Your classroom should instill the ability and desire to become a lifelong learner. There are many methods that you can help your students move in the direction of obtaining the attributes of a lifelong learner. Some of the attributes of a lifelong learner are:
- Active investigator: You need to teach your students to initiate questions or hypothesis about a particular topic. The students will need to use a variety of methods to locate, collect, sort, and record information. The last step would be to draw some sort of conclusion for the information obtained. To be an active investigator will help children to become lifelong learners.
- Critical thinker: As a classroom you will need to help your students use a variety of strategies to analyze and synthesize information. From their research they will need to judge the data to see if it is useful for the question at hand. Becoming a critical thinker will help children be lifelong learners.
- Self-directed learner: You can help your students by considering their learning styles, their prior knowledge, and their strengths and weaknesses. This will help your children plan and organize their own thinking. To be a self-directed learner will help children become lifelong learners.
- Effective communicator: Your students will need to demonstrate and express one’s feelings, thoughts, and ideas concerning a topic of investigation. Your students need to work in collaborative situations to help facilitate good communication. To be an effective communicator will help children become lifelong learners.
These attributes can best be developed if you give your students learning experiences that deal with real world scenarios. Some examples of appropriate real world experiences are as follows:
- One problem to be solved could be how to help recycle items used at your school. Students could investigate, analyze, and propose corrective measures the school could do to recycle.
- Another real world problem could be designing and developing an outside garden area for your school.
If your students repeat these types of experiences through real world projects they will move toward becoming lifelong learners.
As a teacher I’m sure you realize that we live in an information rich society. In the past teachers were the dispenser of information but the rules have changed. To help children become lifelong learners, teachers need to show students what to do with the countless pages of information, how to analyze the information, how to critically think about the information, and to be able to use the information.
As you consider the value of becoming a lifelong learner you see quickly that children need repeated practice with real world scenarios and guidance to foster the attributes of active investigator, critical thinker, self directed learner, and an effective communicator. These attributes will help strengthen the desire and the ability of becoming lifelong learners.