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A Lifetime of Learning

This got me thinking a lot about how most people hate reading. And seeing as how "going down to the pub" to discuss matters has been replaced by social media … I don't know what that means for our education levels in general in society… I think it bodes ill… What follows below is an extract from "How To Think About Learning" by Mortimer J. Adler…

I think the deepest and most serious error we can make about education, and one by the way that is made on all sides by educators and teachers as well by the public generally, is to identify education with schooling; or even to suppose that the kind of learning that goes on in schools, and I mean everything from kindergarten to college, is the main part of education. Or to suppose that the kind of learning that children do in school is the main business of childhood, and that learning belongs to childhood primarily, and that most learning can be done in childhood, and that all adults have to do is to use the learning they acquired in school when they were very young.

Does anyone watching this program suppose that? I fear that many of you may. I would like to have you follow me closely now because I’m going to try to convince you of the very opposite. I’m going to try to show you three things.

The first is that learning is the process of a whole lifetime. The second is that adult learning is the most important part of anyone’s education. And the third is that schooling or learning in school is at best only preparation for the kind of learning that must be done because it can be done only in adult life.

Let me comment for a moment on that third point. Schooling fails miserably if it does not prepare young people to carry on learning after they leave school, to carry on learning for the rest of their lives. Anyone who doesn’t understand this fails to understand one of the most important points in the philosophy of education, the point that John Dewey repeatedly stressed when he said that all learning is for the sake of more learning, just as every phase of growth is for the sake of further growth. And so one might almost say that the whole purpose of schooling or of the learning that we do in school is to prepare us for the kind of learning we have to do and ought to do for the rest of our lives..

*This reminds me of My Hall of Mentors by Ntsiki MkhizeMy Hall of Mentors by Ntsiki Mkhize
"My Hall of Mentors" by Ntsiki Mkhize packs a lifetime of lessons into a quick and easy read. The author, a social entrepreneur and runner-up for Miss South Africa, has been mentored by several top South African entrepreneurs. She took their lessons and packed them into a book that represents several decades of hard-won wisdom.

She delivers the lessons quickly and succinctly. I particularly liked the section at the end of each chapter where she summarizes the key take-aways in bite-sized, ac...
. She made the process of adult learning more accessible by seeking mentors.

…“Let me explain what I mean by a whole lifetime of learning. We begin with preschool learning for the very young at home before kindergarten. And then the second phase of learning is all the grades, all the degrees of schooling from the beginning grades through college for children and young people. And then two subordinate kinds of schooling, adult schooling for those who didn’t have adequate schooling in youth and postgraduate schooling for those who want to specialize in their profession or some special field of learning. All this is schooling. And what I am talking about is something that comes after all schooling and out of all schools, adult learning, which is for everyone.”


Excerpt From: Mortimer J. Adler. “How to Think About the Great Ideas.” Open Court, 2010-06-08. iBooks. This material may be protected by copyright.