Saturday, November 2, 2013

Lifelong Learning: The School Conundrum
 
Lifelong learning is something we all believe in. It is the idea that gives us strength, helps us stay strong. It reaffirms the instinct to learn and grow. As adults we embrace it whole heartedly. This can be seen in the courses we take, the interests we follow, the need to improve ourselves at our job and our knowledge shared in conversation. We make it a top priority in our lives.
As educators we talk about the need to instill the idea of lifelong learning in children, to show them the path to becoming knowledgeable.  While we are noble and honest in our beliefs we are also dead wrong. The children that enter school are already lifelong learners. In the short period of their lives they have learned a great deal more about life all by themselves with little input from anyone. They explore, mull over, experiment, consider, and follow their thoughts as they learn everything from their world around them. All of this is done without a curriculum, standardized testing or any other ideas floating around in every classroom on the planet. In school they follow a program designed by the state and implemented by well meaning teachers. Students often question the use of the material they are taught. “What do they need to know this for?” is often a topic of discussion. Children reason very well that what they want to learn about is not found in curriculum but in the wonder of their minds.
The day is now among us that student can reach out and explore their thoughts and ideas. They learn about the things that interest them and the things they need to know about now. They can do this through SOLE.