“Lifelong learner”? We’re all one of those. As far as colloquialisms go, lifelong learning has always felt like a tautology to me. If someone’s got a pulse, I reckon they’re a learner.
Of course the trendiest flavours and most fashionable labels get all the attention, even and perhaps most especially in education. Being a pot speaking of kettles here, with my own degrees both obtained and in progress, I still have to wonder about general perceptions of institutionalised education.
Beyond the raging debates on the merits of different teaching techniques and the value of learning what when, for me a more fundamental question is: Are we learning what we’re truly drawn to learn, day in and day out?
Or do we instead strong-arm ourselves and our children into ingesting and regurgitating on-demand what we perceive society expects? Are we learning for our own sake, to grow as people and become better human beings? Or do we routinely force-feed our brains to maximum capacity and beyond, with what we believe others think we should know if we’re to validly exist in the social space we occupy?
I’m all for learning, don’t get me wrong. My concern here is only with spoiling the joy found in it. If life itself is learning, and we increasingly reform our learning experiences into the shapes of hourly-demarcated duties and information-bingeing, is the educational approach we’ve chosen truly enriching our lives?
Community Manager – The Slow School of Business