The Learning Revolution

Where do you think the United States stacks up when it comes to education in the current century compared to other countries? I believe that many would say that college education may have the brightest educators here, but I think we lag far behind in elementary and junior high/ high schools compared to other countries.

I know when I taught at a private school, I learned a lot about the Far Eastern and European school days. Most American school days last 6-7 hours: the Far Eastern schools would have 10-12 hour days. While Americans aren’t learning foreign languages for the most part until they hit double digits in age, other countries are learning 3-4 languages at the same time starting in first grade. Often the countries would have to compete to figure out of their students would be going on to college or if they would immediately have to enter a trade career.

Thanks to the internet, learning can be done 24 hours a day in a wide variety of subjects. People only lack the initiative and drive to acquire knowledge. Being a parent of a tween and teenager, I know how important it is to study the best learning methods for my children and help them retain what they are learning beyond the classroom.

I believe the school year needs to be extended to keep up with students in other countries. Whether this be a longer school day to get more hours in, or maybe adding an extra month to the school year, I think 180 days for a school year is not going to give the children of tomorrow a fair shake in the working world. Most full time jobs these days require people to work a minimum of 40 hours and often 45-50 hours to be competitive. We need people who can use both sides of their brain and learn team building skills to be able to think outside the box.

My title today is inspired by the book of the same name. I learned about this book through Mark Victor Hansen- it’s a monster 500 page plus reading experience, with tons of quotes and facts/ figures to illustrate the dense text. Written in the 1990’s, a lot of what the authors discuss has come true regarding learning environments, the internet and the accumulation of information. I’m only 100 pages through the book but I’m taking copious notes and will report back to you what I find most interesting and necessary to ponder.

I believe it’s very important though to acquire as many languages as you can through the years- we live in a multicultural world and you expand your horizons and career choices simply by the fluency of language. I know that I’ve been able to get better pay at certain jobs due to my multilingual capabilities. Go to the library and take out textbooks and audio materials to learn a foreign language. Find people in your area who may be willing to form study groups and/or give you practical applications to use the language in active conversation.

We are in a society where if you aren’t keeping up in learning new information, others will pass you by within a year or two. Your brain doesn’t fill up with everything you need to know once you finish high school, college or graduate school. Continuous learning is the key to survival and thriving in modern society.

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