An Interest in Learning

One of my many side projects, or better dreams, would be to create a school, designed in a way that it would be completely unique. It would be a secondary school / high school type level.

I will not get into the details in this post, but let’s just say that it would be incredibly tough, zero nonsense, and it would teach a bunch of subjects that I deem absolutely critical for the development of young leaders, and I see none of them being currently promoted.

This premise however is just a way to introduce today’s topic, which is learning. Learning is something very exciting for me, it’s similar to traveling and discovering new land – it’s like digging in the ground and finding a treasure. How can we live without new information, new ideas? We need food and shelter, we need basic things, but even if we have the very basic covered, there is so much more that we can build from there, through learning.

Learning is basically a great adventure. It has a lot to do with reading books and talking to interesting people. Doors open when you learn, it’s as if your eyes could see farther in distance; it’s as if you were growing an extra set of arms and legs, and your mind could fly places that you didn’t even know existed. Who would not want that?

Forgive my passionate call for learning. If you love learning, it follows that you love good teachers.

Some teachers are really amazing people and they genuinely spark a fire in you – they have the power to manifest an unseen world. They are worth every penny they get and a ton more. I am not convinced that our society values teachers enough these days, and they are largely obscure and very anonymous.

A remarkable teacher that has gained notoriety in Italy, and who writes a column for the main Italian newspaper, the Corriere della Sera, is Alessandro d’Avenia. Not surprising, he is a man of God and poetry, and his interest is highly spiritual – he has a devotion for beauty and a passion to see young minds blossom. He has written many famous books in Italy – on my side I have only read What Hell Is Not (Ciò Che Inferno Non È) and I found it really good. If you are interested in real day to day heroes who stand up to the mafia in Sicily, that’s your book.

But going back to learning, I was incredibly interested to hear a conversation this week between Eric Weinstein and Lex Fridman where the topic of the dyslexic advantage was discussed, and I thought it deserved focus.

A significant percentage of children manifests issues in reading, writing and spelling, as well as ADHD, which are classified with dyslexia and learning disabilities. The education system effectively treats these kids as second class children and tries to force on them a standard teaching approach that greatly frustrates them and causes great pains.

What is less known is that dyslexia appears to have deep roots in the biology of the brain, and it’s far from being a disadvantage. Due to the distribution and the way neurons are connected in the dyslexic brain, these individuals (that clearly natural selection has deemed important to retain in the gene pool) have issues focusing on the detail and the local, but have outstanding abilities in understanding the bigger picture and finding connections. Some of the greatest scientists and engineer fall into this category.

I have just read this book that Eric Weinstein recommended, and I found it incredibly interesting: The Dyslexic Advantage.

A different set of educational tools is required and advised for kids that fall into this category. They are an incredible reservoir of idea generation and they ought to be greatly supported and invested in.

If my dreams of founding my dream school ever comes true, I will take this lesson at heart.

Categories: Books

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