“There are few educators who would disagree with the principle that lifelong learning is a good thing but the important questions are about the types of learning that the concept promotes, the life that it encourages us to lead, who benefits from this and the nature of the society that it upholds.”
Objective: What have you learned from reflecting on this particular quote? What has caught your attention?
When looking at this quote, I was still unclear on the principle of a lifelong learner. After researching online, Wikipedia states that “Lifelong learning is the “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated” pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. Therefore, it not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development, but also self-sustainability, rather than competitiveness and employability.”
People who choose to become a lifelong learner may have many different reasons for doing so. They may not be seeking education for general knowledge, but because of their well-being, their careers, or just to keep up in today’s ever advancing technological world. “Most professional preparation becomes outdated before one gets situated in a career. Hewlett Packard has estimated that what one learns in a Bachelor of Engineering program is outdated or “deconstructs” in 18 months, and for technology-related fields the half-life is even less. (Merriam, S.B., Bierema, L. L. (2014). Adult Learning, P. 5)
Reflective: What did you realize about teaching as a result of this quote?
This quote makes me realize that teaching is not a simple thing. For someone like me who have not taught yet and am hoping to be an instructor one day, I believe the use of motivation will help me in my lessons. I hope to be an instructor in culinary arts. If my class is comprised of aspiring chefs hoping to succeed in the culinary industry, I would use examples of in restaurant experiences through my history in various establishments. This will give them a better understanding on what it is really like in a professional kitchen. Having heard my stories and career experiences, I believe I can evoke some excitement in the students who are serious about this career choice.
Interpretive: What was your ‘Aha!’ moment when you read this quote? In what ways did this quote change your mind about being an adult educator? What was one key insight that you now have as a result of this quote?
My ‘Aha!’ moment was at the end of the quote where it asks “who would benefit from this and the nature of the society that it upholds.” It made me stop and think for a moment. Who would benefit from someone taking a class in order to get a promotion at work? Wouldn’t it be obvious that it would be the student taking the class, who is the one with an opportunity to learn as well as receiving a promotion and creating a better life for themselves? Or could it be the employer benefitting from having someone willing to take classes in order to be a stronger employee and being more efficient at their job while increasing productivity? Both are valid as they would each benefit from further education. I have never thought about being an educator and how it would be related to society before and I find that very interesting. This quote has shown me lifelong learners may think what they are learning is for their own benefit, but it also has an impact within the society they are in.
Decisional: How has this quote and the insight that you have gained from reflecting upon it, influenced your notion of teaching or how you will teach in the future?
After reflecting upon this quote, I believe there is more to teaching than educational material and tests. This process of reflection has helped me realize the responsibilities of an educator and how the lessons being taught will have influences on people’s lives. If I want to succeed as an educator, I will have to keep these reflections in mind and think about the bigger picture in terms of the impact it will have in our society or in my case, the culinary industry. Giving students relative insights and showing them the areas where creative freedom is welcomed will help them grow.
Merriam, S.B., Bierema, L. L. (2014). Adult Learning, P. 5