lifelong learners
The Creation of the Lifelong Learner « Cooperative Catalyst

Mommy!!!  BUG!!!”  Thea screams at me as we walk around our deck.  ”Lookit mommy, bug,” she runs to me grabs my hand and pulls me near. Behold; the lifelong learner.

Children are naturally curious; if you give them a box they are not allowed to open, they will beg and beg until they finally get to peek inside.  If you tape a box on the floor of your classroom, they will continue to guess at its purpose even past the big reveal.  Children do not need rules to be curious, or even strategies. They are born with this ability.  Now as educators we may fine-tune these skills but schools cannot take credit for their natural curiosity.

So why is it so many schools have a vision statement that includes “creating lifelong learners?”  Why this need to take credit for something they have not indeed created?   Do schools really think that children are not learners when they first enter the hallowed hallways and they therefore need to be fixed?   What an offensive statement to parents everywhere.  Yet schools and the rigidity of some classrooms can often be the reason that the lifelong learner is stymied.  Schools end up breaking the child’s curiosity only to try to take credit for it being re-built.

I would like to see a school with a vision that declares they want to “maintain lifelong learners.”  I would like to see a vision in which children are recognized as the insatiably curious learners they truly are.  We have to change our schools to allow time for curiosity and true exploration.  We are not in the business of creating robots, and yet, that is the direction our government wants to push us.  Bring back the curiosity, maintain the lifelong learner, and perhaps then our system wont seem so broken.

The Great Courses

If you are a lifelong learner or know someone who is, I recommend The Great Courses which are a series of college-level audio and video courses. The Teaching Company produces and distributes over 500 of them. Notable instructors and experts create the wide variety of interesting and entertaining lectures. The categories range from English literature, philosophy, science, photography, history,…

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Being infinite, God is inexhaustibly interesting. It is impossible, therefore, that God be boring. His continual demonstration of the most intelligent and interesting actions is volcanic. As the source of every good pleasure, He Himself pleases fully and finally. If that’s not how we experience Him, we are either dead or sleeping. It is therefore astonishing how little effort is put into knowing God. … Let us pray that our infinitely great God would open our eyes and hearts to see Him and seek to know Him more.
—  John Piper
A Lifelong Learner: One of Many “Bodega Stories”

For the Summer Issue of our magazine we decided to ask you all to share your stories of the diaspora. To kick of our Stories of the Diaspora series we have Amaris Castillo (Bodega Stories) who captures the stories of the people, mostly immigrants, who visit her father’s bodega.

She shared with us the story of her uncle whose love for education pushed him to enroll in school and despite the odds graduate and obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. Check out his story at the following link. (

A new culture of night schools?

A new culture of night schools?

Writing in the Guardian on 19 June, David Lammy MP proposed that,” A new culture of night schools would transform our workforce”. He said, “We must resurrect the evening classes that once allowed people the chance to progress in jobs, so British firms don’t have to look elsewhere for skilled workers.” You can read the full text of the article here.

His description of how his mother benefited from…

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Top UX Links from June 2015

Just a few links from June:

paul-muaddib asked:

The Old Soul is more inclined to be a lifelong learner, constantly feeding his thirst for insight through his own persistent efforts. His learning has not been forced into him through education or learned out of obligation, but has been absorbed out of curiosity and personal choice. I love your old soul..M

This was just the best thing ever!!

Feminist Questionnaire - Manon Van Mill

Manon is (okay, I am, so if there’s a lot of horn-tootin’ now you know) a lifelong learner and happy camper studying Outdoor and Experiential Education at Queen’s University. She has volunteered at Compass Centre for Self-Directed Learning in Ottawa, Ontario for one and a half years, worked in outdoor education for five, and studied thinks and feels formally (‘Bachelors of Cognitive Science, Specialization in Psychology’).

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Name: Manon van Mil

Age: 23

Do you consider yourself an advocate for mental health?

Yes! I am a mental/health advocate under construction. (Constantly under construction, like the domain I supposedly own but better.) I try to be involved with initiatives that directly and indirectly promote mental health and stay up-to-date on qualifications such as Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).

