January 31, 2018
The 7 Pillars of Classroom Wisdom for Lifelong Learning
Your classroom is your temple of learning, and within its walls sage classroom wisdom abounds. In this haven, your young pupils learn the paths of critical thinking and lifelong learning. Here they attain the skills that serve them faithfully long after they've left you. Who better to prepare them for such a journey than a Zen master of teaching like you?
As a teacher you'll spend your career imparting your passion for learning to all your kids. You'll inspire them, challenge them, exasperate them, and ultimately open their eyes. What's more, they'll thank you for these gifts down the road, although maybe not in person. The point is you can provide sound classroom wisdom for them right now—it's never too late. Explore the 7 pillars below to provide a foundation for lifelong learning.
The 7 Pillars of Classroom Wisdom
Below are 7 pieces of timeless classroom wisdom that embody what lifelong learning means. These tenets will guide you and your students toward a unification of goals for achieving better learning in and beyond the class.
Ask essential questions
Here's the one piece of classroom wisdom that will always benefit students. Being a lifelong learner means always being willing to ask essential and meaningful questions. These are the questions that drive learners to practice deep thinking and to search for knowledge that matters. Deep questioning leads to exceptional thinking when answers lead to more questions and more in-depth inquiry.
At some point, every learner will make a mistake. Depending on where the student is at personally and academically, it may seem like the end of the world to them. However, it's actually a beginning of sorts. Every student in every classroom has the right to be able to learn from errors, and to know that mistakes don't define us—what we do with them does. Be sure to support "useful failure" in your teaching.
Lift up others
Part of maintaining a safe learning environment is encouraging your learners to be supportive peers. In a classroom of diverse and unique individuals, everyone will both triumph and struggle repeatedly. Some will learn faster than others and some will doubt themselves more. In the end, you are all there to learn. Showing support for each other in tough times makes that journey more rewarding.
Open your mind and heart
We often say that the Essential Fluencies aren't about hardware, but rather about headware and heartware. Lifelong learners always use the head and heart in equal measure, and keep both wide open to new discoveries and experiences. The classroom wisdom you give your learners here is this: be open to transformation. It comes through the process of learning, unlearning, and learning all over again.
One of the hallmarks of modern learning is the ability to collaborate with real and virtual partners. Many hands make light work—and in the case of your learners, more enjoyable work as well. Collaboration Fluency is a process full of classroom wisdom on building lifelong learning skills through stellar teamwork. Make it part of your daily practices to find ways for your learners to explore group work.
The day we stop being curious is indeed the day we stop learning. Life will present us with choices as to how we react to occurrences and situations that shape that journey. Our students are on a journey of learning in school that continues well beyond the classroom walls. A healthy and positive curiosity mindset is the greatest gift we can give them to continue that journey with.
Be globally minded
The Global Digital Citizen understands that we can govern technology for the benefit of both ourselves and others. It is a citizen that views the world as an interconnected community. Additionally, they realize we share technological and human experiences regardless of culture, status, or political/religious beliefs. These are the kinds of citizens we work for our students to become. And it begins in your classroom.
What are the tidbits of classroom wisdom you would want to share with every teacher and student?