Life-Long Learning-An Art in Itself!

When one thinks of learning, one often thinks of attending classes and gaining the knowledge that is bestowed upon us by our teachers. However, according to Jiddu Krishnamurti, an advocate for humanity, a�?there is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learninga�? (BrainyQuote, n.d). This is not a new concept. In fact, learning theorists such as Skinner, Bandura, Pavlov, Piaget, and Vygotsky have been trying to explain how individuals learn from the moment they are born. Some theorized they learn through association, others propose it is through observation and experience, while still others believe it is through socialization.

So how do we learn? After careful reflection, I have concluded that we learn through all of these modes. Of course we do not use all of these modes at the same time; rather, we use them depending upon the context. For instance, if we had gone to the dentist and heard the sound of a drill just prior to getting a filling which was painful, we may from that moment, associate the sound of a drill with pain. In another instance we may learn dance steps by first observing how the teacher and others perform them and then we learn by experiencing them ourselves through practice.

So what does this all have to do with college students? It means that as college students we need to recognize the significance and implications of learning. We must understand that we are learning by observing, listening, and interacting with the content of our courses such as textbooks, study guides, journals, as well as our faculty and fellow students.

Recently, I read an article by Dr. Maryellen Weimer, a Penn State Professor Emeritus and editor of The Teaching Professor, in which she gives new teachers advice on teaching; furthermore, she states that it is also good advice for new students (Weimer, 2012). I found her reflection on teaching and learning invaluable and therefore, I am going to share her thoughts with you below:

1. Recognize that learning is more important than teaching. Learning can happen without teachers, which means therea��s no justification for teaching that doesna��t promote learning. This is why the focus on learning is more fundamental and why the best ways to improve teaching grow out of understanding how students are learning.
2. Consider questions more important than answers. Learning is a quest powered by questionsa��the curious inquiry that transforms into a powerful need to know. Teachers and students have the right (or is it an obligation?) to ask questions. They may direct the questions to each other, to classmates and to themselves. They should question the ideas and information set before them. They should question answers, their own and those of others. Learning is the difficult but joyful pursuit of answers and answers are good, not for what they settle, but for the new questions they raise.
3. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn. College isna��t much of an experience for those who know everything or for those whoa��ve got all the answers. But college may be the best place in the world for learnersa��not all learners in a college know the same things or have the same levels of expertise, which is why students have much to learn from teachers. But teachers are learners, too, and for every learner there is always more to know; about what is already known and what is, at the moment, unknown.
4. When learners gather, they do so in a space of possibility. In that space shared by learners, new ideas may be formed, new discoveries made, and this creation of knowledge is a possibility whether youa��re the teacher or the student…. Many days, as learners work together, things seem pretty mundane. The earth doesna��t shake; fireworks dona��t light up the sky. But then therea��s that take-your-breath-away insight, or that missing puzzle piece thata��s suddenly dropped into place and then the earth does move and lights do flash across the sky. Often these learning events occur when least expected. Careful planning may make them more likely, but ita��s no guarantee. When teachers and students gather in learning spaces, they should gather anticipating these possibilities (Weimer, 2012).

I advise you to reflect on Dr. Weimera��s thoughts and ensure you are making the most of your learning experiences. But also, make sure you never stop learning. For, as Henry Ford once stated, a�?anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young (Brainy Quote, n.d.)a�?.


Brainy Quote (n.d.). Taken from:

Weimer, M. (2012). Advice to New Teachers and New Students: Learning is a Quest. Faculty Focus. Taken from:


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