Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Learning To Read Again

Written by: on January 11, 2024

Literacy equals access. Access to what? According to the ancients, freedom. In “The Republic,” Plato first introduced the seven liberal arts, those arts which would set a human free, and he began with reading and grammar. In your first few years in elementary school, the goal is to learn to read so that, eventually, you can read to learn. Upon completing Adler’s “How To Read A Book,” I feel as if I am learning to read again.

I am not a fast reader. After a timed reading exercise in Mr. Kendall’s 6th-grade class, I became very aware of this fact. I was not surprised when this was revealed, since I didn’t like reading and I avoided it at all costs. I figured anything worth reading would be made into a movie, and as a very active young boy, I had other, more important, things to do, like play.

As a philosophy major in my undergraduate studies and then into my graduate studies, because of the sheer volume of reading required, I learned how to digest books without chewing on every word, page, or even chapter. What I thought was survival, Adler calls “Inspectional.” I was pleased to learn this way of approaching books is not only allowed but encouraged. However, I think my survival techniques of the past have stunted my analytical reading skills. I need to grow and develop my skills in the hard and thorough work of analytical and syntopical reading.  I look forward to the practice of thoroughly understanding an author’s ideas and arguments to rightly form an opinion.

While I would say I actively engage with the text while reading by underlining or jotting questions and comments in the margins, I have yet to develop a good way of organizing my notes. The concept of the “Slip-box” introduced by Ahrens is revolutionary. I am a verbal processor, and I am excited to learn and utilize the Zettelkasten Method. Externalizing my thinking and learning to capture and connect key ideas while being able to easily locate specific details when reviewing notes later are game changers for lifelong learning, teaching, and preaching.

I believe that writing is an area where I can improve the most. While I am comfortable and experienced with spoken communication, written communication has always intimidated me. With this program, I look forward to receiving feedback and writing regularly.

Another component of this program that I did not expect, and am very grateful for, is learning to engage the emerging AI technology with wisdom and discernment. Being able to leverage ChatGPT while being aware of the limits is very helpful as the world we inhabit is becoming increasingly savvy and dependent on such technology. I am curious to see how ChatGPT can help as an assistant aiding in research, creativity, discovery, brainstorming, and communication.

I have mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness about this doctoral journey. On one hand, I am thrilled to be challenged, to learn and grow, and to become more capable of leading others to the best of my abilities. But on the other hand, I am nervous because I know it will require me to face failure, be vulnerable, and be patient throughout. Despite this, I am determined to succeed and ready to take on this adventure.

About the Author

Chad Warren

A husband, father, pastor, teacher, and student seeking to help others flourish.

8 responses to “Learning To Read Again”

  1. Christy Liner says:

    Great post Chad!

    I can empathize with writing being your biggest area of growth. Without sacrificing academic honesty, I wonder if there is a way you can utilize ChatGPT in learning to become a better writer?

  2. mm Shela Sullivan says:

    Hi Chad, your journey as a philosophy major and the transformation of your reading strategies are fascinating. Shifting from a survival-oriented, inspectional approach to a desire for more profound analytical and syntopical reading marks a significant and commendable progression.

    Acknowledging that past survival techniques may have limited skill development reflects a self-aware perspective. Embracing the challenge of refining analytical reading skills demonstrates a dedication to intellectual rigor and a pursuit of a more profound engagement with the material.

    What specific experiences or realizations prompted your shift from a survival-oriented, inspectional reading approach to a more profound analytical and syntopical reading strategy as a philosophy major?

    • Chad Warren says:

      I don’t recall specific experiences as a philosophy major, but I do remember during my master’s degree work, realizing I needed to spend time digging deeper to avoid producing papers that didn’t seem superficial.

  3. Elysse Burns says:

    Chad, I too feel as if I am learning to read again. There were several times while reading Adler and Van Doren where I thought, “Oh no. I can’t read.” I am looking forward to becoming a better reader.

    I would also consider myself a slower reader. Although I have always enjoyed the activity of personal reading. School taught me to trudge through tedious textbooks, but I did not develop the ability to understand the author’s ideas and arguments to form my own opinions. I basically became a collector of facts.

    Zettelkasten is also a new method that I am looking forward to using. I have pages and pages of notes (primarily quotes), but they are not well organized and there are no connecting ideas or original thoughts. It will be a gift to grow in this area.

    I have also experienced nervousness knowing this program will require me to step out of my comfort zone. This program will be stretching, but very rewarding.

    Thank you for the thoughts you shared.

  4. Noel Liemam says:

    Hi, Chad, I like the attitude of “learning to read so I can read to learn.” I like this phrase; I found myself in this situation, The only for me to improve and survive this journey would be “learning to read so I can read to learn.” Thank you for the post.

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