Students, teachers reflect on the importance of continuing one’s desire to learn

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Students, teachers reflect on the importance of continuing one’s desire to learn

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The most notable observation when describing high school students is that the large majority of their time is usually spent in traditional classrooms acquiring knowledge and learning.

However, several research studies today suggest that the learning process does not simply end after high school graduation. In fact, it continues throughout the rest of a person’s life.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.30.16 AMAs senior Isaac Oladipupo prepares to attend Vanderbilt University in the fall of this year, he said he believes that his love for Legos as a child has led to a current interest in biomedical engineering.

Oladipupo said he hopes his ongoing, voluntary and self-motivated pursuit for knowledge on the subject of biomedical engineering will continue throughout the rest of his life.

“I’ve always wanted to do engineering because I wanted to make stuff and I’ve always wanted to do something in the medical field as well. Biomedical engineering obviously combined that,” Oladipupo said.

Oladipupo, like many other high school students across the United States, said he considers himself a lifelong learner.

According to a study conducted by Pew Research released in March of 2016, 73 percent of adults refer to themselves as lifelong learners.

For example, the study found lifelong learners are defined as people who seek supplemental knowledge for personal and work-related reasons, and 61 percent of adults have little or no awareness of it, regardless of if they are a lifelong learner or not.

“I would say that definitely students here at CHS could be seen as lifelong learners,” psychology teacher Robin Pletcher said. “Many are going into careers where they will need to be constantly learning about new information that is coming out and staying current in their fields in order to be successful.”

According to the same study conducted by Pew Research Center, a desire to learn past one’s schooling years is mainly fostered in physical settings, such as schools, libraries and places of worship, as opposed the Internet, as people would commonly believe.

However, the Internet is still considered a prominent source for learning throughout one’s life.

According to freshman Danial Tajwer, the desire to learn comes naturally to him.

However, Tajwer said the Internet definitely helps when accessing pertinent information.

He said his interest in languages, history and politics was sparked when he was younger.

“I think my interest (in politics) first grew back when I was little and used to listen to the news, and I was shocked by the grandeur of the world and the beauty of different cities,” Tajwer said. “And then later on when I began to learn more, I wanted to know more about our fellow man, various creatures, various societies, various cultures, and then that desire (to learn) became insatiable.”

Tajwer added that his interest grew the most during his time in middle school.

“It was a random, organic process,” Tajwer said. “Or, humanities class might’ve contributed towards it, but overall it was more of an organic process than sparked by school.”

Similarly, Oladipupo said he became interested in learning during his middle school years.

“I gained interest on my own from middle school. I wouldn’t necessarily say the school had fostered my interest,” Oladipupo said. “You just do your work and if you find your passion, then that’s great.”

Oladipupo, like Tajwer, said that the Internet is where most people gain most of personal information, and is increasingly accessible.

 

However, OladipScreen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.30.26 AMupo said he also carried on his desire to learn outside the classroom to the university laboratory. Oladipupo said he attended a summer engineering program at Washington University in St. Louis for the past two consecutive years.

“It was cool to see what they do in person, which is something that really facilitated my interest,” Oladipupo said.

 

 

According to Tajwer, though, the Internet has opened the world for him in terms of accessing information and receiving a better representation of the world.

Tajwer said he reads an hour of news daily to access information.

He also noted that clubs such as Model UN and Debate Club help to encourage his learning as well.

“You get fascinating perspectives about other countries, you learn that the world is really multi-faceted, and that there are multiple views, multiple ways of viewing the same phone, the same concept,” Tajwer said. “Reading the news, incorporating the diversity and passion into every little moment you have in life, you really feel like empty without it.”

Additionally, the Pew Research survey mentioned earlier claims personal learners say they sought to strengthen their knowledge and skills for a mixture of individual and altruistic reasons. These characters are ranging from career growth to job insecurity.

According to Pletcher, a large portion of her learning was obtained through career growth.

“I would say I am exploring new things in the world of  psychology and being involved in the American Psychological Association (APA), which I am a member of, and reading publication that I come across is helpful,” Pletcher said.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.29.56 AM

She continued, “If you’re a lifelong learner it’s something that you are constantly doing. I’m always looking at new things that are coming across my path, like new studies in psychology, new findings, new experiments. It’s a continual process.”

