You know, being an educator and all, you'd think lifelong learning would be a "gimme." And, I guess for many, if not most, coming into the world of education these days, it really is. I have to admit though, that a lot of the learning I choose to do now isn't really work-related. I spend a lot of time in Bible study, or learning how to do new crafts (can anyone show me how to knit? The video isn't working for me). I get on these tangents and have to learn all I can about whatever (I'm such a nerd).
Looking over the 7-1/2 habits for lifelong learners, I feel like I do several of those pretty well, regardless of what it is I'm learning or why I'm learning it.
The one habit I think is easiest for me is creating my own learning toolbox. From a young age (I sound so wise there, don't I?), I have always done a fabulous job with this. I love "getting ready" to learn. Buying school supplies every year gave me almost a big a thrill as actually starting school. Some years (some classes), it was a bigger thrill than actually starting school. Now that I'm not starting school or classes in quite the same way, I still love it. At home, I have rubber storage boxes with pens and notecards, so that when something catches my eye I can keep up with the research/learning I'm doing about it. I have sketch books with magazine articles cut-out and glued into them with things that have sparked my imagination. My desk is set up with all the things I know best meet my learning style/needs--the right lighting, a certain chair, pens in a variety of colors, and chocolate hidden in a box for emergencies. My laptop is on and connected 24/7, so that I can access any one of a thousand links I have (my bookmarks aren't just organized, they're alphabetized and annotated).
After talking to a friend, I think the hardest one for me is "beginning with the end in mind"--with a caveat. I don't have a hard time setting goals. Generally, I know what my end is when I'm learning, even when I'm reading about frogs because the frog on a commercial was really cute. (In that case, the goal is to learn more about frogs, just for my own edification. And because people should know about frogs.) Actually, my problem is more that I'm ADD, and while I can remember that I had a.....
I guess learning for me is now more about the process and enjoying it (PLAY!) than it was back in the day when someone else set the goals and parameters (like, say, a certain Information Retrieval teacher that I had). There are times that I have to force myself to be more structured, but being in charge of my own learning, and my own library, means that I can flit back and forth. The learning is accomplished, just maybe not in a strict fashion. But that's the point of accepting responsibility for your own learning and being confident that you are an effective learner, right? That the learning happens at all.
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