Learning how to learn from cycles and Syed Babar Ali

One of our primary goals at Amal Academy is to help our fellows learn how to learn, an ability that we see as one of the first steps to becoming a life long learner and at the core of being a problem solver.

But how do you help someone learn how to learn? Unfortunately (or fortunately) I don’t think there is any easy (or single) answer, but the beloved Syed Babar Ali shared one really powerful suggestion today at the Lahore Literary Festival. As the catalyst to so many institutions in Pakistan — including the Harvard of Pakistan (LUMS), the country’s lead packaging company (Packages), Nestle Pakistan, Siemens Pakistan, etc — the 90 year-old shared stories that would make you think he’s still in his 20s.

One such story was about horse riding and other sports when he was in high school: He said that these were compulsory and that because of them, he learned just as much outside of the classroom as he did inside. He went on to say he learned more in high school then at any other time in his life.

As he shared this, I thought about a bike ride that I went on earlier today to Jehangar’s tomb, across the vanishing Ravi River on the margins of Lahore. I thought about some of the lessons that I learned / was able to process on that ride — and on so many other rides — and the power of Babar sb’s story. And I thought about an incredibly thoughtful observation that one of our associates at Amal made earlier this week:

So many of us have incredible experiences but we aren’t able to extract the lessons or key takeaways from them.

Is this ability to learn from experiences outside of the classroom merely a luxury or privilege for successful people like Babar sb? Or could it be that this ability is part of the reason why/how people like Babar sb became successful in the first place? Is this a core piece of learning how to learn and becoming a life long learner? And how can we develop this skill through the Amal fellowship and more importantly in the broader education sector?

These are really difficult questions, but it seems like the potential impact of answering them is tremendous.

“it is common to take a dog for a walk, it is less common to take a dream for a walk” || @amalacademy + @understory cofounder | nature novel in progress

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