Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lifelong Learners Dissent!

Reader Anne:
I disagree with the derogatory slam on "life-long learner". The phrase *is* overused, but I think anyone who is a teacher had better be someone who enjoys learning and does it all the time.... Being a lll doesn't *make* you a good teacher, but I've never met a great teacher who isn't a lll.

Reader Knaus:
Life long learner is a phrase I'm not going to give up. My students know that I work with them. However, they also know that I am always learning something. I share my new knowledge with them. I preach that everything they do is a learning experience and they should seek those out.

For the record: I completely agree with these readers.

It's not 'lifelong learners' I'm against; it's that term. It feels like a term created by a marketing coach or a governmental organization.

Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Walt Whitman, Picasso, and so many other folks could in retrospect be labeled 'lifelong learners'; though I would imagine that all of them would have cringed at the term.

I prefer terms like curious, engaged, active, and experimental.

I'm an adjective guy. I like words like fearless.

I like terms applicable to child and adult alike and devoid of the connotation of jargon. And I've rarely heard folks outside the education world use the term 'lll'.

I also like it when my readers challenge me. That's what a blogger lives for. Keep it up; keep my on my toes!


  1. I'm going to be curious, engaged, active and experimental this summer in learning how to ride a motorcycle and turn my photography hobby into something more.

    Can we substitute "How are you challenging yourself?" for Lifelong learner? I like that. That's going above my classroom door next year.

    *Thanks for quoting me. Sometimes (ok, often) you provoke thinking. Damn you!

  2. I prefer the term "role model" rather than life long learner. You may as well tattoo it on your forehead when you stand up in front of your class because that's what the students see. Good teachers are enthusiastic about learning. They are constantly raising the bar for themselves (and their students) in every way in all aspects of life. Students notice, and teachers don't need a catchy phrase or acronym to point it out.

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