We are so fortunate to have many, many opportunities for lifelong learning right here in the Charlottesville area!
As I read through the post quoted below I thought about my venture into blogging for seniors. Since I have an IT/Web background, I volunteered to sponsor an after-school computer club at Jackson-Via Elementary School. Having read about the value of blogging for teaching reflective writing, I decided to focus on blogging. To learn more about blogs, I took an excellent class on blogging by Kristen King at the Writer House in January 2009.
After that introduction to blogging and to WordPress, I plunged right in. When I realized that one blog with so many different subjects did not make sense, I split up my efforts into two for senior citizens in C’ville ( Live & Learn! and Be SMART), one for JABA-FISH volunteers at Jackson-Via, and several for students and teachers at Jackson-Via including the blog produced by the Jackson-Via Computer Club. What fun –and I plan to continue this for many years to come!
I have taken those 10 steps mentioned below right here in Charlottesville, and you can too. There are many opportunities for face-to-face classes. besides those at WriterHouse, you might be interested in the classes at OLLI at the University of Virginia, at the Senior Center, or perhaps some cooking classes offered through JABA or Club Red.
And don’t forget that you can learn as much (and sometimes much more) through volunteering for projects. I am convinced that project-based learning is the most effective as well as the most enjoyable way to learn new things.
The post below, however, offers a new and interesting idea for lifelong learning – TeachStreet, an exchange between people who want to learn something and those who want to teach something.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a barter system here in Charlottesville for people to exchange hours of teaching for hours of learning or vice versa?
10 Steps to Life Long Learning
November 13th, 2009 by lily
Throughout our lives we are continuously learning new things – and forgetting old things. While it is almost impossible to not learn something new everyday, there are certain ways that one can proactively learn new things and continue to grow in many aspects – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Below is a list of 10 steps to lifelong learning. This is not a “must do” list or is in anyway set in stone, but is more of a guidance or suggestion list of things one can do to continuously learn something new and discover unknown worlds of possibilities.
1. Read – everyday. Reading is one of things you can do anywhere – a book can fit in any size purse, briefcase or sometimes right in a back pocket. Also, it is easy to read something everyday that interests you – politics, news, novels, the new diet fad – anything that gets you reading is worth the time.
2. Keep a “To-Learn” List. This is different from a “To Do” list. Instead, this is a list of things at some point in your life you want to learn or try. Some items can be life changing while others can be something small, but fun. The point is to start writing them down, and then begin crossing items off the list. A good list is one that is continuously having items crossed off and new items added on.
3. Try New Things. Try things outside of your comfort or knowledge zone. Doing something that seems completely in left field to you means exploring unknown worlds and could lead to unexpected possibilities and outcomes. This one is more about putting aside all fears, and going for it – you never what could happen.
4. Play. Have fun, and enjoy yourself. Just like laughter is some of the best medicine, having fun and playing around adds to the learning experience.
5. Start a Project. Find something you have always wanted to try or create ( it can be from your “To-Learn” list), and start doing it. Add time to your weekly schedule to focus only on your project, and see it through to the end. By the time you finish you would have learned a whole set of new skills and knowledge, and will have something you can be proud of and show off to friends and family afterward.
6. Challenge yourself. This is important – challenges add knowledge and keep things interesting. Try learning something that challenges you either physically, mentally or emotionally- and keep at it. Keep yourself motivated to overcome the challenge, and when it’s over you will have learned new skills and new things about yourself.
7. Meet New people. Not all knowledge is found in books, in fact some of the most interesting things come straight from the minds of our friends and family. Just imagine the world of possibilities each new acquaintance or friend could hold. People love to share their knowledge, so tap into the possibilities and see what others have to offer and what you can offer in return.
8. Teach Others. It’s pretty easy to read a book on knitting, but putting your knowledge into action is one of the best ways to learn what you know and pass it on to others. Not to mention that teaching is fun! Try teaching a couple of friends or family members, start a blog (like this one), or join TeachStreet as a Teacher!
9. Reflection. So you have learned some new things, maybe have read something profound or took a class by an amazing teacher who showed you a completely new world. Spend some time digesting and soaking in this new information through meditation, journaling or having an in-depth conversation with a friend or family member.
10. Never Stop. This might be last, but its very important. Always continue to grow and learn, there is never a reason or excuse good enough for stopping.