Installment #5: What My Toddler Has Taught Me About Adult Learning

Installment #5 is all about books, because each and every day, Mac reminds me just how important books are. Books have become Mac’s beloved friends: they comfort him when he’s upset, they entertain him when he’s bored, they help him wake up and go to sleep, and they teach him.

We  take Dr. Seuss’s ABC book to his school to share every day (every day!), and every night we  read the dinosaur book AND the tadpole book before bed, with frequent perusals into a book that Elayna Alexandra, one of our students, illustrated and so kindly gave us called Sherman the Frog Meets the Snow Princess.

Which of these are the most reliable academic sources?

And like kids, we adults need good books to be our friends and our teachers as well.  Pam Houston’s short stories in Cowboys Are My Weakness and Wallace Stegner’s novel Angle of Repose are two books that have come to be best friends of mine: I’ve read each one numerous times and every time I do, I gain new insight into myself.  Good stories indeed, but also good learning!

Of course, adult learners also need books to help us with our course work. Though we have a lot of prior knowledge and know a lot about … well …  a lot, sometimes time in the library or a good bookstore, and with our noses in books and articles and research databases, is just what is needed to fill in the gaps.  The literature review for my dissertation was 36 pages of gap-filling, and that doesn’t count all the stuff I read that didn‘t go in the review! (For those of you who are Marylhurst students, I cannot say enough good things about the great resources and folks at Shoen Library.)

This whole book thing reminds me of one of my favorite quotes about books (to be honest, I remember it because it was one of the quotes on the wallpaper in the bathroom of the house I grew up in):

The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Oh, and that reminds me of another one of my favorite quotes about books:

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.  Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.  ~Groucho Marx

Previous installments of What My Toddler Has Taught Me About Adult Learning:

#1 – Learning Can Happen When We Challenge our Perspectives

#2 – Learning is Developmental

#3 – We Learn by Direct Experience

#4 – We Learn by Observing Others, Even If Others Are Not Experts

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11 thoughts on “Installment #5: What My Toddler Has Taught Me About Adult Learning

  1. Here’s another good quote:

    “These books are my friends, my companions. They make me laugh and cry and find meaning in life.” ~ Christopher Paolini

    It’s out of his first book, “Eragon.”

    And yes, reading is good. I finished reading “A Christmas Carol” today, and am considering writing a brief essay to answer one of the questions at the end of the book (which are provided for book clubs) during winter break just for the heck of it. 🙂

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