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To foster lifelong learning means to impart a passion for learning to all your kids. You’ll inspire them and challenge them, exasperate them, and ultimately open their eyes. You can provide sound classroom wisdom for them right now and every day. Explore the seven pillars below and provide a foundation for lifelong learning.
7 Pillars of Wisdom That Foster Lifelong Learning
- Ask essential questions
- Embrace mistakes
- Lift up others
- Open your mind and heart
- Value teamwork
- Stay curious
- Be globally minded
- Ask essential questions: We foster lifelong learning by being willing to ask essential and meaningful questions. These are the questions that drive learners to practice deep critical thinking and to search for knowledge that matters. Deep questioning leads to exceptional thinking when answers lead to more questions and more in-depth inquiry.
- Embrace mistakes: At some point, every learner will make a mistake. Depending on where the student is at personally and academically, it may seem like the end of the world to them. Every student has the right to learn from errors, and to know that mistakes don’t define us—what we learn from them does. Be sure to support “useful failure” in your teaching.
- Lift up others: Part of maintaining a safe learning environment is encouraging your learners to be supportive to their peers. In a classroom of diverse and unique individuals, everyone will both triumph and struggle repeatedly. However, remember you are all there to learn. Foster lifelong learning by supporting each other in tough times and make that journey more rewarding.
- Open your mind and heart: Lifelong learners always use the head and heart in equal measure, and keep both wide open to new discoveries and experiences. The classroom wisdom you give your learners here is this: be open to transformation. It comes through the process of learning, unlearning, and learning all over again.
- Value teamwork: One of the hallmarks of modern learning is the ability to collaborate with real and virtual partners. Many hands make light work—and in the case of your learners, more enjoyable work as well. Collaboration Fluency is a way to foster lifelong learning skills through stellar teamwork. Make it part of your daily practices to find ways for your learners to explore group work.
- Stay curious: The day we stop being curious is the day we stop learning. Life will present us with choices as to how we react to occurrences and situations that shape that journey. Our students are on a path of learning in school that continues well beyond the classroom walls. A healthy and positive curiosity mindset is the greatest gift we can give them to continue that journey with.
- Be globally minded: The Global Digital Citizen understands that we can govern technology for the benefit of both ourselves and others. It is a citizen that views the world as an interconnected community. Additionally, they realize we share technological and human experiences regardless of culture, status, or political/religious beliefs. These are the kinds of citizens we work for our students to become. And it begins in your classroom.
These pieces of timeless classroom wisdom embody what lifelong learning truly means. These tenets will guide you and your students to a unification of goals for better learning in and beyond the class.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Aug 7, 2019, updated October 6, 2021