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  1. Is Your Child Prepared for Lifelong Learning?

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    by Marilyn Price-Mitchell PhD

    Lifelong learner 2-18-13Lifelong learning is a buzzword in 21st century education. And for good reason.

    Becoming a seeker of lifelong learning is critical in today’s fast-changing world. Learning is not only a matter of absorbing information but a process of developing many other internal skills, like curiosity, perseverance, and the ability to tackle tough challenges.

    Thanks to research in neuroscience and human development, scientists can now explain how learning happens from cradle to grave.  It turns out that lifelong learning is a natural part of being alive.

    When we think of scholars like Socrates, Einstein, or Aristotle, we are reminded of great learners and their eternal quest for knowledge. But how do we develop the quest for lifelong learning in children and teens – the internal drive that propels them to embrace the practice of learning throughout a lifetime?

    The thirst for lifelong learning is natural to the human species. Unfortunately, by fourth grade, education can lessen the desire to learn for many children.  Jay Trevaskis, a teacher in Sydney, Australia, provides an illuminating example of how education can diminish enthusiasm and curiosity in his article, How School Can Kill the Desire to Learn.  While there are no easy answers to this dilemma, we need to find better ways to prepare young people for the lifelong learning process.

    All too often, we focus on how well children are taught rather than on how well they learn.  Many young people have survived poor educations because they discovered what it meant to learn. They discovered that learning happens on the inside, that grades cannot measure true learning.

    As children develop toward adolescence changes occur in the brain that heightens their abilities to learn. Teens become capable of thinking more critically, solving more complex problems, and weighing difficult decisions. But in order to utilize these new abilities for lifelong learning teens must be internally motivated. They must learn because it feels good, not just because they want to get accepted at a good college. The preparation for lifelong learning starts at a young age.

    Below are six quotes from people who understood the value and complexity of lifelong learning.  Their wisdom has remained relevant through the ages.

    Lifelong Learning Quotes

    “It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.” – Albert Einstein 

    “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin 

    “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” – Socrates

    “We learn from failure, not from success!” – Bram Stoker 

    “Change is the end result of all true learning.” – Leo Buscaglia 

    “Learning is not child’s play; we cannot learn without pain.” – Aristotle 

    Three Ways to Prepare Children for Lifelong Learning

    Lifelong learners

    1. Ask Questions

    Learning is facilitated through the kind of questioning described by teacher Jay Trevaskis in the article mentioned above. Rather than giving answers, adults help children become lifelong learners by helping them identify questions that pique their curiosity. When we help young people make associations between what they are studying at school and the world outside of the classroom, they learn that everything in the universe is connected, that lifelong learning is an endless process.

    2. Let Them Fail

    Most adults know that learning occurs when we are willing to risk failure. But with today’s focus on high-stakes testing, many parents feel the need to protect their children and teens from setbacks and failure.

    Middle school teacher Jessica Lahey wrote about the fallacy of this type of thinking in her recent article at The Atlantic, Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail. Her wise words, “This setback will be the best thing that ever happened to your child,” is a concept supported by research over and over again.

    With caring and encouragement, adults can help young people use mistakes and failures to facilitate lifelong learning. Like Aristotle believed, there is often pain involved. And that’s a good thing. For ten parenting guidelines that help kids learn from mistakes, check out my article at Psychology Today, Mistakes Improve Children’s Learning.

    3. Give them Learning Experiences

    Learning through experience, not just from books, is one of the best ways to give youth the skills they need for lifelong learning, living, and working in the 21st century. Particularly in the teen years, service-learning provides experiences that nurture critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and the ability to see the world as an interconnected community.  We prepare children for positive service-learning experiences in elementary school, through projects that involve them in their communities.

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  2. Emotional Intelligence: A Toolbox for Success

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    by Marilyn Price-Mitchell PhD Are you raising emotionally intelligent children? Is your child’s teacher building a culture of social and emotional intelligence in the classroom? What methods are working?   Emotional intelligence has become a popular term since Daniel Golemanauthored his book with the same title in 1995. Several decades of research not only confirms... Comment
  3. Reducing Homework Stress

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    By Lori Lite Just say the word homework to most teens, children, or parents and watch their whole mood change as every cell of their mind and body heads into stress mode. Holidays, weekends, and downtime is a great time to have a new look at how you and your... Comment
  4. What to Expect in Kindergarten Math

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    By Amy James It’s hard to believe that your baby is growing up and doing mathematics! Math is a big part of your child’s day in kindergarten. Your child will be exploring, experimenting, counting, sorting, and explaining. Young children often have trouble with symbolic concepts. For this reason, the early childhood classroom... Comment
  5. How to Be Best in Academics

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    Being best in academics can unlock a lot of certificates for your C.V. It’s better to start getting them know for a scholarship in Harvard A good degree gets a good job 1 Set targets. Always know why and what your working for and why. As well as get motivations. Mostly try... Comment
  6. 10 Reading Apps for Kids Who Hate Books

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    From fairytales to Harry Potter, you’ve tried everything to foster a love of books in your reluctant reader, but he still prefers his Wii to curling up with a childhood classic. It’s time to throw your old motivational tactics out the window. Today’s technology brings together the fun of video games... Comment
  7. The Homework Debate

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    By Johanna Sorrentino Every school day brings something new, but there is one status quo most parents expect: homework. The old adage that practice makes perfect seems to make sense when it comes to school work. But, while hunkering down after dinner among books and worksheets might seem like a natural... Comment
  8. The Benefits of Team Sports

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    By Lucy Rector Filppu The stereotype of the cutthroat, pushy Little League coach is all too familiar to most people. Why, some parents ask, should I subject my child to competitive team sports if that’s how it goes? For one thing, the news. Today’s generation of children is fighting the worst... Comment

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