Being A Lifelong Learner

It was Robert John Meehan who said “Your life as a teacher begins the day you realise that you are always a learner”. I am passionate about teaching and learning. My blogs discuss different views on learning and I discuss about what I know works and what sort of teacher I am based on information that I have gathered through working with educators across the UK.

THIS blog is about how I have recently been taking part in a qualification as part of my journey as a lifelong learner. Not only has it reminded me about the importance of teachers being lifelong learners and reflecting on our teaching experiences, but it has reminded how young people become lifelong learners.

The 21st Century is very much a digital age and the need for young people to have access to technology enhanced teaching (TET) is becoming greater all the time. It is with that in mind that I have recently undertaken a course to learn about, and improve upon my own TET. I have written about this in 5 recent blogs which can be searched on this site via typing in #MENTEPCourse. Doing this course has also created the opportunity to complete a Level 4 Wider Key Skill in Improving Own Learning & Performance qualification. At the time of writing this I am awaiting external moderation and the confirmation (hopefully) of certification.

The Wider Key Skill is based around a cycle of planning the learning and completing the activity based on achieving SMART (Specific, Realistic, Achievable, Resourced and Timed) targets. The final part is about reviewing the learning cycle to make improvements for the next time.

All teachers will be familiar with this process. The learning is planned, it is then delivered before a review takes place to assess the progress of learners. This review leads to future lessons being re-planned to ensure that the progress of all learners continues to be made. My Wider Key Skill gave me the opportunity to plan my own learning, it reminded me that being given the opportunity to plan my own learning engaged me in the process so much more. More over the learning was relevant to me, my situation and my future.

So we, as teachers, are lifelong learners. We are constantly learning about young people, what makes them tick and then adapting our teaching to suit individual and global learner needs. In my view teachers should be constantly learning, evolving, planning and reviewing learning to better meet our clients (learners) needs.

THIS is what I have been reminded about regarding learning… Teachers will be continuously following this cycle to improve the teaching of young people. However, do we always remember that young people (more often than not) learn better through being actively involved in the learning process themselves? Young people will learn far more deeply if they have the ownership, and are taught how to learn to reach given (teacher) or shared (teacher/learner) targets. They must be given a reason to learn, not just “because you need to know it for the test” (although this is probably true) but because it has real meaning for them. Real meaning can come in different ways but the obvious ones are linking the learning to their future, their circumstances or maybe even as something that is a great thing to know for life!

Learning is a gift! Give young people the opportunity to decide how they learn best and to have ownership of their learning. If these skills are taught and practiced early. then young people will not only do much better in tests and exams, they will do much better in life, as they will be able to constantly apply their skills to learning in different contexts. THIS will make lifelong learning an enjoyable and engaging experience in a diverse 21st Century!


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