20 February 2013

The Future Belongs to Learners

In between traffic, classrooms, tech devices, 

in between lesson plots, meetings, swift encounters and corridors, 

educators sometimes forget. 

The focus is on the now, the group of learners one has looking at us, out the window, at their mobiles under the desk. The drive is to get the syllabus across, to teach how to use a tool, to ensure that students complete the required tasks. 

Educators sometimes forget. At higher education, educators often discuss how prepared and ready students are for their academic studies. Debates on college readiness linger and multiply. 

Academic behaviour - or lack of; academic knowledge and skills, cognitive strategies.

Critical thinking ranks high - but it always has. Self-motivation and learner autonomy as well - or at least in many countries.

Motivation is always based on the SELF - it cannot be imposed. Guided, perhaps, but one cannot motivate another. If motivation is to be perceived as a physiological element, then only the self can motivate. The SELF has to have motivation in the first place. Educators/others, can only spark those seeds of motivation further. 

Learner autonomy, a delicate issue. There are times when after going step by step with a class on what learner autonomy entails, at the end, their attitude continues to be the spoon-fed attitude that years of previous education ingrained into them. And so I learn too. Learner autonomy is a more complex process than it appears to be.

Nevertheless, students learn.

Students adapt.

Students succeed.

Today my students are digital learners, dealing and juggling with the same issues as so many of their peers around the world. 

Their individual world may appear different on the surface, yet they share more in common with peers around the world than previous young generations who did not have a global network at their fingertips. 

My students have pride in their achievement; they carry the responsibility of the future. 

And it is in this space of in between, in between college readiness, in between demands for success and learning challenges that educators forget. 

Educators are mere bridges to the future.  Educators fill students' days with words and rules, with tasks and assessments. 

Educators sometimes forget that it is the future students want to grasp. 

It is with this in mind that today I turn towards the future and possible suggestions for students themselves to reflect on their choices. 

And why not begin at the beginning? The beginning, where questions trigger thoughts. 

Shmoop Careers  offers a quiz to kick off reflections on the future, as well as Home Learning Centre, which offers another type of career quiz. 

If you are teaching a foreign language, talking about jobs and careers brings up a rich tapestry of vocabulary which students can, for example, include in a popplet with images to later share. 

Another activity would be to create a digital poster,  with each career portrayed with key adjectives and images. 

iCould has two other fun activities focusing on careers. The Buzz Test matches learners choices with a type of animal, exploring one's temperament, learning styles, relationships and stress management. 

Me Tycoon  explores how learners can develop their decisions, prosperity and achievements.

 It also includes further notes and lessons plans for the teacher. 

iCould has a wealth of resources to explore for students and teachers, including notes and resources  for teachers. 

You can also find more resources for jobs and careers at

as well as, 

Career One Stop and O*NET Resource Centre.

And when in doubt of which path to follow, why not browse through CareerQA and find out what professionals do in different fields of study and work. 

Do educators always forget?

Perhaps we don't.

Educators are the bridges holding the past and present, for the aspirations of the future.

What other sites would you recommend for learners to reflect on their futures?

The crop of the Infographic above is taken from The Modern Definition of College Readiness. 

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