Learning as a religious phenomenon? The paradox of the question – why?
Learning has been defined by many as “a relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of practice” (Hilgard and Atkinson, 1967, ed., p. 270) and definitions, such as this one, have reflected the behaviorist practices in education whereby the teacher sets the learning objectives, operationalizes the teaching plan and expects the learner to have acquired precisely what the teacher determines by the end of the session. In precisely the same way, in the work situation, there has grown up a “scientific management” school which assumes that the actual role demands can be determined precisely and that the worker merely acquires those techniques through practice which produce the most efficient and effective performance outcomes. For many, this is their conception of learning. This is the way they perceive that their employees or their students should learn. But there are other implications to this approach, one of which provides a focus for this paper. Examine the conception of the human being implicit in it-malleable and mindless! Is this the human being that the psalmist could wax lyrical about, when he wrote:
What is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him? Yet thou hast made him little less than God, and crowned him with glory and honour. Thou has given him dominion over the works of thy hands: thou has put all things under his feet.