Jun 8, 2020
Welcome to Episode 41. Today’s topic centres around the character strength known as ‘love of learning’.
If ‘love of learning’ is one of your signature strengths, you’re likely to be someone who enjoys learning for its own sake. This goes beyond curiosity, where you might be interested in finding out why or how something works in a certain way, to find out facts or information about something, whereas ‘love of learning’ is a deeper thirst for the process of learning rather than for the answers themselves. According to the VIA, “Where curiosity is often associated with a great deal of energy and a drive to gather information, the lover of learning is often more contemplative… It has important motivational consequences because it helps people persist through challenges, setbacks and negative feedback”.
Given our current situation, anything that can improve our ability to persist through challenges and setbacks is likely to be helpful, so tapping into our strength of ‘love of learning’ at this time can be a useful endeavour. It may be that this is a signature strength of yours, or one that you would like to work some more on. There are a number of ways you can explore this, from joining a book club (there are many virtual ones around) to learning a few new words every day, to trying out new recipes in the kitchen. The VIA website also has a few suggestions, but let your imagination run wild and come up with your own ideas of how you can explore this strength further. Set yourself little challenges and jot down your thoughts as you go along to keep a record of whether you are enjoying certain learning experiences and types of learning more than others, and why, what you have learnt, how you feel when you are learning something new, how you are handling daily challenges as your ‘love of learning’ exploration develops and so on.
Think also about your everyday life as a teacher and your CPD. Granted, in the current climate, thinking about formal professional development or planning to attend any courses may be the furthest thing from your mind, but I’d invite you to look at this differently. You are in a unique situation none of us have experienced before, and you are having to adapt at a phenomenal rate. Chances are, you are learning things about epidemiology and public health, about politics, and about yourself and the people around you every day. You are learning new ways to teach, new ways to interact, new ways to live. You are developing new professional and personal knowledge every day. My suggestion is this: Whilst all these adaptations can be incredibly stressful to go through, is there something positive you can draw out of this in terms of your professional development journey? Is there a way you can formalise what you’re learning so it forms part of your on-going CPD record? You may wish to discuss this with your head of department or head of year, or whoever your line manager is at school. Can you use what you are learning as a springboard to delve into further learning and do this as part of your CPD? After all, learning isn’t just about going on courses. It happens every day! Why not keep a record of what you’re learning and think of ways you can apply it across different aspects of your teaching career, beyond the current crisis? It may be that you are learning something new about supporting children or colleagues through a crisis situation, or about how to have meaningful communication despite social distancing, or that you have become a bit of a Zoom guru and would like to delve further into virtual teaching models. Whatever you are learning, whatever has piqued your interest, you have an opportunity to delve further. Indulge your ‘love of learning’ and grab this opportunity with both hands!
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The book, by the same name, is coming out on Kindle on 18th June and on paperback on 21st August. It’s available to pre-order from major online book retailers and is jam-packed with evidence-based strategies for whole school positive education with case study examples from a wide range of schools from around the world. So why not order your copy now, so you will receive it as soon as it’s published?
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I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, For Flourishing’s Sake, have a great week!