If we take the word learner and think of it in its purest form, it simply means a person who is still learning something. We often talk about the learners within a classroom or a school and the focus falls on the pupils, but is it not important to actually step back and take in the broader picture, asking the question that are we not all learners? At its core teaching aims to develop an individual and move them on from one point to another. This happens through the experiences, interactions and dialogue that happens between two individuals.
This week I have had the privilege of being part of the Bury NQT conference where NQT’s across Bury had the opportunity to come together and develop their knowledge and understanding of what makes a great teacher. We were very lucky to spend the day with Andy Griffith, who has developed and documented a means by which to plan and approach learning based on his and his colleagues observations of thousands of lessons. It struck me as Andy talked that every teacher are themselves learners and throughout the day Andy made the point that if we are going to make learning the best it can possibly be, we must value the fact that the journey towards excellence will never end, because we should always be striving to improve.
I felt that the key message that Andy put across was that as teachers, it is up to us to “switch on” the learning experience for our children through developing their autonomy and a belief in always striving to develop someone’s personal best. Every individual is different and carves out their own path in life, but if we as a profession can help shape that path through promoting the belief that anyone can succeed and anyone can aspire to change the world, then surely our children will grow in an environment where anything is possible.
A good learner is someone who grows to understand that learning never stops. Everyday brings something new and our daily lives are constantly filled with all the complexities that the world around us presents, but the key is embracing these aspects as part of the learning cycle. To grow and develop we must learn to see the world around us for what it is; a place where anything is possible and everything is a learning curve. Our children deserve the chance to become good learners, through being “switched on” and developed by practitioners who believe in making a difference. Therefore, being an active learner should be the focus of every teacher, because learning is the tool by which we change the way we think and ultimately change the world around us.