September 5, 2011 by k. liz
I got my books for my grad classes today! Well, two of them. It seems to me that once you get to grad school, the required reading becomes more of a “Wow, I’m glad they know what I like to read!” Seriously, if I hadn’t just started an addicting thriller yesterday, I would probably have started reading one tonight. (Hint, hint: you might be hearing from these in the near future!)
But, that and the fact that schools everywhere are starting up again made me think about lifelong learning. I went through a bout of depression or lack of identity last year when school started up and I was not a student! (Okay, so not deep depression or anything, just a feeling of loss!) I know you will argue that “You’re a teacher now, so you still get to go to school!” Yes, I know that, thank you. But, in all honesty, I super miss being a student . . . having different colored pens . . . completely reading assignments . . . taking notes . . . taking tests . . . mulling over information. I miss it! I love learning in the student role.
But, regardless of my desires to be a student, that really shouldn’t change the fact that I ought to be learning . . . always. Period.
So, I started to think of ways to do that, as an *adult* in the real-world. What do I do to keep learning? Here are a few of my thoughts.
1. Read. read. read. read. read. read. read. As a writer – read everything. As a teacher – read education books. As an inhabitant of the world – read news. As a friend – read facebook posts. As a wife – read sports and politics. As an aspiring linguist – read journal articles. Get the point? I think reading plays into learning A LOT.
2. Write. Hmmmm . . . hence this blog! I find that the more I write, the more I am forced to work through ideas that I am thinking, and thence, I am learning as I filter information through my own head and make it legible and understandable for someone else to think it.
3. Listen. Learn to go slow, be low, and listen. Everyone else in this world has a different experience than me. I talked to a couple of little boys the other night, and they had plenty to teach me about the standings of soccer in the world. There is no one that I can’t learn something from.
4. Ask questions. A lot of times, I ask my husband questions. And it makes me feel ignorant. Really, it does. He knows so much more than me when it comes to politics, current events, geography, the world at large, media, technology, sports . . . shall I continue? My stubborn self doesn’t really like to ask him questions . . . but my stubborn self also doesn’t like to know that I am in reality ignorant when he could easily change that if I just asked a question.
5. Think. Spend time mulling over the questions that you have. Big ideas, and big thoughts may come on a whim, but they don’t flesh themselves out in a second. Be willing to stop what you are doing . . . blogging, facebooking, twittering, chatting, playing games, reading books . . . and think for a few minutes. Make it an exercise to work through mental questions you have.
So . . . now that I’ve come up with my great 5 steps to being a lifelong learner . . . how am I going to apply them? Well, like this: I will propose a challenge.
This challenge is for me, primarily. But, I’d be happy to have anyone else along for the journey that is willing to participate. Here’s the gist:
- 6 weeks
- 4 posts a week – one for each step of being a lifelong learner (except for thinking . . . I’ll let you do that on your own!)
- Reading: Read one article, book, poem, any written material a week – and share what you read with the rest of us. (Monday)
- Writing: Maybe based off of what you read, or just something you are thinking about, write a post specifically designed to help you learn about something. (Tuesday)
- Listening: Share a video/podcast/audio file . . . or a conversation with us that you tried to learn from. (Wednesday)
- Asking: Post an interview you created with someone on your blog. (Thursday)