Lifelong Learning and Educators: Do We Really Need to Pursue Further Studies?

‘Accomplished’ is a word used most often than not to describe fulfillment or the realization of one’s goals. Although the maximum potential reached in any endeavor is clearly of a subjective perspective, the demands of both the current and emerging job markets have become quite challenging, thus rendering further education an essential element to keeping abreast not only in the workplace but in an ever-evolving society. ‘Lifelong Learning’ as it is now widely known, has become a staple in further advancing our own education as well as establishing an even stronger presence in class. Perhaps the most crucial question an educator might ask himself is, “Do I really need to further my studies? I already have a job!”

By Katherine Reilly, Author, Teacher Trainer

It is a fact that many educators might acknowledge the idea of furthering their studies, not only a waste of time, but an insult to their achievements up to that point. However, the truth will most certainly surprise you, as it has become not only an option, but an obligation to adopt the role of student once more.

Expanding Your Network

What are the latest trends and developments in ELT? Any new techniques which could add a new flavour to your lesson? Taking part in seminars and conferences, subscribing to ELT blogs and magazines, will acquaint you with other professionals in your field. This will in turn lead to the exchange and integration of fresh ideas, while broadening your mindset to new perspectives. The global ELT community is a particularly large one and is continuously expanding. Make the best of the network and become an active part of it.

Employability

Sustainability is an element intricately intertwined with adaptability. Our worth as professionals is not only defined by our achievements proudly displayed on the walls over our desks, but also by our current endeavors in expanding our knowledge and skills according to the current demands of the market. ELT goes hand to hand with unremitting dedication to broadening our horizons and in turn, securing a marketable image in an extremely competitive workplace. Just remember that knowledge and education do not always translate into certificates and degrees. Implementing said knowledge in class is the ultimate testament of our efforts to evolve and secure a position in the market.

 

Commitment

How dedicated are you to your profession? What motivates you upon entering the classroom? Self-improvement is an incentive every educator must adopt with the ultimate goal of enhancing our skills, thus offering the best to our students. Hours upon hours of attending classes, expanding your knowledge and incorporating new educational techniques will eventually bear fruit when put into practice. The feeling of satisfaction upon delivering an improved and refreshing lesson will without a doubt boost your morale and will instill the desire to further dedicate your efforts to what defines you as a professional educator.

Developing Critical Thought

It is an unfortunate fact that in today’s global world, many learners are passive recipients of knowledge, unable to distinguish fact from opinion. The overflow of information which they are constantly exposed to has to a specific degree hindered their capacity for sound judgment, designating the need for critical stimulation an imperative one. Are we as educators equipped with the suitable tools to guide them through the learning process, that will one day make them both active and thinking members of society? It is every educator’s responsibility to inspire his students in cultivating their individual thinking; a responsibility which in no case can be fulfilled if the educator himself is limited to a specific range of thought, lacking any desire for spiritual growth or achievements. Lifelong learning does not only expand your general worldview; it provides a unique frame of mind when observing, assessing and reacting to challenges.

Being A Role Model

Our actions in many ways influence our immediate social circle. Be it colleagues or students, our dedication to learning will not only prove to be an inspiration, but also an incentive for others to follow suite. Balancing a professional and a personal life while at the same time devoting time to our personal evolution, is a feat that inspires admiration and respect. Renowned scholars, contemporary ones and of ages past, have in many instances declared that we are always learning. Those who proclaim otherwise are unfortunately blind to the fact that the accumulation of knowledge is an infinite process, one which we should wholeheartedly embrace and encourage others to pursue as well.

If for whatever reason you haven’t been convinced yet, just remember that personal evolution is the catalyst to overcoming all challenges in life. As individuals we must find the strength within ourselves to advance, prevail and most importantly, live up to the standards we are capable of reaching throughout our lives.