October 30, 2011

There are no limits to learning

Having recently attended a conference at a local university I noticed it was filled with individuals who were passionate about finding ways to engage their communities to learn. 
The conference was a collection of individuals and educators that came together to promote the benefits of learning and to present a variety of interesting topics lead by highly respected educators from across Canada. The seats were filled with people who were currently enrolled in educational programs, many of them 55+ who had a passion for learning. Some were studying a second language confident that this might keep their brains stimulated and strong.
It became evident that there are many people who clearly believed that learning starts at birth and never stops.  
How do we activate lifelong learners?  Imagine if there were more people who could accept that there was a microcosm of information out there that they didn’t know?  What if more people were open to the possibilities of learning new things or new ways to do something? According to a leader in the field at this university we must first “unlearn to learn”. 
To kickstart learning we must unlearn our fear.
Sometimes we joke that what we learned at an early age has stuck with us and is the foundation for our actions. We have old habits and some of us are very set in our ways. However, as our society changes and we are faced with problems in our families, communities and in our world, we might need to look at learning new approaches.  Maybe what we normally have been doing isn’t working anymore and so we must find a way to work more collaboratively with the willingness to adapt and learn new ways of thinking and perhaps more creatively look at our problems.  We might have to approach a new situation with an open mind so that we can discover new ways to look at problems and to hopefully generate new more effective solutions.
 We all have hidden potential and with support we have the ability and confidence to realize it. Check out TED Talks or local TEDx events which cover a wide range of subjects to foster learning, inspiration and wonder.  They are designed to provoke conversations and learning.
Denise Kelly is a North Vancouver Boomer proudly living with her two children, husband and dog Mel.  She looks forward to sharing stories to motivate others.   Follow her on Twitter @TheBoomerVine or check out www.TheBoomerVine.com.