During the past couple of centuries, the formal learning process was mainly reserved for the youth of most cultures. Prior to World War II, the majority of the kids never graduated from high school. And prior to the 1960’s, the luxury of attending college or graduate school was usually limited to the wealthiest of citizens in most countries. However, graduating from high school is an absolute must today to even be employed in the least skilled jobs. And a four year college degree is equivalent to a mere entry ticket into a more professional career. Thus, acquiring higher degrees and specific skills and knowledge – then updating and upgrading them annually throughout our lifetime – is the ticket to any degree of success in our highly competitive, knowledge based world. In this lesson, we will delve into why it’s essential to develop a thirst for Lifelong Learning!
With extra time in my life to think and ponder more about what’s important and what’s not regarding one’s success and happiness – I can’t help but wonder how much better our world would be if we all invested more time into learning. It’s quite unfortunate that the learning process is often viewed upon by many individuals as a punishment. This is often true of teenagers who would rather just have fun all day and by adults who couldn’t stand school when they attended. Both of these groups can’t wait to finish their obligation to attend school and eventually go to work at jobs that they will probably hate and complain about for the rest of their lives.
On the other hand, if we could only find a way to help children ENJOY the learning process from the time they start their formal education – we would be more apt to turn out better students and potential lifelong learners. It always amazes me how the entertainment world from Disneyland to the movie industry can win the hearts and minds of kids – yet our school system, which outspends any other industry touching the lives of children, can be so ineffective. Instead of hoping that we could achieve the government’s goals of “No Child Left Behind” by enabling kids to merely read and write – shouldn’t our goals be set much higher?
I believe we need to totally revamp our educational system - and we need to begin this process immediately. With a large percentage of Baby Boomer teachers retiring soon, local and state governments all across the United States need to start implementing a new way to educate both children and adults. Let’s make learning fun and exciting so that kids who subsequently become adults, will WANT TO LEARN and develop a lifelong thirst to continue learning throughout their lives. A good way to start this process would be to replace those teachers that retire with a team of willing and qualified classroom monitors. Then re-channel those tenured teacher funds toward seeking out the BEST teachers in every state. Let the BEST compete for jobs on the DREAM TEAM of the most qualified and interesting teachers in every state. Give this dream team the necessary resources to develop the most creative and interesting lesson plans on the planet – to be presented throughout their states via broadband multimedia broadcasts into the local classrooms of every school district. If superstar teachers would be paid like superstars in other industries – we would draw the best talent to the education industry. Eliminate the bureaucracy for the benefit of the kids and watch the educational process make 180 degree turn-around. Can there be a more nobler cause in our society than educating our kids and helping them to succeed?
Along with a dream team of teachers, states could hire companies like Pixar, Disney and a multitude of others who can integrate the educational content kids need into interesting learning sessions that kids want. If we made it interesting to learn – it would no longer be a punishment – but rather a reward to attend school.
Once the content is produced, it could be taped and traded among other states to make the learning process from state to state, and school district to school district more uniform. If state governments can get together to develop a uniform sales tax for the internet, surely they should be able to agree on a uniform educational process that would benefit our kids and our society at large. Then once we fix our grade schools and high schools – perhaps we can attack the colleges and universities with similar initiatives.
If we could bring more creativity and fun into our learning process, children may develop an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. I believe that if you enjoy learning as a child, you will continue to enjoy as an adult. And a lifelong learning process is no longer a luxury of the rich. It is absolutely essential if you plan on being employed in the knowledge based service industry of the future. It’s time to stop talking about no child left behind and start thinking about lifelong learning as a fun and enjoyable activity. We need less pain and more pleasure in our learning process. We owe it to our kids. We owe it to ourselves. Lifelong Learning is Essential!