I’ll admit it. School was not always a fun place to be a slow learner. Some classmates thought me dull. Some teachers considered me lazy at first, then defiant. Not doing work at an acceptable (or accelerated) pace must be direct disobedience, or so some thought.

I have been a teacher, so I understand how much easier it is if all children catch on quickly. It allows the teacher to plow through even more material at a rapid pace. However, plowing through does not equal effective learning. Quite the contrary.

The first time I made French onion soup I started by making my own bone broth. Talk about time consuming! Yet the flavor and nutrition of a sumptuous meal satisfies much longer than fast food. The same is true when time and care is taken with lessons so learners can savor the flavor of what they learn. Quality makes a greater impact on learning than quantity.

I’m glad I’m a slow learner for at least 3 reasons.

1) Slow learning makes me mentally tough. Endurance is developed by sticking with hard things. While others appear to easily be lifting 5 pound weights when learning, the load for me is more like a 25 pound weight. I can either whine about how much harder it is for me, or I can be glad I’m getting stronger.

2) Slow learning gives me a better view. The scenic route may be less efficient than the interstate, but driving on back roads gives a better understanding of the area. Perhaps this is part of the reason why some students who appear slower at learning have a deeper understanding of the big picture.

3) I’m better able to help others learn. I usually have to find the back door or side windows to access the information that others seem to easily grasp. This is helpful when working with others who don’t immediately grasp the standard explanations.

Whether you consider yourself a fast or slow learner, don’t pursue just what is easy. Embrace the challenge of learning in the areas where it is harder for you. And if you work with some slow learners—embrace them as well. Chances are good they could use some encouragement as they keep curling their 25 pound weights.


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