Ready for the third part of our How to Learn series? In this article, we are looking at a more social aspect of the learning process. Learning together is not only more fun, but it can also be more inspiring, motivating and give you a broader perspective than if you are doing it alone.
There are many ways to learn together with others. You are probably all familiar with classroom learning or workshop settings. What we’ll look at here is learning from a mentor and learning together with peers.
Learning from a Mentor
Life is big and full of mysteries. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin and how to proceed if you’re venturing out into unknown waters. However, chances are high that someone has already been on the path you’re following. Getting someone experienced onboard to cheer you on and guide you can help make your path a lot straighter and on point. Your learning experience is sure to become more focused and in-depth with a mentor. So how do you find one?
How To Find A Mentor
Mentors come in different shapes and sizes. Here is some inspiration for the types of mentors you can go looking for:
- you can research people who are experts in the field that you are learning about and simply reach out to them via email or LinkedIn perhaps. You’d be surprised by how willing strangers are to help young people asking for guidance. We do this all the time during our programs, so the pirate teams can get the support they need for developing their projects.
- you can join our Global Peer MentorSHIP program and have a cool mentor from our community to help you figure out life for half a year. More information about that here.
- you can read books from experts and use them as mentors in a more indirect way. In this way, even authors who lived way before your time can become your mentors. Stand on the shoulders of the people who have come before you, even if they’re no longer alive. You don’t have to journey alone.
The most amazing thing about having a mentor is how they help us look beyond our own narrow vision of the world. They help us gain perspective and guide us to make mindful and conscious decisions about how we want our life to be. They give us a broader understanding of the world and show us perspectives we would never have thought of ourselves. They broaden our horizons in so many ways.
Learning from Peers
You don’t have to be experienced nor an expert in order to support others in their learning journey. Your peers can teach you as much as a mentor can, although in different ways perhaps. They still have other perspectives and understandings to share. In addition, they provide you with motivation and company on the sometimes difficult journey of learning something new.
Two of the best way to learn is through exploring and experimentation. Learning should be embodied or experiential if you want it to have a real impact on you. Exploring together with others who are in the same position and on the same knowledge level as you makes it easier and more fun. None of you are experts so you can make mistakes and create a safe learning environment together.
What is so awesome about learning in a group is that we all have different ways of learning and different strengths and weaknesses. Some might be visual learners, others auditory, and another group kinesthetic. Some might be really good at structuring ideas and keeping the bigger picture in mind, while others might be more detailed focused, or more creative in their learning approach. Because of these differences, we can complement each other and deepen our learning journey.
How To Create A Learning Environment
To create a good environment for learning, it’s a good idea to start with the following tips:
- create a learning goal or intention together (you can find more about that topic here!)
- talk about preferred learning styles
- discuss personal strengths and weaknesses
In this way, you know where you are heading, which skills you have access to, and which challenges you might face as a team.
Learning and Teaching
There is a close connection between learning and teaching, between being a leader and a follower. You get the best results if you’re good at both. So if you’re learning in a social environment – either with a mentor or with peers (or perhaps with both) – it helps to see yourself in both roles. You are both the student, learning from the people and the environment around you, and the teacher, helping other people to learn through your perspectives, your thoughts, your questions. Be confident in those roles, pirate! You give as much as you get and get as much as you give. Never be afraid to share what’s occupying, exciting, or confusing you. It may be an enormous help to other people.