Fri. Jul 1st, 2022

We live in a society where immediacy gets results. We want quick fixes, silver bullets, and mass appeal. If marketing campaigns aren’t working, we scrap them and start over wasting time and thousands of dollars. Disposable containers fill our garbage bins because we don’t have time to store it, clean it, or reuse it. All of these examples are evidence of a growing impatience with sustained activity. That attitude permeates all that we do, and even as homeschoolers or educators, we are subject to this flawed urgency. What we fail to remember is that education, of all types, takes patience, repetition, and sequential actions.

Like a race, we must remember that education is a marathon. For marathons, there is much training that the runner goes through, and they have to build an endurance that overcomes distance, fatigue, weather conditions, potholes, and fellow runners. Sprint runners don’t have this same level of endurance, and they cannot sustain their skill very far. In the same way, our job as educators is to teach our students the skills that will take them the distance, the skills that they can use in learning and mastering the material at hand, no matter how they encounter it and from whom they receive it. Students need to be aware of other students around them and how they can benefit from cooperative learning in some cases – learning from the educators and fellow students in their midst, not as competitors, but as pace setters and coaches.

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Quick fixes to the educational system have only proven to be gimmicky at best. There may have been some spurts of progress, but foundationally, there is no replacement for learning how to learn, how to understand information, and how to manage it in order to apply it later. Many of our schools are struggling with getting information out so rapidly that they are skipping the steps of allowing the learning to happen. New programs replace old ones before the old ones have had a chance to take root.

If you are an educator, I challenge you to step back and think about the education you received. What was different about the programs from which you learned? Was there more emphasis placed on the basics of learning rather than a fad or trend? I can honestly say that in my case, I had a very good public school education with strong teachers who shaped my learning process and equipped me with learning tools, much like a marathon coach. I didn’t learn everything along the way, but not because my teachers didn’t try. What I did learn, however, was how to manage learning systems and techniques. That gave me the tools I needed to learn along the way, even as a marathon runner must make adjustments in the terrain as he encounters the unexpected.

If you are an educator, be the marathon trainer, not the sprint trainer. The long term benefits for your students and those with whom they interact will be well worth the intensity of the training.

By rahul