Blah blah blah life long learning blah blah blah

TrappedWe’re supposed to be about learning in schools, right? How many schools have a mission or vision or purpose statement that says “blah blah blah life long learning blah blah blah?” 97%? 99%? 100%? And yet we do a terrible job of modeling this as educators (and parents).

How many of us purposefully and explicitly model the learning process for our children? How many of us stand up in front of kids and say, “This is what I’m learning right now. I’m not any good at the moment but this is the process I’m following and this is what my plan is for achieving success. And I’ll give you an update in a few weeks, and then another few weeks, and so on, about how I’m doing?” How many of us purposefully and explicitly show our students what it means to struggle with learning, overcome obstacles, and emerge on the other side more skilled and more knowledgeable than we were before? You already know the answer: nearly zero.

There are many reasons why we don’t model the learning process as adults, but one of the biggest ones is ego. We feel like we have to be the ‘experts’ instead of co-learners. Administrators can show no weaknesses in front of teachers. Teachers and parents can show no weaknesses in front of children.

What would our kids gain from us if, as educators and parents, we did a better job of showing that we too are learners? What would schools be like if the adults in the building purposefully and explicitly lived and shared the process of being a learner? What would education be like if we adults intentionally created opportunities to be co-learners with the children that we serve?

Image credit: Old and young guitar guys

5 Responses to “Blah blah blah life long learning blah blah blah”

  1. Scott, you’ve concisely expressed what every adult needs to hear: we are not the be-all end-all. We need to explicitly share how we learn and THAT we learn. My former students and I (in our book) devote a huge chunk of a chapter on just this point!

    Spot on!

  2. Definition of “expert”: An “ex” is a “has been,” and a “spurt” is a drip under pressure. So much for ego. Go get ’em Scott! A little humility goes a long way.

  3. I call this forgetting what it’s like to be a novice. Many of our teachers have forgotten. (I wrote about it here:

    If you’re not actively, frequently taking yourself into new domains of active learning, you are out of touch with what we ask our students to do on a daily basis. And what we say we want our students to be doing when they leave our walls.

  4. Thank you for pointing me to this article! I agree with you 100%. A few years ago, I started practicing the martial art of Kendo. Having never practiced a martial art before, I found it hard, exhausting, and humbling to be in a student’s position. It continues to be an excellent reminder of what the students on my sports teams and in my classes have to go through while learning new skills. You’ve made me think I should share my experiences more with my classes. Great post!

  5. That is why I like to think of myself as a learner and facilitator rather than a teacher. And this is what I have recently learned in my last 5 years at the IB school I work even though I have been in this profession since 1991. I may be a slow learner but I think it is better that I have learned now than never. Please do share further thoughts on this topic and thanks for bringing it up!

Leave a Reply