NUMBER 913 • 24 FEBRUARY • FRAGILE LEARNING POINTS
Fragile learning points
At the point where learning is just beginning and is fragile and uncertain it is sometimes very difficult to distinguish between education and therapy. A great deal of teaching/ education (perhaps too much) is concerned with 'overlearning' i.e., making certain of what has been learned tentatively already and making individuals more confident, more competent and quicker in what has been learned. Here the past is fairly confidently known. But at the growing points of learning what is brought from the past is more uncertain, anxiety is higher, and therefore the consequent achievements and rewards if we succeed are more satisfying and the consequent pain and uncertainty if we fail more intense. There is a conflict here which every educator and/or therapist has to face. It helps if the adult faces this conflict in himself fairly and squarely; it also helps if the adult recognizes the hopes and fears which the learner or patient experiences at this point and helps him to express and deal with them.
All of us suffer during fragile learning points, and learn from them at various times. The more we, as individuals, are sick or deprived, the more dependent we may be on sensitive, therapeutic, intervention in our lives. Some children in residential care will survive without damage, and gain benefit from a combination of holding, nurturing and educational `integrity' provision. Some will occasionally need minor therapy for temporary upsets. Many will need continuing therapy …
Beedell, C. (1970) Residential Life with Children, Library of Social Work., New Jersey: Humanities Press pp.65-66