Posted on 12/19/2018 at 03:07 PM by Blog Experts

Students as Learners – Graduates as Learners

“Regardless of their educational path, student moving into adulthood today need more than anything else to be voracious, passionate learners, adept at creating their own personal learning curriculum, finding their own teachers to mentor and guide them in their efforts, and connecting with other learners with whom they can collaborate and create” (Richardson, 2017).  Are these the kind of learners we have created in our educational systems?

If you look at your classrooms, the instructional strategies predominantly being used, and the level of engagement of your students you will be able to answer that question.  Our students tend to be fairly good at regurgitating information, however, falling short when asked to create and/or synthesize the content knowledge and application of that content to real-world, authentic situations.  This is why it is important for districts to take a hard look at the educational system and culture in their buildings and evaluate whether they are truly preparing students to be life-long learners, which is present in almost every vision or mission statement of our schools.  The measurement of a life-long learner is not a GPA, SAT or ACT score, Iowa Assessment proficiency score, or any other purely one-point-in-time assessment designed to supposedly measure academic proficiency of students.  Those may be merely a reflection of how well students can memorize, retain fact-based information, and complete that work in the time prescribed by the testing/district personnel.

Learning, real learning is so much more than this.  What is sad is that if we are in education, we know this.  And yet, we fail to make the changes needed in our districts to become institutions of learning rather than institutions of education.  Learning must be the goal and creating life-long learners the outcome.


Richardson, W. Getting schools ready for the world. Educational Leadership, December 2016/January 2017. ASCD.

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