Teachers as Lifelong Learners: Things You Must Know

What is Lifelong Learning for Teachers?


Why do you want to be a teacher? Challenging yet rewarding, teachers help students to acquire knowledge, competence, or virtue. Teaching is a career that has the potential to make a genuine difference and transform lives. Effective teachers have a long-term impact on students.


Teaching as a profession is also becoming incredibly challenging in this fast-paced world. “We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn, ” says Peter F. Drucker, one of the most well-known teachers and thinkers on management. Teaching is more than a process of delivering knowledge within a class. It’s about teaching people how to learn and helping students embrace change with open arms. Educators are responsible for preparing students with Lifelong Learning Skills (LLS).




“We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” – Peter F. Drucker



Professor John Coolahan (2002) pointed out key attributes that a lifelong learning teacher should have:

  • Knowing thyself: a deep understanding of her/himself.

  • Professional skills: being competent in subject areas, with a wide range of skills in teaching, · planning, evaluation, and interaction.

  • Flexibility: being flexible and open to self-renewal.

  • Teamwork skills: being prepared to cooperate and serve as a good team player

  • Empathy and compassion: being sympathetic and being able to engage those students who are alienated or have learning difficulties.


Efforts on making it happen

Teachers play a critical role in education. Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) Target 4. c ( the “teacher target”) advocates for supporting teacher professional development and recognizes that quality education can only be delivered by qualified teachers, underlining students’ right to be taught by qualified teachers, especially in the least developed countries and small island developing States.


SDG 4 Target 4.c: By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States.

Other member organizations in Southeast Asia are committed to achieving SDG 4 and all its targets with UNESCO. As a regional inter-governmental organization, the Southeast Asian Ministers of EducationOrganization (SEAMEO) prioritized Revitalizing Teachers’ Education as one of its agendas from 2015-2035, hoping to boost teacher quality with a series of professional development programs. Teachers’ Council of Thailand (TCT) initiated the development of the Southeast Asia Teacher Competency Framework (SEA-TCF) coincided with SEAMEO’s priority agenda.


Source: the Southeast Asia Teacher Competency Framework (SEA-TCF)


What Teachers Need to Know


Know your subjects matter

Good Teachers understand how to let their students positively approach the subject. Shulman (1987) emphasized the necessity for teachers to develop subject matter content knowledge. He also stressed that Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) is noteworthy.


PCK is the category that distinguishes teachers from content specialists. Teachers should know well about what they are teaching and how their knowledge are used and presented in a comprehensible way.

Source: Categories of the Teacher knowledge Base according to Shulman (1987)



Know yourself and teach better


Take reflective time in developing a unique teaching style and practice human goodness. Reid (1993) defined Reflection as a process of reviewing an experience of practice in order to describe, analyze, evaluate and to inform learning about practice’, which could be thought of as Lifelong Learning. Here are some ideas to become a reflective teacher and develop a lifelong learning mindset:

  • Ask students to fill out an evaluation form.

  • Request trusted coworkers to give you feedback.

  • Watch your lesson playback with your students and observe their react.

  • Set aside a specific time for self-reflection. Some targeted questions or exercising tools could be helpful.

Develop these states of mind and deploy them in relation to teaching practice, and lifelong learning mindset will craft your teaching outcomes.


Know your students and give feedbacks

It’s important to understand students’ needs, strengths and weaknesses, and provide students with meaningful feedbacks. There are many ways to get to know your students.


Before a class

· Kickstart your connections by daily greetings or morning meetings.

· Use icebreaking activities. Here is an idea lists.

· Create a family survey. For example, teacher Cathleen assigned a homework to students' families and requested them to describe their child.


In a class

· Give instant feedback with gamification features. This increases student engagement in the online courses with a greater degree of knowledge retention.

· Give constructive feedback with SPARK model.


After a class

· Task and Test: provide opportunities for students to demonstrate their levels of understanding.

· Data-based Assessment: use assessment data to identify student strengths and deficiencies.



Good Teachers are Lifelong Learners. They have a repertoire of skills, from profession to extra expertise. Thus, teachers should stay motivated to serve as lifelong learning leaders in society and equip students with skills to manage uncertainty and modern-day challenges.


 

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