Have you ever looked into the heart of a sunflower?
Take a look.
A close look.
And tell me what you see.
Sunflowers have always been my very favourite of flowers.
Ever since I can remember.
I was fascinated to discover this flower which would turn its head towards the sun all day long.
I mean how cool is that!
A smart flower!
And it didn't stop there.
As I grew up I discovered its full versatility and plethora of uses.
And then one day I discovered its heart.
Look into the heart of a sunflower and what do you see?
First you see tightly perfectly packed seeds.
And then when you look even more closely you see lines and actual spirals.
So you go and read up about it and discover those spirals are spirals of nature, following an exact pattern, an exact ratio, ensuring a maximum of seeds can safely be fitted into that exact space.
It's almost like smartness on steroids!
This exact pattern of spirals is called The Golden Angle, also known as Fibonacci, found all across nature. You can read a really cool explanation of it here, here and here.
They grow at exact angles to each other, ensuring maximum efficiency when it comes to seed production, leaf spacing and petal formations.
My question though, as I look closely into the heart of the sunflower, is how can we recreate such efficiency in our learning processes?
How can we fit all the learning processes together so we produce a maximum of results?
In this article I'm going to reveal to you one way to maximise learning output on a minimum of input.
And to do that we're going to focus in on that tiniest of components: the seed.
Exploring the concept of a seed in language learning
Recently I was talking with a group of language learners.
I had just been invited to observe their class and a new learning technique that was being tested. The premise of the technique I agreed with, but I had also observed several missed opportunities to really give the students something they could take away and use.
And just like that, I started talking to them about seeds.
You see, when we are in a learning environment, each new thing we learn can be likened to a seed.
And the more we learn, the more seeds we get.
Almost as if we are collecting seeds.
Lots of seeds.
Some of us have a pocketful of seeds, others have a sackful.
Knowledge is that seed.
And while seeds can be highly nutritious just as they are, their really beauty and worth shines only when you let them grow.
The question is: Do you want to let your knowledge remain a seed or do you want to let grow into a victorious tree, a versatile sunflower or even a mouth-watering watermelon?! :)
Most of us leave our seeds to jingle in our pocket, thinking if we work hard enough and keep collecting we will have enough to be fluent in a language.
If only I know more vocabulary. I just need more technical grammar. And then find ways to practice, practice, practice, practice…
That’s what everyone will tell you.
But what if you were to focus on what you already have and learn how to build and grow that knowledge?
Instead of having a handful of seeds, through careful, well-planned growth we can have thousands of seeds!
What's your take on the concept of seed and what would be your strategy to grow knowledge in this way?