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In short, Slow Learning
- promotes deep learning
- crosses genres, disciplines
- is grounded in the interests of the learner
- champions the pleasures of learning
- promotes inquiry and dialogue
- lasts a lifetime
- allows for authentic learning
- seeks unmediated experiences
- supports, and is supported by learning in community
Sound familiar? In many ways, Slow Learning draws inspiration from
and is joined by a movement of
Hey, Who You Calling Slow?
In no other context does the term “slow” carry a more negative charge than in education. To be labeled a “slow learner” is to be denigrated to very bottom of the achievement-hungry educational hierarchical heap. Even the Microsoft Word thesaurus offers stupid, thick, and dense as synonyms for slow. And yet, slow learning may be the best opportunity for a deep and meaningful lifelong education.
In public schools we celebrate those who catch on quickly and encourage those who learn to perform before others. We often neglect the achievement of students whose development or whose compliance with state-mandated standards is deemed by our impatient demands as behind schedule. Even worse, we label students, keep them from opportunities that encourage learning that is broader, deeper, richer. Even for students who jump through the hoops of formal education easily and quickly, the current greed for speed often cheapens learning experiences, resulting in shallow learning.
Slower learning adults, in the long run, have the advantage. An adult who learns at a slower pace, but continues to learn outside school walls, may realize opportunities that others never do. Slow learners can take on self-directed, community supported ventures in business, the arts, social justice, and other areas that may have little to do with their chosen field of specialization in school.
The intentionally slow learner controls of the pace and direction of learning. She is responsible for her own curriculum, the nature of her learning, her choice of teachers, mentors, community. She chooses and is responsible for the outcomes and the impact of her learning.