Monday, March 23, 2015

The Purpose for Learning

I love learning. It truly is a passion of mine. If I could be a professional college student for the rest of my life, I would take it in a heartbeat. But wait a second?! With a growth mindset, I am always a learner. I don’t need to be paid to learn. I don’t need to go to fancy workshops or take college courses to learn something new. I don’t need to be offered professional growth points to have the desire to learn a new skill or find a new resource.  I can learn anytime and anywhere. And I choose to take that path for the rest of my life. I am a professional learner.

Learning is amazing, and it should never stop, no matter how old we are. I am troubled by the notion that there isn’t enough time to learn something new, or the “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” mentality. There is always time to learn a new skill or resource. Age has nothing to do with a growth mindset.

Take for instance my desire to become a Google Educator. Why? I can get around the Google Apps just fine, and in fact have helped many of my staff navigate and learn the basics. Some may say, why spend money and hours of time on the certification just for the title? I don’t see it that way. I see an amazing tool that I want to learn more about. I want to know more so I can share more, collaborate more, teach others more. My purpose for learning is for my staff and students. My purpose for learning is bigger than me; it is for the betterment of my staff, my students, my school, my families, and anyone else I might come in contact with.

This is something we need to remember. Why do we learn?

The purpose for learning a topic or a skill goes beyond a classroom. It is not about a test, not about a teacher’s data. The purpose for learning is for growth and skills, translated to the real-world and applicable to our daily lives. We cannot allow our daily objectives to become “to pass a state test” or “to generate a grade”. Our students and school deserve better than that.

With that said, learning is messy. It does not come with clean lines, a static trajectory, or with the first try. Learning is about attempts and failures, about mistakes and triumphs. It takes time and happens at all different speeds for each child. Our system must develop to celebrate this, to see the purpose of learning so that our schools do not just become a place for tests and grades. Our schools are so much more.

Our teachers do AMAZING work each and every day with our students, creating learning experiences so that our students grow to their fullest potential. I know they feel the pressure of those tests and those grades, but I continually reassure them about the purpose for which we are here, our students.

I am a professional learner. Our teachers are learners. Our students are learners. Building our positive culture, surrounded by learners, is our true purpose. It is with this mindset that we can truly move the realm of education forward.

photo credit: <a href="">purple flowers</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>