What Does Life-Long Learning Actually Look Like?

I was going to take the weekend off from blogging due to some different family responsibilities and long weekend plans, but this is a topic that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, so I thought that I would take a few minutes to write. Back in September when I applied for the Reading Specialist position in our Board, I indicated as part of my application that I would take Teaching English Language Learners Part 1 if I was the successful candidate. I just began the course now.

A comment on one of the discussion posts inspired this blog post. The comment indicated how educators are “life-long learners.” While I completely agree, I think that I’ve been even more intentional about my learning since starting this new position.

  • This started just after I applied for the position, when I decided to read some books about the Science of Reading. While I had some general information about this shift in reading instruction, I did not know as much as I would like to know. I thought that doing some reading on this topic would help me out if I got an interview for the position, but also help me out in my own classroom practice, as Paula and I continued to reflect on our program.

Some comments on this Instagram post, prompted me to then purchase and read, The Art and Science of Teaching Primary Reading.

  • When I later found out that I got the position, I heard from a fellow Reading Specialist that we were doing a book study on Uncovering the Logic of English. I knew that I would get a copy of this book, but I wanted to have a good understanding of what others had already discussed, so I decided to purchase and read the text. It really made me think differently about how much of English “didn’t make sense,” as maybe I just needed to learn more of the rules.
  • I then went to my first Reading Specialist PD Meeting, and received a copy of this Ministry Document. I love how we dug into this resource as part of our Professional Development. Having this Board PD definitely helps support life-long learning, as it has us exploring resources, connecting, and reflecting as a team.
  • Providing PD and supporting educators in my new role also inspired some of my reading choices. I appreciate the fellow Reading Specialists and consultants, who helped me choose resources to explore and even let me borrow one of them.

Some comments on this last Instagram post are also inspiring my current read: A Pedagogy of Play.

  • A goal of both our school and the Board inspired these next two reads. I’m glad that we’re looking at uncovering This Book Is Anti-Racist as a staff, and I’m interested in seeing how I can apply this learning as part of my position.

While I’ve always tried to read some professional books, attend some inservices, and engage in professional dialogue through Twitter, Instagram, blog posts, and in-person, I don’t think that I’ve ever been as intentional about learning and reflecting as I have been this year. Our monthly Reading Specialist Meetings at the Board Office certainly helps to support this focus on professional learning. I know though that the Reading Specialist position is only for five years max (assuming that the funding continues), so I predict that in five years or less, I will be back in the classroom in some capacity. This year has taught me that I need to prioritize professional learning in some way, regardless of if I’m in a classroom or in a Board position.

  • Maybe this will be through taking some additional AQ courses on topics of interest. I’ve always wanted to take Math Part 1. It could be time to do so.
  • Maybe this will be through reading more professional reads on topics that can help me in a classroom context: from reading and writing instruction, to STEAM and STEM ideas, to Self-Reg, to Culturally Relevant and Responsive Pedagogy.
  • Maybe this will be through expanding on my daily blog reads, and engaging in more conversations about what I read. This could be online, in-person, or a combination of the above.
  • Maybe this will be through joining some professional book clubs. Our Board usually offers some, and I might need to sign-up for more.

How do you make life-long learning a priority? It took the start of a new AQ course to really have me thinking more about the choices that I make. Maybe my sharing ideas and approaches, we can all benefit … as can our students.


4 thoughts on “What Does Life-Long Learning Actually Look Like?

  1. Aviva! I am definitely going to grab the Visible Learning text, as one of the biggest things I want to bring into my new position is a focus on documentation. I would also recommend adding some Angela Stockman to your #TBR pile! I think her ideas on Multimodal writing/creating would very much fit with what you are learning. I’m also ordering Kylene Beers’ update of her classic “When Kids Can’t Read, What Teachers Can Do”.

    I will also be massively cranking up the angle of my learning curve going into my new job. All my back issues of Make magazine will be on duty, as I work on my Arduino and Raspberry Pi skills, refresh my Makey Makey abilities, and really start to think about how to help teacher candidates integrate computational thinking into their practice. So much learning ahead.

    • Thanks for the recommendations, Lisa! I love Angela Stockmanโ€™s work and canโ€™t wait to read her next book on documentation. I need to check out the Kylene Beers book that you recommended.

      It sounds like you have some great reading and learning ahead. I hope you consider blogging about it. I will definitely be following your next learning adventure. Such lucky teacher candidates to learn from you.


  2. Shifting the Balance has been on my TBR list for a long time. The same authors wrote a great book called Whose Doing the Work and I really admire the way they approach teaching children to read. The Art of Teaching Reading is on my list for summer. I appreciate your recommendations here! I’ve been working on a M. Ed. and just turned in my last assignment. My first thought was that now I can look at taking the AQ course Teaching ELLs! HAHA I’ll be interested in reading your thoughts on this course.

    • Congratulations on turning in your last assignment for your M.Ed.! I hope you do get a chance to read both of these books on reading. I enjoyed them both and have returned to them at different points this year.

      So far, I really like the Teaching English Language Learners course. This is my first online course in a while, and I realized how much I miss an in-person component. The course seems longer than an in-person one, as the in-person ones I took were a blended model. I do like the discussion board dialogue and the meaningful activities. Thereโ€™s a lot of applying learning, which I love! I would definitely recommend this course.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *