Have you ever been to a carnival and stepped into a house of mirrors? I did it once. It’s a disorienting experience, and I didn’t much like it. Everywhere I turned, there I was: sometimes reflected back exactly as I am but dozens of me – sometimes distorted, occasionally thinner (okay, that part wasn’t so bad). The idea is to find your way through the maze of reflections until you reach the exit.
So what does this have to do with writing?
I recently decided that I could add value for clients by teaching the principles of effective business writing. For that I need a professional credential, so I trotted off to NYU and enrolled in a certificate program in adult learning. This makes me an adult learner learning how to help adults learn. Are you starting to see the mirrors yet?
Even more than that, it turns out that to learn how to help other adults learn I have to examine how I learn: What engages me and why? What loses my attention and why? What snaps my mind shut like a broken window shade?
I’m used to being, you should pardon the expression, “reflective” when I learn. But usually the thing I’m reflecting on isn’t ME. And so I wonder, will thinking about the process of learning enhance the process or will it just make me feel self-conscious?
I expect to get more out of this house of mirrors than I did at the carnival – all I took away from that experience was a headache. But at this stage it still feels strange, being simultaneously a participant in and a subject of the class. Does anyone else feel that way?