Blah blah blah life long learning blah blah blah
Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National School Boards Association. In Spring 2011 he was a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and Mind Dump, and occasionally at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at scottmcleod.net.
We're supposed to be about learning in schools, right? How many schools have a mission or vision or purpose statement that says "blah blah blah life long learning blah blah blah?" 97%? 99%? 100%? And yet we do a terrible job of modeling this as educators (and parents).
How many of us purposefully and explicitly model the learning process for our children? How many of us stand up in front of kids and say, "This is what I'm learning right now. I'm not any good at the moment but this is the process I'm following and this is what my plan is for achieving success. And I’ll give you an update in a few weeks, and then another few weeks, and so on, about how I’m doing?" How many of us purposefully and explicitly show our students what it means to struggle with learning, overcome obstacles, and emerge on the other side more skilled and more knowledgeable than we were before? You already know the answer: nearly zero.
There are many reasons why we don’t model the learning process as adults, but one of the biggest ones is ego. We feel like we have to be the 'experts' instead of co-learners. Administrators can show no weaknesses in front of teachers. Teachers and parents can show no weaknesses in front of children.
What would our kids gain from us if, as educators and parents, we did a better job of showing that we too are learners? What would schools be like if the adults in the building purposefully and explicitly lived and shared the process of being a learner? What would education be like if we adults intentionally created opportunities to be co-learners with the children that we serve?
Image credit: Old and young guitar guys