Being a lifelong learner
At Eduro Learning, we think one of the best parts about being involved in education is the endless opportunities for professional growth. They can be provided by your school, or expected by an accreditation organization, but there’s always an opportunity to be a learner when your job is in education.
Lifelong learning requires embracing opportunities to learn and it keeps your brain healthy. Visionary innovator Henry Ford often took on jobs not because he knew how to do them but because he didn’t know how to do them. He once said,
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.
Henry Ford was definitely on to something! The key to a healthy and active mind is to have an always learning mindset. Drive author Dan Pink argues that we all need three things to feel motivated about, and satisfied with, our life: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Becoming a lifelong learner fulfills all three of these psychological needs.
To be lifelong learners, we need to be open to every and all possibilities. Although it can be daunting to learn something new, learning helps create new connections in the brain. By learning something new, you can improve how you do other things in your life as well.
5 Simple Ways You Can Be a Lifelong Learner
1. Read widely and often
Be curious. Read a blog, search for things online that you want to know more about, ask your friends for books they found helpful or use Good Reads for recommendations. Use Flipboard to get informed and get inspired – find curated content on topics of interest to you. If you want to find research on a topic, use Google Scholar to find academic research. Delve into a topic and don’t stop until you have exhausted it!
2. Experiment with new ways to learn
Understanding how to learn is an invaluable skill. Trying a variety of ways to learn will help you to find a way that works for you. Draw diagrams or create sketchnotes, watch videos, listen to podcasts, create mind maps or use music to study are some alternative ways you (and/or your students) can approach learning.
3. Keep a list of things you want to explore
This is a good way to help you get started. Before you jump right into an area, spend some time researching topics and keeping notes. Once you have developed a list then you can decide what the best option to follow for you is.
4. Start your own project
Take the initiative to learn new things, even if it is something simple. Try learning about a new social media platform from a student, read a blog about how you can improve your Google Docs experience, or listen to a podcast about a new teaching method to help you in your daily classroom practice. These simple ways of learning something new can help you gain a sense of achievement.
If you’re a teacher, encourage your students to plan out their own projects starting with goals and objectives. This will help them to cultivate an idea of how they would be able to follow this process in the future which could be applied to various scenarios.
5. Build and use a personal learning network
When you build and use a personal learning network through a platform like twitter (or facebook or any other like-platform), you can ask about and learn new techniques, strategies and tips from others who are also on a learning journey or who are masters of their field. Virtual study groups online where you can collaborate and learn from people with varying experiences can be helpful and provide a variety of sources from which to learn.
Bonus! Embrace the F.A.I.L.
F.A.I.L = First Attempt In Learning.
Failure is an “opportunity” to debrief, improve, and excel. We know that when students are ashamed of failing, they will do everything in their power to look like they didn’t fail. They will hide their failures for fear of looking stupid. So with patience we plan carefully to set our students up for success by scaffolding skills deliberately and thoughtfully setting up realistic expectations and authentically and genuinely embrace the F.A.I.L. We should apply the same to ourselves as lifelong learners!
As an educator, Kim sees herself as a lifelong learner and her own blog is called Always Learning. In the video below (9mins) she shares 5 reasons why every teacher should be a student.
One last thing ….
Make learning a priority! Don’t just keep saying ‘one day’. Whether you’re a teacher, a coach, a student, a school leader or a parent – make learning a priority in your life.
If this has sparked your interest in being a student again, we invite you to continue learning with us! We have so many more resources to share, practical lesson plans and applications, and relevant and immediately applicable action tasks you can apply right away in your own classroom. And the best part is, we have courses to suit any budget or time frame, and tons of great products and freebies to get you started if you’re not quite ready to jump into an online course yet!
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