Recently, I gave a workshop about lifelong learning to a group of about 50 university seniors from Japanese universities. This particular group of university seniors will work in the education sector (for example, at education companies or at public institutions) after their graduations. The event was organized by the students with an aim of building a learning community where they can come together for support and share insights learned through their daily work.
I was very impressed with how well organized the event was and the diversity of the presenters. My biggest takeaway from the event was the passion I witnessed and could feel from the students for improving education in Japan and for some of the students, globally. I am very excited for each of their futures and hope that they were able to gain at least a little insight from my presentation entitled, “Are you a Lifelong Learning Leader?”.
During my presentation, I shared with them three of the many lessons that I learned while working with Teach For Japan:
- Passion without skills, don’t pay the bills.
- Always be willing to challenge assumptions, but realize not everyone is always willing to be challenged.
- Reflect constantly and be willing to learn, unlearn, or relearn.
I especially emphasized point 1; I encouraged each of them to think explicitly about the knowledge that they would like to obtain and the skills that they would like to master. Coupled with their passion, if they are able to attain fundamental knowledge and skills, I truly believe that they can be the catalyst and leaders necessary to further build upon the strong educational foundations that Japan has already created and maintained for decades.
I also showed them a version of Did you know? and challenged them to imagine how Japan and the world will change during the course of their lives and careers.
I concluded by sharing with them 7 principles that I find helpful for being a lifelong learning leader:
- Dream. Dream. Dream.
- Learn daily and intentionally.
- Engage often in self-reflection.
- Be willing to learn, unlearn, or relearn, even when it seems like you have learned enough.
- Share your learnings with others.
- Do not be afraid to seek help.
- Realize learning is a journey and may lead to unexpected destinations.
I have already received feedback from some of the participants, and I am excited to continue some of the conversations that I started during the event.
I truly want success for each of the university students I recently met, and I hope that they continue on their Live D!perTM journeys.
Maurice L. Rabb