I blog on Brain-Based Learning, Metacognition, EdTech, and Social-Emotional Learning. I am the author of the Crush School Series of Books, which help students understand how their brains process information and learn. I also wrote The Power of Three: How to Simplify Your Life to Amplify Your Personal and Professional Success, but be warned that it's meant for adults who want to thrive and are comfortable with four letter words.

Why Lifelong Learning Is More Important Than School

Why Lifelong Learning Is More Important Than School

If you're a house owner and an educator, you understand why summer is the house project season.

My wife and I have owned a house for 2 years now. We were first time buyers in May 2015; rookies unaware of what goes into OWNING A HOUSE. I am not all that handy, though I fixed a clothes dryer once, so we did not get a fixer upper. We got a home that's done.

Or so we thought...

Aside from a bunch of minor cosmetic things, you simply don't notice before signing on the dotted line and taking part in the American Dream, there are some major things we must address. This summer, we built walls.

Walls? You playing Trump now? asked Sean Thom, a good friend and soon to be an Ed Leader turned Politician.

Not quite. For one, I built 2 walls. Second, they are designed to support not divide. The only similarity between my walls and the ones Trump wants to build is that I couldn't get Mexico or anyone else to pay for them. Trying not to reach the level of ludicrousness our POTUS so often exhibits, I bought the materials and did the work myself. Actually, I did some of the work myself. Most of it, specifically the brick-laying and mortaring, was done by my father-in-law. Dude's got mad skillz.

I know, you're probably like: What kind of a vacation scam are you running here Oskar?!?! I mean, did I really invite my in-laws to my home so they can work their assess off helping my wife and I get the house into shape?


Lifelong learning old walls

The old walls

Notice how they lean and the washed out cement.

Anyway... Leszek, my father-in-law and I tore down the old walls that were in such bad shape that my 3-year-old enjoyed taking pieces of brick out and playing with them for the last couple of years. I mean, the house was built in 1931 and the buttresses (pro name for the walls) looked like they've been "fixed" a few times. But Minnesota winters weren't kind to them... It took Leszek (and me helping with what I could) 4 days to finish the whole project.

As I said before, I am not handy. Leszek most definitely is. We say zlota raczka in Polish, which translates to golden hand. He went to a technical high school in Poland and for years was a helicopter mechanic. When he came to the US in the early 90s, he worked some construction, before becoming a maintenance mechanic in food production plants. Currently, he troubleshoots the production line and makes sure the Affy Tapple machines make top notch caramel and chocolate dipped apples and other sweets.

It's easy to assume my father in law can do anything construction related, because he's worked with his hands all his life. This is why his daughter and my wife has asked him to fix the buttresses for us. This and the fact that the quote we got for the work was only a little less ludicrous than most Trump policies. Bottom line: Leszek was our only hope to get this done.

So when he came to town last week it all began...

lifelong learning tearing it up

Tearing it up...

Breaking stuff is the fun and easy part I found.

lifelong learning day 2

Day 2

Right side nearly done and left side torn down.

Sometime before noon on day 3, my next door neighbor came up to talk to us and commended my father-in-law on his excellent work. Leszek simply replied: It's my first time. First time?!?! Are you kidding me? Everyone assumed that he knows precisely what he's doing and out of the blue he says: It's my first time?

Exactly. Mad skillz my friend. Rather, transferable skills. Rather, the calm confidence and the mindset to tell yourself that you have what it takes to learn something new by doing it and doing it very well at 60 years old. My father in law did not go to college, but even a few years from retirement, he knows he can learn anything.

Same thing with technology. Sure, he calls me up asking questions when he has a hard time figuring something out, but i think it's more about the fact that he wants to reach out and see what's going on in our lives here. He also learned that it's smart to ask for help, because that helps and often speeds up your learning.

lifelong learning finished walls

Final Product

Not bad for a first time, ey?

I really need to ask Leszek how he came to realize all these things. How does he know? How is it that looking at him become a bricklayer and mason for 4 days, I know that he can reinvent himself and do something else should life demand it?

I'm sure he'd be anxious if he lost his current job. However, I know he'd be just fine; maybe better, in a short while. It's because he's committed to lifelong learning and he knows how to learn and pick up new skills.

And this is why we need a shift in education. A shift away from subjects and toward skills. To ensure our students' success, we need to transform the subject specific instruction into learning how to learn and do anything life and work throws at our students.

We need to instill the I can do it, no matter what it is mindset in our students and teach them transferable skills. Rather than telling them you have to learn this or that subject, we should use curricula to propel them toward the universal skills they'll need to perform jobs that don't yet exist. I believe this is the way to empower them to embrace and commit to lifelong learning.

If we don't actively teach skills and how to learn efficiently and effectively, many of our students will struggle in the future.

"Crush School 2: 10 Study Secrets Every High Schooler Should Know" is a book I wrote for this purpose specifically. It's a learning how to learn book, in which I provide classroom examples of how to learn anything effectively and acquire future-ready skills.

Crush School 2 is on sale for $0.99 today until midnight on Amazon Kindle only.

If you do want to help students become lifelong learners, you can equip yourself with a tool that will help you teach how to emphasize building skills and learning how to learn. It will only cost you 99 cents today and you'll be helping Crush School 2 reach bestseller status.

Crush School 2 for Kindle is available at that price by clicking on the button below. Please hurry, because the price goes back up to $4.95 at midnight.

You have the power to change lives. Use it often.