How did you get involved with Compass?

I met André Morson, my neighbour and a co-founder and -director at Compass, on our shared porch in November 2013. After an informal informational interview, I began volunteering in January 2014.

How has working with Compass changed your outlook on life?

Compass has completely changed my perspective on education; I now know that there are alternatives to conventional and even compulsory education that allow young people to thrive.

It has also changed my perspective on the role of environment and education in mental/health. Young people at Compass clearly benefit from being more in control of their lives! Read teens’ stories at to learn more.

Finally (well, for the sake of your time, my fingers, and this interview), I have become more self-directed and self-disciplined being around young people who embody these strengths. :-)

What is your favourite thing about Compass?

One of my favourite things about Compass is its value system, which includes autonomy, equality, and inclusivity.

I also love classes. I have taught six at Compass and each has been an incredible adventure in its own right. These classes are conceptualized throughout each week based on teens’ requests and feedback, then they transform before our eyes to take each participant’s knowledge, experience, and perspective into account.

Why do you like working with youth?

I like being surprised.

Who is your role model?

As I get older, taller, and (hopefully a little bit) wiser I look up to more people, but one role model who has stuck with me is Pippi Longstocking.

What do you do on your own time for self care?

I walk. Lift up weights that are heavier than me. Stretch, dance, move (a lot). Eat (a lot). (Try to) sleep (enough). I reflect, kiss my reflection, read, and write.

How do you make the world a better place?

Thank you for asking how I do, not how I will, make the world a better place! Firm believer that everybody already counts, here. :-)

I try hard, for myself and others, every day. I act inclusively and try to be mindful of the impact my actions have on people, other animals, the environment–and myself. And I am part of a movement that empowers young/people to create meaningful lives for themselves.

What would you like to see happen in 2015 in Canada? Globally?

There is so much that I would like to see happen in Canada and globally in 2015. To paint in broad stokes, I want education options for Canadian young/people to diversify. I want our education and healthcare systems to adopt new protocols that reflect mental/health research (e.g. to include screenings for Adverse Childhood Experiences ala Nadine Burke Harris). Globally, I want great strides made towards accessible education for all people regardless of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or not.

If you had to define yourself as one word, what would it be?


What advice would you give to any young person looking to start self-directed learning?

It is not easy to be in charge of your own education; to be an effective self-directed learner you must be intrinsically motivated. You can practice that.

The Wrong Train

The Viegland Sculpturegarden is the #1 site in Oslo according to some travel websites. I wanted to see it mostly because our dear friend told us it was her daddy’s favorite work. The son of a sharecropper, he became a successful chemist and lived many years in Europe. From what I have heard and observed over the years, he and his wife raised their big happy family to be lifelong learners and to…

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Lifelong Learner

I am working on research, a paper and a presentation, that will be presented at a conference in February 2016. I love doing research. I love obtaining knowledge and growing as both an individual and an educator. However, it’s also stressful because when the learning being done is important to the person learning, there is more pressure to truly get it right. 

I am feeling the pressure. I am growing, but I am stressed because this material that is filling my brain, although invigorating, is something so important to me that I want my final work to be not only rewarding in completion, but also useful and helpful to myself and others for many years to come. 

This is good stress. This is the stress that greatness is made of, that pushes us to be the superhero, the winner, gold-medalist, the one on the top of the mountain. Nonetheless, it is stress, and stress is tough to overcome. My brain is slowly frying out. My focus is quickly evaporating, and my coffee is no longer cold. Yet, there is still a battle to be fought and won. 

In the end, it is better to continue to grow, to learn and obtain knowledge, to live in a place of curiosity and question, to search for the answers for knowledge is power. 


