Positive Psychology & Scripture Part V: Love of Learning

LOVE OF LEARNING

Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one’s own or formally; obviously related to the strength of curiosity but goes beyond it to describe the tendency to add systematically to what one knows.

SCRIPTURE

Proverbs 1:5
Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.

Proverbs 9:9
Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

Job 34:1-4
Hear my words, you wise men; listen to me, you men of learning.  For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food.  Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.

From my read of scripture, the use of learning is something that is very positive.  Learning is seen as a strength when it is used to learn of God’s ways.  Job 34 refers to let us learn what is good.  This implies that once when know what is good we will follow and act upon what is good.  The only way to know what is good is to learn about it.  One must have a love of learning to always be striving for and have knowledge of God’s goodness so that we may follow it.

LOVE OF LEARNING

DEFINITION

Love of learning is engaging particular content (e.g., Latin, videogames, music) or developing an individual interest (Renninger, 1990,2000). This strength helps people to persist in the face of setbacks, challenges, and negative feedback. Positive feelings may be temporarily infused with negative feelings associated with frustration until a path or resolution for their problem is identified (Krapp & Fink, 1992; Neumann, 1999; Renninger, 2000).

  • I cant do this task now, but I think I will be able to do it in the future.
  • I like to learn new things.
  • I will do whatever it takes in order to do a task correctly.
  • Learning is a positive experience.
  • I care more about doing a thorough job than whether I receive a good grade.

CORRELATES AND CONSEQUENCES

Love of learning supports positive experiences (Csikszentmihalyi, 1978), which, in turn, may predispose psychological and physical well-being.

  • positive feelings about learning new things
  • the ability to self-regulate efforts to persevere, despite challenge and frustration
  • make connections to the content to be learned, generate strategies for approaching this content, and then take the time to rethink their understanding and strategy selection
  • Feel autonomous
  • Feel challenged
  • Have a sense of possibility
  • Be resourceful (e.g. find model for themselves)
  • Be self-efficacious
  • Feel supported by others in their efforts to learn
  • Greater engagement in education early in life can protect against cognitive impairment in later life (Katzman, 1973).
  • The ability to sustain interest and develop new interests has been associated with engagement in learning and healthy, productive aging (Krapp & Lewalter, 2001).
  • As people experience interest and enjoyment as they learn it translates into decreased stress (sansone, wiebe, & morgan, 1999),
  • over the long term this results in greater physical and emotional well-being (Elliot & McGregor, 2001; Helson & Srivastava, 2001).

DEVELOPMENT

Based on findings from studies of interest (Krapp & Fink, 1992 of talent (Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, & Whalen, 1993), and of passion (Fried, 1996, 2001), it appears that this strength needs to be nurtured if it is to be sustained over time.

ENABLING AND INHIBITING FACTORS

  • A well developed interest emerges in relation to a person’s developing knowledge (and opportunities to develop this knowledge with which the person can connect)
  • And the sorted value that accrues from the feelings of competence
  • and sense of possibility that this development of knowledge represents (Renninger, 2000).
  • Positive feelings of the particular content area
  • Knowledge about the content area relative to the other involvement they have
  • Belief that a task is possible
  • Curiosity about a task that makes one ask questions
  • The ability to identify and make use of resources in order to work on a task

 

All of the information on each of these strengths come from Character Strengths and Virtues (Seligman & Peterson. 2004)

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