The ability to learn—whether through discovering new things or by accepting lessons from our past to prepare for our future—is one of the greatest gifts God has given humanity. Learning is part of life’s journey, and should never be considered as occurring solely within the classroom (though, of course, that’s a natural focus here at school).
In fact, at Lutheran High School, all of our teachers and staff constantly encourage students to be learning and growing in every area of their lives, at all times. Our hope is that the habits and perspectives they gain during their time in these halls and classrooms continue to spur them on with a lifelong passion for learning that helps them glorify God and be His ambassadors to the world.
Qualities of a Lifelong Learner
The funny thing is, one has to “learn to learn.” It takes focused effort to nurture the mental and emotional patterns that are geared toward absorbing everything life has to offer. It requires a proactive approach, and certainly doesn’t happen by accident.
What specifically do we seek to foster in our students that would tell us whether they’re progressing in their ability to learn? We seek to foster several primary qualities:
- Curiosity - Is the student interested in what they’re being exposed to? Do they actively ask questions in class and aren’t complacent or expect to be spoon-fed answers just to skate by in their performance?
- Observant - Does the student remain aware of what’s happening in their daily lives? Not just around them, but do they also observe their own thoughts and actions in the context of their schooling and look for ways to improve?
- Informed - Does the student stay aware of current events? Do they research topics to make informed decisions or express themselves in a clear way? Do they consider all-the- sides of a debate or take time to understand differing perspectives in areas of interest?
Obviously these aren’t the whole list of qualities that might define a lifelong learner, but they form a solid foundation for a growth mindset.
How We Model Lifelong Learning
Teachers and staff at Lutheran High School want to see our students learning every day, both inside and outside the classroom. We strategically craft lessons and study plans to encourage learning to continue once the class session is over, and to refine those critical thinking skills that will serve students well for the rest of their lives.
This includes infusing current events into lesson plans or using teachable moments to give examples of how the facts or principles that the students absorb in class remain applicable in situations they’ll face later in life. This means we don’t rely on the same old curriculum day after day, year after year. Our lesson plans are constantly evolving, keeping it current so students can be excited about what they’re able to learn and are getting the chance to do so in ways that connect with their unique learning styles.
Going Beyond Grades
But it doesn’t just end with the lecture listened to or the tests they pass. Grades are just one benchmark of learning, but if the teachers aren’t demonstrating a passion for education themselves, students aren’t likely to emulate the same appreciation for the opportunities they’re being given.
Our teachers take an active interest in students’ lives and find new ways to encourage new insights and observational techniques. This includes journaling activities, where students have a chance to be more introspective about their classroom topics or their personal circumstances. Teachers also often follow up with students who’ve graduated, discovering what was most effective in their schooling and what habits they’ve been able to take into college and their careers.
It also means connecting with students on current events, discovering what engages them in the media, the cultural hot topics that are most relevant to each generation of learners, and then ensuring our lessons incorporate those elements.
In the end, our hope is that each student feels equipped to always be learning, no matter where their personal and professional pursuits take them in life. And with each class that graduates from Lutheran High School, we’re confident that they have received the tools and strategies they need to learn and grow every day, as well as the passion to put those resources into action.