Sunday, June 21, 2015

Einstein on Learning

I'm a fan of the website Brain Pickings, a site where Maria Popova curates a cool collection of cool, smart things. Today for Father's Day she offers an excerpt from the book Posterity, a cool collection of letters from important Americans to their children.

She picked a letter that Albert Einstein wrote to his son when Einstein was 36 and his son Hans Albert was 11. It was 1914 and Einstein had just finished his paper on his general theory of relativity which was about to make him a Very Famous Smart Guy.

In his letter, Einstein included an observation about education. After discussing his son's pursuits, Einstein offered some advice about piano practice-- play the pieces that gave his son joy, whether they were assigned by the teacher or not.

That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes.

Well, isn't that the truth. It is admittedly a difficult state to achieve in a classroom full of teenagers (or six year olds), but it certainly makes a better star to navigate toward than "learn to do something with full awareness that failure will be punished."

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