Tajwer said he agrees that lifelong learning is partially directed towards future career growth. He said this is because of all the possible benefits it arouses in a young person’s or student’s mindset when focusing.

“When a passion does capture your attention in such a manner, you do kind of want to begin incorporating that into your professional plans, future, and educational plans,” Tajwer said. “Personally, I’m really interested in studying abroad, international stuff, doing multiple languages, etc.. I guess in terms of career, I cannot find myself in one area.”

“Reading up on things that you are interested in and learning new things about what you are working is a sign that you are always learning,” Oladipupo said. “That’s why I want to go into this field.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.30.21 AMAccording to the aforementioned Pew Research study, 74 percent of the American population who pursued personal or lifelong learning in the past 12 months, the rewards often tie in very closely with many psychological and social benefits.

Specifically, lifelong learning gives people a purpose in life where they will continually pursue a goal and meet various achievements along the way.

According to Pletcher, in today’s educational ecosystem, the Internet and other electronic tools will automatically democratize education and allow unprecedented access to knowledge, which shows a pursuit toward lifelong learning can be both personally and professionally helpful.

Pletcher said she agrees,  noting that keeping the mind active is beneficial in the process of lifelong learning.

“Whether it’s for me, psychology, or for somebody else, science or math or social studies or whatever it is that you are passionate about, that it’s good to be constantly exploring and challenging your mind to stay completely active,” Pletcher said.

According to Tajwer, learning languages and the various cultures of foreign countries can yield a lifetime of benefits.

“When you learn the (nuances) of another language, another culture, it opens up a world of not only friendships and possibilities but also a career path,” Tajwer said. “In English, we have this idea that most stuff that’s worth reading is in English, but the experience in English is absolutely unparalleled than (the experience) provided by  (other) native languages. The beauty of a language or poetry is lost within translation. Certain universities in Europe and other countries offer the opportunity to learn from a different perspective rather than an American perspective. I guess it also opens new career opportunities and horizons.”                                                               Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.30.32 AM

According to Oladipupo, mastering an idea or skill is essential to creating an awareness of learning and a successful pursuit toward an area of interest one might pursue later on in life.
Furthermore, Oladipupo also said different learning platforms and methods of learning depend solely on one’s passions and his or her willingness to learn. According to an article published by Beluve College regarding lifelong learning, being able to adapt to different environments and styles is a skill that can be honed through the continuous pursuit of learning.“Mainly, if it’s something that you really want to do, it will drive you to really want to do your work and do what you do well,” Oladipupo said.

He continued, “I’m pretty fortunate because a lot of people don’t know what they want to do, but I knew what I wanted to do. This is a good thing because you can keep your focus and focus on what you want to do, what you want to learn.”

In comparison to Oladipupo, Tajwer said he believes that learning is a mostly a motivation-dependent process where people who are most curious and knowledge-hungry are the ones that learn the most and often are the most intellectually satisfied with their lives.

 

“Perfection is unattainable, but the desire of attaining it is what motivates life-long learning,” Tajwer said. “Learning isn’t really a thing you acquire from a book.
Learning in a sense, when you get some kind of knowledge, some kind of information, it really captures your attention.”

Tajwer added that learning is not a process that ever stops, Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.30.43 AMeven if one leaves school and joins the workforce or pursues their dreams after graduating. In essence, learning is a concept that should continu
e to characterize one’s life past the end of one’s “formal” education.

Tajwer said he would cite his own passions and interest in the liberal arts, with an emphasis on languages, as an example.

“Language learning has really given me a great perspective on this: when you begin (to learn) a language, finally get to understand half these words, finally can read the news, and that’ll be good I can finally read the news,” Tajwer said. He continued, “I’ll be satisfied at that level (of language mastery), but then once you reach that level, you feel the plateau even reach higher, the bar goes higher. I need to reach this next level. I just need to perfect myself in that category.”

PScreen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.30.38 AMletcher said she thinks the idea of lifelong learning as a motivating tool for all people, regardless of whether they are students or adults will lead to people feeling like they will have a worthwhile future as the attainment of a goal is a concept that people strive to reach.

“(Mastery of learning) is something that you are continually striving for. It’s a progression. If you are looking at a lifelong learner,  you are looking at a certain future of satisfaction,” Pletcher said.

Oladipupo said, “Throughout your life, you need to keep up on everything. Reading up on things that you are interested in and learning new things about what you are working toward and just generally always learning.”

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