Favorite clichés (08/13)
Learning from others, learning with others, sharing what you have learned, sharing what you know, not necessarily in an educational setting, not necessarily in that order. These are the values we want to instill in our students. The cliché "life-long-learning" which seems sometimes old, dusty, and over used needs not be thrown out but like perennial ideas most create new roots and new shoots cyclically.
The magic moment in the cycle is the seemingly dormant part: the reflection. If you don't take time to think about what you just did, well or bad, you might just randomly do it again right or in worse cases badly. Learning happens when reflection time is used fruitfully so the future outcomes can be created after successful assessment of past actions. To me the concept of life-long-learning means that you are not done learning, you are never done going through the cycle. Because life is complex and we live in a conflictual world we need to be aware of the times where reflection is appropriate and necessary between moments of growth. Some growing seasons can be very short depending on your environment. It is important to try to create the best conditions for all, but it is maybe more fundamental to create awareness of the role each individual can play in being part of their own learning cycle.
As we face serious challenges as a species and deep commitments will need to be made, the saying: "it-takes-a-(global)-village-to-raise-a-child", my second favorite cliché, doesn't sound hollow to me. Street children in Mumbai are learners too, they do learn about life every day. Rural Chinese teenagers leaving their villages to work in clothing factories for Western brand names are learners too, they learn hard facts of life and experience things that I would not have been able to imagine at their age. Or again, the adorable face of Oliver Twist asking in the opening scene of the story: "Sir, may I have some more?" does that sound hollow or old and dusty. Not that Dickens literature isn't relevant anymore, to the contrary, it is still spot on. It is maybe more that our perceptions of the world and our ambitions for it have become a series of over used clichés. I am not only implying #firstworldproblems.
The questions needing answers are: can we do better, can we have better lives using what we learn? And can a society make all its citizens healthier, wealthier, and happier? I wish my role in Public Education can provide the tools to become and continue being engaged healthy, wealthy, and happy citizens. I may use clichés but it won't deter my convictions!