This principle directly supports the idea that learning is an individualistic process that cannot be rushed or arrived at according to a pre-determined schedule (including specific age). This refers to the understanding that learning happens when a person is ready for it, and that learning is most effective when it occurs in a setting where the learning can be applied in an authentic context. The need for patience and time is also a requirement to develop thorough understandings of concepts, rather than surface level familiarity. In order to develop understanding, information needs to be examined/explored from multiple perspectives, in different contexts, and over time.
In First Peoples’ contexts this understanding of learning is also the result of the cultural value of collaboration and developing consensus. Collaboration requires that all people in a group contribute according to their specific skill sets, or “gifts”. Through collaboration group members also learn from each other.
Traditionally, many group decisions were made through consensus rather than by voting, and this requires the time needed for everyone to have a say and be heard. It requires skilled negotiation, a process that also requires patience and time, and encourages people to listen to and understand differing perspectives. And while the process takes longer than a “majority wins” process, decisions that result from the consensus process tend to build stronger communities.
Relation to Other Education Theory
It is recognized that learning in a constructivist environment usually requires more time than might be needed in a more didactic, knowledge as transmission teaching environment (Perkins, 1999, as cited in Wing-Mui So, 2002). The increased time and patience is also reflected in collaborative learning environments which require members of a group to make connections and organize their knowledge. In addition, the need for time and patience indicated in this principle is also needed to encourage learners to reflect on their performance in order to further their own learning. Jonassen (1999) indicates that in a constructivist learning environment, a good coach encourages and supports learners to reflect on their own learning.
Implications for Classroom and School Include:
- Ensuring that learning is about understanding concepts, and the application of knowledge, rather than only memorization of information.
- Revisiting concepts multiple times, providing learners with opportunities to deepen their knowledge by layering their understanding (recursivity).
- Providing for flexible scheduling in schools and in classrooms so that learners can take more or less time to learn what they need to know and understand.
- Providing opportunities for multiple opportunities to access learning in different ways.
Relevant Core Competencies
- Involves making judgments based on reasoning: students consider options; analyze these using specific criteria; and draw conclusions and make judgments. Critical thinking competency encompasses a set of abilities that students use to examine their own thinking, and that of others, about information that they receive through observation, experience, and various forms of communication (2015, BC Ministry of Education).
- Includes the skills, strategies, and dispositions that help students to stay healthy and active, set goals, monitor progress, regulate emotions, respect their own rights and the rights of others, manage stress, and persevere in difficult situations. Students who demonstrate personal awareness and responsibility demonstrate self-respect and express a sense of personal well-being (2015, BC Ministry of Education).