On being self-taught

I couldn’t quite figure out how to fit this into the last post, but I think it’s important to address in the framework of learning outside your field.

Many of us are in fields that require a formalized college education. Many of us have hobbies, passions, goals outside of that field that require us to self-teach. I could take formal biblical coursework, and I’ve actually looked into it from time to time, but there is always some other pressing need educationally that gets those hours. This is not strictly related to formal degree areas, but in anything we chose to learn more about. Crafting, gardening, cooking. Would my gardening be better if I went back to school for a horticulture degree? I’m sure it would, but I’ve had to choose which areas I’ll concentrate for that formal education and gardening doesn’t rank high enough up there. Same for crafting. I’m fairly proficient and have sold items I’ve produced. I’ve taught Bible classes and led studies. I’ve developed Bible curriculum with my sole education being the resources I could round up and some discernment. I gained expertise on that road of hard knocks and the learning was good.

As a librarian, I have to knee jerk at the idea that any person has to have a degree to be considered an expert at anything (edit – should this word be everything instead of anything? Obviously there are some jobs you cannot do or get without a degree as indicated in the above paragraph.). Does it help? yes, it does because it keeps us focused, and it’s concentrated. But there are books, websites, databases that cover every imaginable subject that can be learned about alongside a career path. It is the time spent, determination, material learned that determines expertise in the long run.

In the blogging arena, I have to consider the differences between those well (and formally) educated and those learning (also frequently well, but self-educated). At times, I want to read the one that is an expert in their field and at other times (most often) I want to read the ones of those who are actively involved in the process of learning.

3 thoughts on “On being self-taught

  1. Well, I thank you for your reading (I hope!)

    I think that there are times which require an expert. Would we really want an operation performed by a person who has read a lot of books? However, in a democratic arena such as blogging, I don’t think experts are needed. Let the market decide, I reckon.

    With that said, I intend to further my education and eventually become Doctor Apostle and Prophet, the one, the only, Joel

  2. Well, medicine would be one of the fields I mentioned that requires a degree. And I did mean to speak specifically to areas outside of our careers. If I were called to be a doctor, that would be the area in which I devoted my formal studies, but since I’m not, that doesn’t mean I can’t learn a great deal about medicine outside of formalized study – maybe even enough to carry on a decent conversation with a physician.

    When do we cross from being an amateur to an expert? Can it be done outside of a degree? I certainly think for many areas, it can.

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