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Every Day is A School Day

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"Every day is a school day", the idea that there is something to be learned every day certainly resonates with me. It is how I approach life. There is always something new to notice, something to be curious about, an opportunity to discover.

As many children are returning to school after a long period at home it feels particularly appropriate to be thinking about learning today.

To me, it seems obvious that we are always learning and developing. It isn't something that stops when our formal education ends. Did I always see it that way? Probably not. My experience of education was a series of hoops to be jumped through and qualifications obtained which would eventually open the door to being 'qualified' to do a job.

It had felt like such a hard slog to get to that point that perhaps the idea there was going to be an ongoing need for more learning was kept under wraps. Maybe back in the 80's and 90's things were very different.

The attitude seemed to be one of compliance and regulation. As a member of a professional body, which I had studied for 6 years, and fulfilled many other criteria to join, I wasn't best pleased to be faced with fulfilling a mandatory "continuing professional development" (CPD) requirement every year.

The culture, as I recall, was one of here's yet another obligation to be met. Bureaucracy telling me what I have to do. It seemed there was a lot of money to be made from providing conferences and training which qualified for CPD hours. The quality of which didn't seem to matter. It was the ability to have the hours spent certified to fulfil a requirement that mattered.

This attitude reflects that instilled by school. Do what needs to be done for the exam. Fulfil the requirement. What happened to learning because we are inspired to absorb new knowledge, develop new skills, be curious about about the world and as a result able to be innovative and creative in the way we approach life.

Who recalls asking the question "will it be in the exam, Miss?" That was all that mattered. Did I know enough to pass the test. If that is how we see education then it is no surprise that attitude continues throughout life. Doing what is required of us. Doing what we are told to do.
Yes, I accept it can be very gratifying to pass an exam, to attain a qualification or to get recognition for an achievement. But in the world right now is that really what is going to create the changes that are desperately needed. Where is the creativity? Where is the possibility for doing things differently? Thinking original thought.

I have a reaction to the oft used phrase 'life long learner'. To me, it feels patronising. Almost as if it's saying you didn't do well enough yet, keep trying.

Learning is an innate part of the human experience. Something so fundamental to being alive that it is not even worthy of mention. Like breathing, and our heart beating. Not that we should ever take these things for granted, but to be grateful for these gifts, and to nourish and allow them to flourish and serve us well.
Ooh, that feels like a bit of a rant today! Does this resonate with you? How do you feel about being a 'life long learner'?

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