Monday, January 26, 2015

What did you learn today?

I don't know if parents still ask this question.  I don't really remember my parents asking me this question, but it is a question - or a form of a question - that I like to contemplate often.

Learning is a big deal, but not always in the ways that we think.  Often, learning is equated to knowledge acquisition, but it is so much more.  While it is true that learning involves skill development, skills and knowledge should, ideally, result in the learner developing a worldview.

That is a pretty big deal, if you think about it.  In learning, we create a lens through which we see everything.

For me, the lens is a positive one. Interestingly enough, this was not always my way.  I used to be more pessimistic and would often react to unexpected things in negative ways.  Learning from my students, I adopted a better worldview.

Each day, students add my my skill base and knowledge, if I take the time to notice and reflect.  They teach me to laugh a lot.  To forgive mistakes.  To embrace mistakes.  To keep trying.  To remember that what worked last year, or even last week, might not work today.  They teach me to plan ahead, but but be willing to ditch the plan if it isn't working.  When I learn from students, I learn to listen more carefully, but to also pay attention to what people aren't saying.   I learn to look more critically and to notice how others are feeling.  All of this knowledge enhances my worldview.  It makes me a better teacher and a better person.

I wonder if students know how much they teach educators. I rather doubt it, but I do hope that all educators are paying attention to the valuable things we can learn from students.


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