Learning, eLearning, and Unlearning

A Coat Rack For Knowledge

A Coat Rack For Knowledge

Front page, Learning, eLearning, and Unlearning
Yes, I know it has become fashionable to look down on history --along with the rest of the humanities-- as a form of glorified navel-gazing. We live in the present, and the past is in the past: there’s nothing we can do to change it, so why bother (besides, we can always google whatever date we happen to need); we should be looking forward, not backwards; and so on, but I am here to tell you that, if used properly, history --or something close to it-- can be one of the most powerful tools in your mental toolkit... you just have to learn to think about it in a different way. (more…)
When Words Get in the Way (or how NOT to fail at learning a foreign language)

When Words Get in the Way (or how NOT to fail at learning a foreign language)

Front page, Learning, eLearning, and Unlearning
A huge jumble of bricks does not a house make. That, I believe, is a statement we can all agree on. It is also a good explanation of why is it that most attempts at mastering a foreign language tend to fall short. In a nutshell, we tend to think of words as the building blocks of language, and when trying to master a foreign one our first instinct is to try to gather as many of those blocks as we can. In some instances that is not a bad idea. In others it is a recipe for disaster. The reason is simple enough: different languages are different, but they are not all different in the same way. If the language you are trying to master is close enough to your native one, then that words first approach may work, even if it leaves you with a few unusual linguistic quirks, but the farther afield...