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Lifelong Learning is NOT a 9 to 5 Job 14 June, 2009

Posted by paralleldivergence in education, ICT in Education, Internet, Life, technology.
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Late last year I attended my son’s high school graduation where speech after speech espoused the knowledge and skills that the Class of 2008 have gained over their thirteen years of schooling. As the students prepared for the next phase of their lives, it was heartening to hear that they all had been instilled with the fundamentals of lifelong learning. I wish.

lifelonglearning
Image by Tragicomedio

So what is “Lifelong Learning” anyway? According to some, it’s:

“the idea that learning can and does occur beyond the formal structure of an educational institution and occurs throughout one’s lifetime.”

OK, that’s a pretty broad statement and is interpreted by some teachers as “life experience” or “work experience“.  Experience is what counts according to many teachers. Even promotions within the teaching faculty are based more often than not on experience or “seniority”.

Unfortunately in the 21st Century, “experience” alone just doesn’t cut it anymore. Knowledge learned over many years or even decades of practise is great for perpetuating past practises, but does nothing for promoting change. And it does little to assist with the implementation of new technologies in an ever-changing world.

I prefer the definition of Lifelong Learning as:

“The concept of continuous personal development through personal (self-actualized) learning.”

Lifelong Learning is a personal thing.  It’s individuals taking responsibility for their own learning and development beyond the formal education of their youth. Lifelong Learning is not the responsibility of employers. The world is changing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In a world that more and more operates on efficiency through understaffing, our daily grind leaves little room for individuals to indulge in their own continuing education.  Clearly, Lifelong Learning is NOT a 9 to 5 job.

[this article was written on Sunday at 5:07pm]

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Comments»

1. Troy - 14 June, 2009

Yes, the four walls and textbook and summative assessment driven formule entrenched in most educational contexts belittles learning into work. Knowledge isn’t power, understanding is…

2. Pixeltoy - 14 June, 2009

Go watch Ken Robinson. Go on, off you go! http://Www.ted.com

Troy - 14 June, 2009

Yes, Sir!

3. paralleldivergence - 14 June, 2009

Yes Pixeltoy, schools certainly do kill creativity. I enjoy this little smack in the face too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm1sCsl2MQY

Troy, thanks for your comment. I love your first sentence providing the reason for this attitude in many schools.

4. Simon Borgert - 15 June, 2009

But Stu as a Maths teacher where would I be without my textbook and end of topic test! :)

A big issue occurs when teachers themselves have lost the will to be life-long learners – unfortunately quite common as they get caught up in the everyday admisitriva of reports, tests, marking, etc. I use learning opportunities as a reward for finishing the drudgery of everyday tasks. Hmm so tommorow I think I’ll play with GeoGebra rather than finish my reports – will you write me an excuse note?

A great post and one for sharing. Would make a good intro to online discussions for teachers about to embark on L4L (sorry NSWDER). Or perhaps to demo the student response network…

5. paralleldivergence - 15 June, 2009

Dear Principal.

Please excuse Simon for not completing his reports on time. As a teacher, he decided he needed to practise the concept of lifelong learning that educators seem to preach so much about.

Sincerely,

Parallel Divergence.

6. pixeltoy - 15 June, 2009

Don’t let’s get started on the SBSR fiasco! Especially when it is forced upon a staff by those in senior exec within a school. Aaarrrggghhh!!!!

7. Lisa Haller - 16 June, 2009

Lifelong learning…my head hurts! But it is so much fun!

9-5?? I am constantly having this argument with my non-teacher husband who is a tradie and doesn’t understand staying back without overtime.
It is more like, 8-6 at school, 6-8 kids, 8-11 laptop. I love trying to keep up to date, my family does not! So much for those lovely school teacher hours ;).

8. paralleldivergence - 16 June, 2009

Well done Lisa. You don’t have to kill yourself doing it though. :) There is plenty to learn, we just need to find the right balance for ourselves.

9. Simon Job - 20 June, 2009

Stu, I agree, but…

Whilst you note that it is not the employers responsibility, they certainly benefit. In fact, in the DET anything you create belongs to the DET (was going to reference the Code of Conduct, but the Portal is broken again).

As I learn new skills, and develop older skills my employer, my school, my students benefit. Although, my experience is that your employer tends to take advantage of that (meaning, more jobs).

I guess this is where a discussion about performance pay starts.

10. paralleldivergence - 20 June, 2009

I was wondering how long the issue of performance pay would take to be raised and thanks for raising it Simon.

Firstly, yes, the employer does benefit – but so do the customers – the students – and everyone sems to forget them. In the public school system, your principal is NOT your employer, the Department of Education is, and there are many opportunities for teachers to gain promotion through merit selection. Surely a teacher who puts in the effort to develop their own skills and can demonstrate those skills in practise will stand a better chance at promotion – benefiting everyone, themselves included.

I have never understood why teaching seems to be the only profession where (in Australia at least), you al start at the same level and you all progress at the same rate for seven years in tems of salary – regardless of merit. Ability plays no part in career progression in the early stages. Seniority does. We seem to be teaching teachers that you don’t need to work harder to progress, you just have to stick in there. We keep drumming out of teachers the desire to learn and improve. After those seven years of coasting, suddenly there might be a desire to go to the next level, but mediochrity doesn’t cut it (actually sometimes it does – I’ve see my fair share of dud school executives).

Why is there no other profession that works this way? Why have changes occurred more readily in other professions and not in teaching? These are all valid arguments for performance pay.

11. Are our training efforts helping educators or enabling codependence? – Dangerously Irrelevant « Jeff Thomas Grace Technology - 17 September, 2009

[...] discussed this recently in an article “Lifelong Learning is Not a 9 to 5 Job”. http://paralleldivergence.com/2009/06/14/lifelong-learning-is-not-a-9-to-5-job/ Reply July 11, 2009 at 07:52 [...]


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