Saturday, March 4, 2017

When Does Learning Stop?

As a seventeen year old getting ready to graduate from high school, I was on top of the world! Ready to be out of school and done with learning! Although I knew I would be going to college, I was convinced that learning only took place in school. As I was parading around the house celebrating my soon to be graduation, my dad sat in his favorite chair watching and listening. He then instantly deflated my enthusiasm bubble by telling me that my journey had only just begun and that my learning would never end. I laughed. Did he not remember that I would be graduating?

My dad was wise beyond his years and I was a young teenager ready to make my mark on the world. I did not fully understand at the time the knowledge that he was trying to impart on me. I equated my education with school and he equated learning with life! I get it now because I am a life-long learner. After graduating from high school, I went on to get three college degrees. I've participated in every learning opportunity made available to me. I've learned how to parent three beautiful children. I've learned how to maintain a household. I've learned how to teach. I've learned how to cook. I've learned how to drive a manual transmission. I've learned so many things, one of which is that I have so much more yet to learn.

The world is moving at a rapid rate and we need our students to be on board. They need to be prepared for life. Their life, not ours. Learning certainly takes place inside the walls of schools, but a student's education cannot and should not stop at the front door. Because there is no end to growth and learning, we need to embrace this attitude, so we can model life-long learning.

We need to create a culture where our students feel empowered to learn and lead. We need to embrace creativity and the innovator's mindset where we ask the question of what's best for each of our learners and then think differently about how we meet their needs. We cannot keep doing what we've been doing for years and expect to get different results. According to George Couros, innovation is a way of thinking that creates something new or better. If we truly want to move our school forward, we must change and grow alongside our students!