4 Ways Educators Can Model Lifelong Learning
Lifelong learning is an essential skill. As educators, we know that if we can foster our students’ natural love of learning, they will ultimately be prepared to take on real-world challenges they’ll encounter in their careers and lives. Additionally, we know the true joy of learning is about the journey of continual improvement. But knowing is different from doing. As educators, we also want to model lifelong learning to our students and communities. Here are four ways to do just that:
Just as we require our students to read, we can model lifelong learning by actively reading. We can read about education, as well as other topics, such as business, culture, entertainment, politics and more. With the number of reading opportunities offered by blogs, social media and new education books, we can be active, engaged readers who share our learning and enthusiasm for reading with our students, colleagues and community.
Our various state standards require students to write, create and share content in a variety of forms and genres. As educators, we can write to process, connect and apply what we read. Writing and publishing allow us to connect with our communities, to share our stories of success and failure, and to demonstrate that we are operating in the public sphere. We can blog, write feature articles and contribute to digital content. We can also write simply for reflective purposes about our continual learning journey.
Most educators present regularly to students, staff, school boards, parents, community members, business partners and other professionals. As lifelong learners, we can model stretching ourselves in the areas of public speaking and presenting. Beyond our standard audiences, we can present at professional conferences to bring our stories to other audiences. We can share talks on social media and YouTube. We have great stories and experiences to share.
Keeping up with technology can be a challenge. As educators, we don’t have to master every new application that emerges. Instead, we can strive to show our learners and communities two things: (1) that we are not afraid of technology and (2) that we use technology professionally and responsibly. Many young people have effective technology skills simply because they are not afraid. Educational author and presenter Alice Keeler encourages her audience to be unafraid to push buttons. Jumping in and trying technology is where learning and modeling occur. Through our daily professional and personal use, we demonstrate how to use technology responsibly so that it benefits our work and lives rather than damaging them.
Let’s Be Supermodels
Many things slow down as we age, but learning doesn’t have to. It’s this joyous realization that we need to continue to share with young people. In this way, we can all be supermodels.