DESIGNED BY EXPERTS IN NEUROSCIENCE AND EDUCATION Brainventures is an engaging game that helps kids become lifelong learners by teaching them about their brains.INSPIRED BY RESEARCH ON GROWTH MINDSET Kids who understand they have the ability to make their brains stronger perform better in school and are more successful later in life. They know they can improve, so they are eager to keep learning. Brainventures shows kids how to grow a strong and healthy brain by:* taking on challenges* trying new things* eating healthy food* exercising* paying attention WE MAKE LEARNING ABOUT THE BRAIN FUN FOR KIDSCharacters and gameplay inspired by the biology of the brain growth make the brain come alive in a playful and memorable way. PLAYERS GET TO…* Be a brain cell working inside the brain of a child* Take on quests to help the child grow brain power* Learn what activities make the brain stronger* Play mini-games that challenge attention, motor skills, critical thinking, and memory* Explore an exciting brain world full of quirky characters* No third party adsBrainventures was designed for children ages 7-10, but is fun for kids of all ages! Our freemium version allows families to try out Brainventures before purchasing. Brainventures Pack 1 (in-app purchase) includes access to 5 additional quests, three new mini-games, and 40+ freeplay levels. We will be adding more content and packs soon. Start your child’s Brainventure today!ABOUT KIZOOMKizoom is the maker of award-winning apps that empower kids to be lifelong learners. Founded by a neuroscience PhD, Kizoom inspires 21st century skills like confidence, curiosity, and persistence through games that teach kids how to grow a strong and healthy brain.


K-12 Curriculum

          The K to 12 Program is essentially Kindergarten plus 12 years of basic education. This program is used to provide adequate time for mastery of concepts and skills, develop lifelong learners, and prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship.

        The K to 12 Program has six salient features. Firstly, K to 12 strengthens early childhood. With this program, every Filipino child has access to early childhood education through Universal Kindergarten, where children learn the alphabet, numbers, shapes, and colors through games, songs, and dances, in their Mother Tongue. Secondly, K to 12 makes the curriculum relevant to learners. The program makes the lessons relevant, that is, examples, activities, songs, poems, stories, and illustrations are based on local culture, history, and reality, thereby making students across all levels learn the subjects easily. Thirdly, K to 12 builds proficiency through language. Students learn best through their first language, their Mother Tongue (MT). Twelve MT languages have been in use for instruction in classrooms across the nation, and in an attempt to improve pedagogy, other local languages will be added in succeeding school years. After Grade 1, every student can read in his or her Mother Tongue. Learning in Mother Tongue also serves as the foundation for students to learn Filipino and English easily, which will become primary languages of instruction in the higher grade levels. Fourthly, K to 12 ensures integrated and seamless learning. To ensure a mastery of knowledge and skills, subjects are taught from the simplest concepts to more complicated ones through grade levels in spiral progression. Fifthly, K to 12 gears up for the future. This program introduces Senior High School, which is two years of specialized upper secondary education, where students may choose a specialization based on aptitude, interests, and school capacity. The choice of career track will define the content of the subjects a student will take in Grades 11 and 12. Lastly, K to 12 nurtures the holistically developed Filipino. After going through Kindergarten, the enhanced Elementary and Junior High curriculum, and a specialized Senior High program, every K to 12 graduates will be ready to go into different paths – may it be further education, employment, or entrepreneurship.  

        The K to 12 basic education program aims not only to produce better graduates but also to improve the quality of life of the country as a whole. It will produce globally competitive graduates. Graduates of the K to 12 program will be perceived with increased competency and have better global opportunities. Students will learn more easily. The improved basic education curriculum is decongested and focused. Students will have more time learning core academic areas thus ensuring better comprehension. Students will be free to pursue their passion. Students will be allowed to choose elective subjects and specializations which they really want. The students will love learning more and will grow to their full potential. There will be savings on college tuition fees. Grade 11 and 12 takes the form of a two-year college education. In a public school, this is tuition-free. In effect, the number of year of college courses will decrease because of redundancies. Those who will pursue college will have fewer years to pay for. And a Higher opportunity for gainful employment or becoming an entrepreneur.

