My Philosophy on Lifelong Learning

I am not a teacher in any traditional sense, but I do feel that I am an educator…at my job and in my life in general.  I offer freely the lessons I have learned in life and I am always open to hearing the stories of others.  I also try to live my life as a lifelong learner.  By the time I complete my Master’s degree, I will have 9+ years of higher education under my belt.  The array of “learn to” and “how to” books in my home office convey my never ending thirst for knowledge and my need to be really, really good at something, whatever that current thing may be.

Despite feeling this way about myself, when I was recently asked to explain my teaching/learning philosophy, I had no response.  My immediate reaction to this was, “Oh geeze, I need to have a formal, professional, drawn out philosophy talking about fostering critical thinking and problem solving skills and a ton of other things I don’t fully understand!”  But maybe I don’t.  Maybe for right now (in my first semester of this master’s program), all I need is to know how I feel about lifelong learning and how I feel about teaching what I know to those around me.  Same thing as a philosophy, but more laid back…right?

Well when I don’t know how to say something for myself, I sometimes find that the great heroes in history have already said it, and better.  The following three quotes from the header of my website are from amazing people of history.  These three quotes explain perfectly just how I feel about lifelong learning and the pursuit of education.

Wadsworth Quote
Longfellow’s quote comes from his speech titled, “Morituri Salutamus: Poem for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Class of 1825 in Bowdoin College.”  If you’ve never read this speech, I highly recommend it.  I’m not one that is usually moved by these types of speeches, but this one is absolutely wonderful.  I think that this quote specifically stays with me because of my love of books and reading.  I have two Kindles and a tablet (both from my techie husband), and yet I still prefer the feeling of real pages between my fingers.

Franklin Quote

This popular quote has sparked quite the debate over who spoke it.  Some say it was coined by Benjamin Franklin while others say the quote actually comes from Xun Kuang, a Chinese Confucian philosopher that lived from 312-230 BC.  His works were collected into a set of 32 books called the Xunzi, by Liu Xiang in about 818 AD.  No matter who said it, this is my greatest belief when it comes to learning and teaching.  Are you a learner?  The more you do, the more you will know.  Do not sit idle and stay involved.  Are you a teacher?  Make sure your students are staring at more than just you while they’re learning.  Get their hands dirty and keep them engaged.

Young Quote

Thinking clearly enables you to make good decisions and good decisions bring you fortune and happiness.  Isn’t that the main goal for all of us?  To be fortunate and happy?  To appreciate all of the good things that life has to offer?  Basically, the more you know, the more you grow.  I hold this quote dear to me every single night as I chip away at this Master’s program.  This education is going to give me the power to make my life better and to make me more appreciative.

To sum everything up, I think my philosophy on learning looks something like this:  Never stop learning, stay active and engaged, and never underestimate the power of what education can do for you.  {Too cheesy for you?  Yeah, me too.  But it’s for real.}

What quotes do you hold dear?