I came across this excerpt today from John Holt; a controversial education writer who helped launch a reform in the US in the 1960’s after becoming disillusioned with the schooling system.

 “Not many years ago I began to play the cello. Most people would say that what I am doing is ‘learning to play the cello’. But these words carry into our minds the strange idea that there exist two very different processes:- (1) learning to play the cello, and (2) playing the cello.

They imply that I will do the first until I have completed it, at which point I will stop the first process and begin the second. In short, I will stop the first process and begin the second. In short, I will go on learning to play until I have learned to play and then I will begin to play. Of course this is nonsense. We learn something by doing it. There is no other way.”

Of course we don’t learn something by doing it only once, we need to do it again and again until we can do it well without thinking too much. However, how often do we switch on negative tapes in our mind about how we well we can do something? How often do we try and manage other people’s expectations by actively underselling our capability? Of course people will find fault if we give them reason and that is what they will look out for and remember about us.

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