Lifelong learning is important, personally and professionally. It can generate creativity, initiative and responsiveness – all very valuable skills. It’s one of the most effective ways to help us deal with change, makes us happier, healthier, and helps us to live longer.
How can we be lifelong learners as professionals? It might be a good idea to first have some kind of lifelong learning plan. Or at least some short-term and long-term goals. One reason that I believe instructors need to keep learning (especially in a vocational field) is to stay current in the area in which you are teaching. Doing this may involve attending workshops or seminars, reading recent studies or literature, or actually working in the field. For example, as a nursing instructor, I think it’s very important for me to continue to work in the hospital so that I know that what I’m teaching my students is current practice. Doing this will help ensure that we maintain ‘credibility’ for the learners.
As professional instructors, we must always continue to learn and use our learning to change and improve the way we teach. We might be influenced by new research on teaching methods, formative or summative evaluations, college practices, from chatting with colleagues, and even from students themselves. The most important aspect of lifelong learning though, is what we do with our learning. Our learning should always be used to better ourselves, as instructors, colleagues, professionals, neighbors, and so on. Learning is fruitless if it does not bear change. My blog’s feature image of the Teach/Learn reflection is a great reminder for me that both must be constantly evolving and they should not be separated.