Life-long Learning. Really? Really!
By Debbra C. Marcotte, Director of Teaching and Learning
“I am still learning.” Michelangelo is credited for this simple, yet profound quote.
As accomplished as he was, it is important to note that he considered himself a life-long learner.
Students, you will be learning for a lifetime. Think not? Just ask your parents and grandparents if they are still learning. They may share stories of lessons that they have learned throughout their lifetime and many lessons that continue today. Some lessons are easy. Some lessons are hard. It is important to note that the learning continues.
Since you will be learning for your entire lifetime, it is important to take ownership of your learning. When you own your learning, you treat it with respect. You take care of it. You invest in it. You develop it.
Consider some tips for being a life-long learner:
You need to know what you know and can do. And if you don’t know it or can’t do it yet, then get busy learning.
Be mindful about what you need to do to learn best. Know your strengths and your weaknesses. Know how you learn best. Are you a visual (see it), auditory (hear it), or kinesthetic (do it) learner?
Learning doesn’t just happen in school or during the school year. Be sure to get involved in activities outside of the classroom and outside of class time. Join clubs and organizations. Learn how to do anything. Learn how to do many things. Just keep learning.
Set goals for yourself. Write them down. Share them with family members. Monitor how you are doing. Chart your progress. If you reach your goal, celebrate! Then set a goal that will challenge you to learn more. If you do not reach your goal, reflect! Look at what you need to do differently. Ask for help. Seek out advice. Keep trying!
Read! Read every day. Read about everything. Read more than you ever thought you could read. Read about what you like and what you don’t like. Read just for fun!
Develop your learning characteristics like persistence, flexibility, accuracy, and others found in Art Costa’s “Habits of Mind.” Google it to learn more!
Know your learning numbers. Are you reading at grade level? Have you mastered the standards? Have you earned enough credits? If you don’t like the facts that your numbers are telling you, do something about it. Your education is the one thing that no one can take away from you. Make an investment in your education and it will pay dividends for the rest of your life.
For the adults reading this article, I have another quote to share. This is from an unknown author. “Prepare the child for the path; not the path for the child.” I have this quote on a plaque at my desk. This quote helps me to remember my purpose in the role of educating children. My role as a parent, educator, and community member—just like you—is to teach children to be competent, confident, and caring individuals who are ready for whatever path they choose in life. Our role, as adult learners, is to role model strong learning characteristics for the younger learners in our lives. These learning characteristics apply to any subject.
Ultimately, we are all life-long learners who need to take ownership of our own learning. Really!