There have been many days as an educator when I’ve lamented the culture of compliance we foster in schools. Yes, we aspire towards a culture of curiosity and creativity but, in reality, we also perpetuate a culture of
compliance with our learners. Is it inevitable? If there is an inevitability about such a culture with students, is the same to be said for teachers as learners? Do we build a system in which the default for adult learners is compliance? If we want kids to become enquirers and creative problem solvers, and independent learners, shouldn’t the same be true for teachers? In reality if teachers aren’t learning, then students aren’t learning.
Ken Robinson says that “curiosity is the engine of achievement”. Therefore, if we foster curiosity, motivation, and independent thinking, achievement will follow. This is true for students and adults.
How do we get the best learning out of the adults in our schools?
A few ideas to remember as a leader and facilitator of adult learning in schools include:
- Serve as a role model for learning. Demonstrating enthusiasm and role modeling as a learner is critical. Sharing articles, insights, and generating excitement around learning is contagious. Passionate and committed learners become learning leaders and role models for others!
- Accept that the continuum for adult learning is variable. Adults, as kids, are in various stages of development. Adults early in their professional lives may bring different skills and approaches to learning as opposed to a highly experienced professional. Differentiating opportunities and accepting the wide range of differences is important. Avoiding judgments is vital. We all learn at different rates and with different comfort levels.
- Recognize that some days (weeks, months) are better than others for learning. Teaching is stressful and some parts of a school year are better than others. The stress of responsibilities for grading, report writing, parent conference preparation, unit planning, holiday concerts, etc. There are certain dead zones when focused adult learning just isn’t really possible! But, there are other Continue reading