Publication Details

This article was originally published as: Nillsen, R, Can the love of learning be taught?, Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice, 2004, 1(1), 1-9. Original journal can be found here.


This paper is an expanded version of a talk given at a Generic Skills Workshop at the University of Wollongong, and was originally intended for academic staff from any discipline and general staff with an interest in teaching. The issues considered in the paper include the capacity of all to learn, the distinction between learning as understanding and learning as information, the interaction between the communication and the content of ideas, the tension between perception and content in communication between persons, and the human functions of a love of learning. In teaching, the creation of a fear-free environment is emphasised, as is the use of analogy as a means of breaking out of one discipline and making connections with another, with mathematics and history being used as a possible example. The paper takes as a starting point the Platonic dialogue “The Meno”, in which Socrates argues that knowledge is a form of recollection. Some of the broader issues arising, such as the conjunction of interests between “radical” deconstruction and “conservative” liberal economics, are explored in more depth in the notes at the end of the paper, to which there are references in the main text. Related work and ideas may be found on the website http://www.uow.edu.au/~nillsen