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The opening Chapter of the book Great Lies We Live By (1994) provides a different perspective on my interest in learning strategies and school.

This book is still a best seller and is only available through my office here in Australia. A copy can be sent anywhere in the world.




"Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe."

H G Wells

I have been on stage for nearly twenty years teaching audiences of all ages and all backgrounds. Although I started as a computer design engineer and trainer for the U.S. Army, twists of fate have led me to the forefront of the fields of learning theory and learning technology.

I realised very early that my students' results depended more on my ability to be flexible as a trainer than on their intellect. I wasn't educated in traditional teachers' colleges, so I didn't know that some should succeed and others should fail. I expected all of my students would learn - and they did. If a student was having difficulty, I naturally looked to myself as the source of confusion. Having expected to find the trouble there, that's where it was found.

My own experience of school was a mixture of ups and downs. I had teachers I liked and subjects in which I performed well, and some I didn't. My experiences seemed similar to those of my friends. We all did well enough to sense we would be promoted at the end of the year. The problems I encountered in school had little to do with content of my courses, but instead had to do with school's invisible curriculum - the values, beliefs and behaviour of my teachers and fellow students. School experiences, and the people we meet there, play a role in determining how we will later interpret life's experiences. I was unusual in that I did not learn these hidden lessons well. If I had, I do not believe I would have the life I have today.

After twenty years of studying learning in people and teaching thousands of students about learning effectively, I believe most will benefit from a re-evaluation of what they learned at school.


Dispelling the myths

Many of the problems of mass education have been created and perpetuated by centuries-old myths about learning and the brain. Recent technology has dispelled some of the myths and helped us to construct a new image of the human being as a learning system - but that same technology has created new myths of its own.

In 1983 I made a personal commitment to understanding what could be understood about process of learning-to find the strategies and beliefs that would support competent, effective learning for 100 per cent of my students, regardless of their educational history, 100 per cent of the time, in any subject. I believe people have been educated to be forgetful about successes and to remember well the failures. My students didn't seem to remember or focus on the ways in which they had succeeded as learners thousands of times over. I wanted to create strategies that made sense based on these repeated successes.


This book is based on my experience learning how to learn

The book is based on the work I do teaching people about learning. In my audience, I may have 15-year old street kids and 40-year-old PhD students. There may be an owner of a small business, the director of a big one, clerks, salespeople and computer engineers, a smattering of teachers, professors and parents. I even have my share of grandparents and retired people.

At the end of a weekend seminar, they can all read more words per minute and have better comprehension than when they arrived. They have learned how to juggle and how to make important information memorable.

They have remembered what it was like to be a learner and have discovered the strategies for becoming an effective learner. They have laughed, sung, moved and sighed. They learned about the myths they learned in school. Some realise that they'd been lied to all along by parents, teachers and peers. Many go on, with a confidence they previously didn't possess, to achieve their goals and dreams. But this is not where they begin.



Great Lies We Live By


CCS Advanced Skills for Training Professionals The Emotional Experience of the Adult Learner Learning To Learn Guitar Move Closer Stay Longer Great Lies We Live By

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