Friday, April 21, 2006

Life Long Learning

Over the past three years I continue to hear the phrase "lifelong learner". I understand lifelong learning to be the ability and desire to learn after conclusion of formal education. It is a passion to know more and go beyond what is required in a classroom.

An article from Educational Leadership (Dec03/Jan04), titled A Forecast for Schools by Marvin Cetron and Kimberley Cetron stated that, "Tomorrow's citizens will need and expect to engage in lifelong learning. A career used to last for life. Once a carpenter, always a carpenter. Today, new technology could redefine or replace almost anyone's job-even the industry in which they work. Today's students will pursue an average of five entirely different occupations during their working lives. Both management and employees must get used to the idea of lifelong learning, which is becoming a significant part of working life at all levels."

I believe that the majority of teachers are life long learners. We value the process of learning and are excited by it. Of course, we must take classes to keep our teaching license but the majority of educators take classes to increase their content knowledge and enhance the lessons they teach.

I have kept this phrase in my mind during the school year. I want to encourage my students to be lifelong learners. I want them to understand that when they graduate from a university or trade school they are not finished learning. So my question is, what learning formats are more likely to encourage life long learning? How can these ideas be incorporated into a classroom? How do you encourage students to be lifelong learners?

5 Comments:

Blogger Ms. Fine said...

I think this is a wonderful question. I went to a high school called Jefferson County Open School where the school was centered around life long learners. The philosophy of the open school is centered around six goals: seek meaning in your life, create the world that ought to be, re-discover the joy of learning, prepare for what is, prepare for what will be. Using these goals as well as a strong focus on finding meaning in education and ones life has challenged me to become a life long learner. Some of the ways in which I found this philosophy to ring true is through the instruction and focus of how the classes were taught. Learning was placed in each students hands. We were the ones challenged to learn and to find the meaning in education. The teachers there opened the door and we as the students had the opportunity to walk through the it. Through the many community service activities, school trips (Africa, Costa Rice, Mexico, all around the US) challenged me to look at new ways of life, perspectives, and live outside the four walls of the school building. I think today sometimes we are so caught up with the standardized test the school becomes a game where the outcome is predetermined. If I study hard I will get the A rather the instilling the curiosity and unexpectedness that my high school brought me. With that I try and use as much real world application in my classroom in order to help make what I'm doing real. I try to show them that the stuff that they are learning will impact them and use examples (TV, MAGAZINES, NEWS, RADIO, ETC.) to help them see the importance of learning and to continue to be life long learners.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Ms. Fine said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:23 AM  
Blogger James H said...

It helps the students to see their teachers as life long learners. I have taken classes and shared my experience with my students. They need to see life laong learners in action and understand why you think it is important for them to continue learning throughout their lives.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Mwiebe said...

Great Question. This is something that I strive for and struggle with. I agree with James about demonstrating our own curiosity and learning. I make a point to mention courses that I am taking or things that I wonder about to my students. I really believe that if they see us taking opportunities to enrich ourselves, they will start to see the value in learning.
I also agree with Melissa in regards to using real life examples. In science classes, I often bring in politics to show that many of the major dilemmas facing our country/world have science roots and are being voted on by those who have very little scientific knowledge (global warming, stem cells, school nutrition...). The more we can make our lessons relate directly to the lives of our students, the more they will see the value in learning to improve their lives.

9:09 AM  
Blogger ChingyenG said...

I totally agree with what Mason said about relating the class lessons to the students' lives to increase their interest in learning. That's the ultimate goal for teachers. Otherwise, we'll be wasting our time delivering a lecture that may or may not reach its target audience.

11:39 AM  

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