i‑Learner Education Centre

Steps to Success » Learning Through Interactions

Humans as Resources

Learning, as a concept, often calls to mind the scholarly image of poring over volumes in hushed libraries or, in this day and age, being glued to a laptop screen. However, I’d like to draw attention to the arguably underestimated power that lies in people, who can be valuable learning resources.

From learning a handful of languages to becoming an educator myself, I’ve had the good fortune to engage with people from various backgrounds and walks of life. Unsurprisingly, it is these real-life situations that truly put our language skills to the test. Working to understand different accents, slang vocabulary and unusual turns of phrase is highly effective language training.

Understanding different languages also enables us to learn from speakers of those languages in many different ways. I’m sure I’m not the only second- or third-generation immigrant who benefits from knowing a particular language or dialect by being able to communicate with a family member and learn from their wisdom.

Those without different languages in their family or the opportunity to travel need not feel left out. In an increasingly globalised and digitally connected world, we can access a treasure trove that might rival the Library of Alexandria, if only we pay enough attention to the people we come across during this lifetime. Learning from everyone you encounter, including the humblest workers, the students from different countries, and the older members of your family. They will teach you things that can’t be found in books.