"While schools can prepare students for a life of self-education, true self-education can only occur when a person chooses to learn what he can also decide not to learn."
– Self-Direction in Adult Learning (Brock and Hiemstra)
I love working with my students. They fight learning the simplest concepts because they’re bored. They can hardly wait to get out of school so they can stop learning. They figure they know everything they’re ever going to want to know.
My students also think I’m a bit odd because I’m always sharing something I’ve
learned recently or I’m talking about needing to read up on something. They can’t picture wanting to learn something simply
because you want to, instead of being forced to.
With all the options for self-directed learning available today, I’m sure these students are learning outside of school without being aware of it. When they modify their MySpace profiles on their own or look up the stats on the newest models of motor bikes, they’re learning. They’re learning what they want, on their own terms, in a manner that makes sense to them. Against their wills and without their knowledge or consent, they are becoming lifelong learners.
I’ve long been of the belief that living without learning isn’t really living at all. We have a wide world around us, waiting for us to explore it. We don’t have to sit in a classroom to learn about it anymore, either. The options for pursuing learning opportunities are incredible! You can choose to attend a class, read a book, visit a website, listen to a podcast or watch a videoblog, find a mentor, attend a teleseminar, and the list goes on. The options are virtually limitless. Even better, you can combine these options to create your own learning experience.
In today’s information-rich society, it’s hard to go a day without learning something new, so go forth and embrace each opportunity to learn and grow!
Rebecca Thomas is a teacher, writer, and jewelry designer living in the Pacific Northwest.