        The DepEd seems all set to add two more years to the country’s 10 year basic education curriculum. This is a very tough issue to crack. We think it is a clash between reality and the ideal. A question unanswered – is this for the common good? The truth is there are already many problems at the current 10-year curriculum and it has nothing to do with number of years. to enumerate a few – there are not enough qualified teachers to teach all the students; that is made worst with just too many students; there are not enough classrooms and schools to comfortably fit all the students (not to mention not enough bathrooms and water supply); there are not enough books; add the problem of poor quality books, on top of that there are not enough facilities and finally very high dropout rates. The latter, high dropout rates are being caused by something out of the education system but affect a large part of the population – poverty. There are just so many poor families and they are so poor that many of them cannot afford to pay for the already meager amount needed for the education of their children. Grade school and high school are free in public schools with parents needing to just spend on uniforms, fare and some expenses. The tuition which normally accounts for a very large share of the total expenses are free and yet most poor families can’t still afford of what is left for them to spend. It is not that the expenses are high, it’s just their income is very, very is this inability to afford the other expenses that has caused a very high dropout rate among students. This plan of the DepEd to add two more years will of course not solve any of the above problems. In fact, it will only extend all those problems by two more years. a longer basic education will also mean even higher dropout rates. Then there is the problem of additional expenses for the government. As of now, with the 10 year curriculum, there is already desperate lack of classrooms and schools. The public schools cannot turn the students away when they show up to enroll. to cope many public schools have crammed as many students as they can inside the classroom with classrooms crammed with chairs from wall to wall. Not enough, the schools conduct classes in at least shifts, in some instances classes held very early in the morning till late in the evening. With two additional years, the schools will definitely need to construct new buildings and classrooms or God forbid conduct classes 24/7.

        Overall, these arguments whether good or bad are good points of view on the K-12 program but I am with this program. This is because I feel that there’s a lot of things or a lot of good things that can come out with this program and they outweigh the bad things. Sure, the people and the government of this country will spend a lot of time, money and effort. Although, they employ a lot of things still it’s for the quality education that prepares them for a better future.

“With great power comes great responsibility.” -Spiderman       

  Education plays a great role in everyone’s life by building personality, improving knowledge and skill and providing feeling of well being of a person. Education acts as a power that can help people to stand with the full of potential and bravery, and this will be our key to open the door of success and fulfillment of dreams.      

  Education has been divided into three categories in our country as Primary education, Secondary education and Higher Secondary education. But now we are embracing ourselves to face that K-12 Program. 

  The K to 12 Program covers kindergarten and 12 years of basic education including six years of primary education, four years of junior high school, and two years of senior high school. It was done to provide sufficient time for mastery and develop lifelong learners. This program is a de congested education system producing globally competitive graduates.The features of K to 12 program is to strengthen early childhood education, and modeling best practices for senior high school. 

  A recent change in the Philippines’ educational system was implemented starting in 2011. President Aquino signed the K to 12 education into law In 2013.This new curriculum requires all Filipino student to have one year of kindergarten, six years of elementary schooling, four years of junior high school, and two years of senior high school. Our country has implemented this program it’s because we are the only one who still had only 10 years in basic education and this has always been a disadvantage for the students from our country who is competing in an increasingly global job market.In the year 2012 schools already implemented the curriculum. The government encourages parents to look at the positive side of the curriculum and not to think of it as having extra two years of high school. Graduates of the new educational system will already be given a certificate as a proof that they are already equipped to have a job.   

  This new education program has it’s advantages for each individuals. To the students it will produce them as a globally competitive graduates because it perceived  increased competency and have better global opportunities. Another is they can have a longer span of time learning, they are free to pursue their passion and lastly, it will reduce unemployment rate that can help to improve country’s economy. To the teachers, it will provide them opportunities to expose themselves to new learning and teaching methods that they will impart to their students. To the parents, their children doesn’t really need to spend money to pursue college because when they finished the program a certificate will be given to students to prove that they are qualified to get a job.This will lessen the financial expenses of the family.To the school, it allows more cost-effective use of school facilities as well as staff resources.