Many of us teachers don’t work at the moment being summer and all but it also gives time for self-improvement, catching up with the news of the world, doing courses, professional and recreational reading and more. In the current “knowledge economy” as some would say, being an autodidact or at least an autodidactic self-improver if that’s a thing, is easy. Let me share my recent favourites with you.
The advantages of self-learning
“The difference between self-directed learners and everyone else is as soon as school or work stops serving their life goals, they don’t stick around. They ditch the well-trodden path, bust out the map and compass, and cut cross-country to virgin territory…self-directed learners take full responsibility for their educations, careers, and lives.”
“The real shocker is that more of us aren’t embracing the current age of access to mastery of any topic. But that may not be so surprising—most of us were taught to be passive learners, to just “get through” school. It’s easy to be lazy. The rewards of becoming an autodidact, though, include igniting inner fires, making new connections to knowledge and skills you already have, advancing in your career, meeting kindred spirits, and cultivating an overall zest for life and its riches.”
Free online courses for professional development
If we’re at self-learning: I don’t know about you but I totally love Coursera, edx and their little sisters. MOOC is an amazing opportunity to learn free of charge, to interact with like-minded people all over the world. I tend to get very enthusiastic and sign up for tens of courses and then of course, end up not doing them. But now, with all this time at my hands… 🙂
Learning How To Learn is a very energetic, easy to understand course about the biology of the brain, the studies in the area translated into easy to apply tactics. It started last week but you can still catch up.
Teach English Now! Second Language Reading, Writing, and Grammar also started last week and it helps with the problems and approaches to help learners read, write and integrate grammar into the classes. They also have a similar course for Listening, Speaking, and Pronunciation which will start on the 1st of August. These are all part of a teaching specialisation so if you pay, you can get an official certificate as well if you’re into that kind of thing.
There’s also a self-paced course about Blended Learning on Coursera that you can start whenever you wish, it looks good for a quick overview and for some tips and strategies.
The next hype: virtual reality
There’s always a hot topic in technology that defines education as well. As mobile apps or even MOOCs themselves not long ago, now it’s about virtual reality that slowly but surely approaches every day use.
“It seems like a crucial time to jump on it, mold it, direct it and fashion it in a way we think serves our mission,” according to an academic coordinator. “The best way to do that is to get in on it early and to figure out what we want to do, to make the mistakes we’re going to make inevitably.” Read more about it here.
Also with recent hype, here are some good thoughts about Pokémon Go and its effect on education. “The magic (if you want to call it that) of Pokémon Go isn’t the technology, but what the technology unlocks inside the person using it. If Pokémon Go is meant to inform the work of educators, let’s focus on that, rather than the technological tool itself.”
Learning by walking
Many studies support the advantages of walking alone to improve creativity or learning. “Creativity seems to come more freely when we’re able to utilize the parts of our brain that are less connected to reality and more free flowing in nature.” It doesn’t have to be walking of course. It can be meditation, daydreaming, cooking, anything that turns your conscious mind off for a while and gives it a break. Read more here.
So don’t spend all your autodidactic efforts reading, writing and on exercises: go out and learn by not learning.