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Students vs. Learners

I recently read a prescient article on how being a lifelong learner is no longer something we should hope our kids will be, but something that they will have to be to survive the 21st century workplace.

There’s a lot of confusion around what it takes to develop kids into lifelong learners. To simplify and clarify, here are signs of whether your kids are students or learners:

STUDENTS equate school work with homework. They mistakenly think that being taught to in the classroom and doing homework = learning.

STUDENTS aren’t doing school work if there’s no homework. Students think that so long as they get a high school diploma or college degree, they will be set up for success. They are passive participants in their education and leave a great deal of potential on the table.

LEARNERS equate school work with organizing, processing and retaining information, through homework, studying, and building mastery over their material. They know that external factors – grades, a degree – don’t guarantee success. They know that what really matters is developing themselves into autonomous, self-motivated humans in the process of accumulating their grades and degrees.

LEARNERS are active participants in their own education and benefit from exponentially stronger skills and confidence than their student counterparts.

STUDENTS focus on getting it done. LEARNERS focus on getting it done right.

STUDENTS focus on finishing the ‘what’ – the math homework, the English essay, the science project.

LEARNERS know that it’s not what they’re doing, it’s who they are – the quality of thought, focus and skill they bring to bear – while they’re doing it.
They know that learning to learn is the ultimate competitive advantage in school and life. 

Are your kids students or learners? Are you happy with their learning skills?

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