FOBISIA Online Photography and Short Film & Animation Festival
The Hunger of Learning

Mark Taitt, Principal, Secondary School

When I was younger, I owned a dog called Janho who gave birth to a litter. As the puppies started to grow, I used to see Janho teaching them not to bite, to stop fighting and to remain calm. My dog did not go to school to learn this nor did she get a degree in how to raise children. However, this teaching and learning was invaluable to the future of the pups.

Learning is not exclusive to the realm of humans or the processes of learning. I mention this because many across the world have a fixed mindset when it comes to the expectations around the mechanisms of gaining an education, or learning. School, College, Work. School, College, Work. Prescriptive pathways within fixed realms; Science, History, Geography etc. Going back to Lyceum where Aristotle founded his school of philosophy, students gleaned learning from parchments and teachers within specific disciplines. Throughout the following centuries, institutional learning followed a similar route with little acknowledgement that learning can be in many forms, from many avenues. Parents, regardless of when in history, teach children values, how to navigate the world of good and evil, and much, much more. Friends and family influence children for good or for bad either purposefully or by chance. Within the maelstrom of learning opportunities from all quarters of life, which is the most important, or which can be sacrificed?

I believe that to deem learning from any one place, person or experience as ‘the most important’ is nonsensical. All are inextricably interwoven and feed off each other. To make one more important than another diminishes their value. This reduction or absence in any one creates a vacuum and moves children to find a means to fill it. If a child does not learn about love and know how it feels, they will try to seek it and it will manifest in ways which may not be healthy. If a child misses his father or mother due to any type of absence, they will seek other means to fill this hole. This is where we come crashing into modern times. The Internet provides learning experiences across so many areas and has become, to many, the go-to place to fill the void if any exists. The Internet has the ability to be a substitute teacher, friend or even parent if one is not careful. The positives are clear, like the ability to learn anything without the actual need to go inside a physical institution, find like-minded individuals, collaborate on works, and so it goes on. The negatives can be seen in many, many news reports so there is no need to list them.

Taking into consideration everything I have laid out, what am I trying to say? The urge to learn is something that cannot be stopped. It is in-built like in any animal. Treat all experiences as true opportunities to learn. Do not try to force the purpose for any learning. Allow everyone’s learning journey be personal to them, even if this takes them into unfamiliar territories. Walk along and enjoy the journey they are following. Be there no matter what.

FOBISIA Online Photography and Short Film & Animation Festival