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Learning for Life – Part One

“We thus are learning all the time if we have a spirit and mind to.”

School is ultimately just one of the platforms or stages on which education takes place. Indeed when you think more broadly institutional education is just one of several, but is the one that takes a good deal of our time especially when we are young.

One suspects that our society’s predecessors chose it because ideally they wanted education of their young to be done in groups, thereby insuring some degree of social development while students learn their ‘reading, writing, and arithmetic’.

This social development is still expressed in the mission statement of the TDSB:

“To enable all students to reach high levels of achievement and to acquire the knowledge, skills and values they need to become responsible members of a  democratic society.”

It is sometimes hard to recognize this social/emotional development agenda in the overwhelming amount of academic curriculum outlines, materials, and exams.

So in many ways it’s up to us ourselves to broaden our learning. And perhaps this is a good thing because it’s hard to envision an academic lecture from the front of the classroom in the usual spirit of one size fits all actually inspiring us to pay attention to our social/emotional growth.

For just as institutional education is not the only place we learn, we as persons are not singular and have many aspects to our characters. We thus are learning all the time if we have a spirit and mind to.

We of course learn in all our relationships. We learn from the community narratives around us in news, entertainment, literature and art, and especially in the unspoken norms and expectations of our society.

As well we learn from self-directed reading and study. We learn from work situations, apprenticeships and volunteering. And if we have been balancing our external academic progress with committed self-aware personal growth and resilience we will be in a constant learning process all our lives.

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