“There are few educators who would disagree with the principle that lifelong learning is a good thing but the important questions are about the types of learning that the concept promotes, the life that it encourages us to lead, who benefits from this and the nature of the society that it upholds.” (p. 20/21)
What has caught my attention from this quote is the idea of being a lifelong learner. I have never really thought much about the types of learning I do beside a formal classroom. I never even realized there was more than one type of learning till now. This quote has really made me take a look at my life and my learning styles. I have been saying lately that I have been in school for 14 years, everything is so new to me again, but now when I really think about just because I haven’t been in school, doesn’t mean I haven’t been learning over the past 14 years.
I have realized that one of my roles of an educator is to be a lifelong learner. By doing my emerging trends and roles blogs, I have learned that there is always some new emerging trend in education. Our job as educators is to be informed, to know what is new and how can it be used in our classrooms, to engage our students but also to help them be as prepared as possible for the work place after they are done their educations.
My Aha! Moment with this quote would have to be the factor that I am already a lifelong learner. I may only be in my mid-thirties but the career path I have chosen has already had me doing formal, nonformal and informal learning. As a Certified Dental Assistant, it is a prerequisite to get into the program to be trained in First Aid and level 1 CPR, which I would categorize under nonformal learning. Then I went through my formal learning, at Okanagan College, to be become a CDA. After graduation, to keep up my license, I must constantly enroll in continuing education courses, more non-formal learning. All this and I am not even adding in the many hours of informal learning I do every day at my job. In dentistry there is always new material, new instruments, and new techniques to learn, mainly these are learned through experience or taught by a dentist on the job. Now that I am doing my formal learning to become an instructor, I realize there is even more demand to become, or to continue on the path as a lifelong learner. I have to stay current, not just for my license, but to keep my students engaged. I need to constantly be learning how to grow and improve as an educator, so I can give my students the best and most current education.
By reflecting on this quote I have realized so much more about teaching, and learning. Becoming an instructor doesn’t just mean getting a diploma and moving on, it includes constant work and attention. Our roles as educators is to constantly be on top of our game, we need to be current, be informed, be willing and open to self-improvement, at all times. I want to be able to answer my student’s questions about what’s going on currently in the dental office, what skills CDA are using in the field, and how things are evolving in dentistry. We have a committee set up at the college that includes dentist, CDA and educators, from our field, that meet a few times a year to discuss what’s going on in our communities in dentistry. We use their feedback to help us align our courses to the dental field in our communities. This is just one more example of the constant lifelong learning we are doing as instructors.