How Do Educators Learn?

Lifelong Learning

What are the ingredients of a successful educational conference or workshop?  What makes professional learning relevant and impactful?

Recently, I had the chance to sit down and discuss how educators learn with Michael Medvinsky and Ben Gilpin on the #UnearthED Radio Show.  The catalyst for our conversation was the renowned Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) conference.

Although we only spoke for 10 minutes or so, we dove into the very nature of professional learning.  I’ve spent the better part of the past five years researching digital age professional learning.  As part of my doctoral dissertation I interviewed innovative leaders across the country.  More recently, I contributed a few words to a book on PersonalizedPD.  Through it all, I’m more convinced than ever that it’s not about “how” we learn…it’s more about “why” we learn.

Memos and mandates do not drive learning.  We learn because we are open to the idea of becoming.  We learn because we are curious.  We learn because we understand that new processes and pedagogy might benefit our students even if the content does not change.  We learn because we are networked and connected.

“Lifelong learning is a mindset not a mantra; it is the lens and disposition we bring to every situation we encounter.”

When we open our minds to the possibilities that await we’ve created the very conditions needed for learning.  Click HERE to listen to the UnearthED Show, and hear Michael and Ben share their beliefs about how educators learn. (You can also subscribe to #UnearthED Show on iTunes).

I’d love to hear how you learn best, and why you think some educators might be less inclined to learn the same way.

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About Dr. Brad Gustafson

I am an elementary principal and author in Minnesota. You can connect with me at www.BradGustafson.com or on Twitter via @GustafsonBrad

Posted on March 19, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Agreed! Feel like everything comes back to the why and moving toward continuous improvement! Can’t wait to listen to the podcast.

    • Hi Allyson, While we are asking, “Why?” we should probably be ready to honor this question when kids pose it as well. If our best answer is, “Because we said so…” we may need to rethink our “What.” Make sense? Thanks for joining the conversation, Brad

  2. Thanks for a great post. So few ever bother to ask, just assume, which happens with kids too.
    I think for me it’s being able to play, fool around with something, and ask for help if I need it. Regardless of what it is I view it as a kid. Still not ready to grow up 🙂

    • You and me both, JoAnn! Growing up is overrated, and kids need us to have some level of empathy. We can be “the professionals” while still deeply valuing kids’ perspectives and needs, right? Thanks for sharing, Brad

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