory of knowledge). Basic if we can understand the limits of our knowledge we might be able to find out this that are unknown to us, but on the other hand we shouldn’t forget that there are things unknowable to us (hurray Deming again). This knowledge is the basis to start learning and creating new knowledge.

Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.Aristotle

I think here the question is about the characteristic of knowledge. Knowing how to implement DMAIC is also knowledge, but knowledge that would come from understanding it is totally different because it would be also related to PDSA, scientific methodology and so on; which also links to my previous blog, in a way. We also talked about the importance of understanding in different themes; like today in debate we said people should understand the standards so that they can go further.

Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; an argument an exchange of ignorance.”  Robert Quille

As I mentioned debate I think this is a good insight. I believe one of the reasons we had a peaceful debate today is that because we know each other to well to ignore and we also know our aim is actually exchanging knowledge.

Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.Mark Twain

I find this a funny way to look at mistakes. Actually when we create a free-to-make-mistakes environment potentially we are allowing more mistakes; it is not a problem as long as people learn from it and company didn’t go bust because of it. But sometimes though people acknowledge their mistakes they don’t really think, reflect and learn from it, do they? If we ever become a manager we should make sure they learn from it. I’m sure we might be able to find funny (and true) examples if we start to talk about relationships : )

The last part is for my own satisfaction :

Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.Oscar Wilde

If we link to above, to Aristotle, and say that they can’t teach because they haven’t understood it, and conclude “nothing worth knowing is understandable” and go on to say maybe we think those things are worth knowing because we are curious about them, as we don’t understand them and… well don’t bother with my moment of insanity; but this is what my favourite writer things (indirectly, through one of his characters):

"I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing" Neil Gaiman


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  • Thanks for the contribution Abi; I'll respect what you said about Gandhi and won't buy alcholic drin… by on this entry
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  • Very true, saying "i learned how to learn" no where enough to justify spending one year here if I ca… by on this entry
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