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Thoughts on Lifelong Learners

Page history last edited by Bev Wood 14 years, 1 month ago

Competency as learners/ behaviors of learners

Once you have learned how to ask questions--relevant and appropriate and substantial questions--you have learned how to learn and no one can keep you from learning whatever you want or need to know. (Neil Postman)

Some characteristics of learners include developing methods of inquiry, not accepting answers if others, and to question facts and conclusions. In other words, learners are supported in developing questions.

Effective learners demonstrate the following strategies and characteristics:

1. Confidence in their ability to learn

 2. Enjoy solving problems

3. Rely on their own judgment

4. Not fearful of being wrong, but the do recognize their limitations.

5. Do not answer quickly. Delay judgments until they have adequate information and time to reason.

6. Flexible. Can shift to other perspectives. Assume that all answers are relative. Realize that “it depends”. Welcome and listen to the opinions of others. Contingent thinking means that the response does depend on the learner.

7,  Respect for facts. Distinguish statements. Remember that data is information in need of interpretation.


Teachers can perform in certain ways to support lifelong learners.

1.    Does not tell students what he/she thinks they should know. Students can figure it out.

2.    Discourse with students is questioning. Teachers utilize convergent and divergent types of questioning. (Defined below)

3.    Teacher does not accept a single statement as a response to a question. Requests elaboration and  additional thinking or rationale. However, also asks for the opinions and thoughts of others.

4.    Encourages student-student interactions instead of teacher-student interactions. Is not a mediator or a judge of statements.

5.     Rarely summarizes positions taken by students on learning that occurs. By doing so, closure is avoided and students are encouraged to keep thinking.

6.    Lessons developed from the responses of the students, not from any determined to logical structure. The teachers not inconvenienced by quote wrong answers, but pursues the thought process.

7.    Each lesson proposes a problem for the students. Students become engaged in activities to produce knowledge.

The learning activities can be:








8.    Measure success in terms of behavioral changes and students. Success can relate to the frequency, relevance or cogency, conviction of challenges, tolerance for diverse outcomes



Attached are two interesting commentaries on questions as a means of teaching: 

The first is more general, about using questions in class and in learning. It is from the Tomorrow's Professor series.



The second discusses the 5 types of questions, how and when you might use them with examples.


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