Educationists should be learners too

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Educationists should be learners too

Teachers need to constantly read and be regularly up to date. This not only increases one’s knowledge repository but it also makes one’s teaching much more stronger, writes C S Krishnamurthy

It is imperative that educational leaders should expand their knowledge and understanding. Can we expect others to learn if we don’t? A true leader leads by example by showing commitment to increased awareness.

Be willing to learn from the wisdom that surrounds us in this knowledge-conscious world. Success is influenced by what we learn, but how to access this knowledge?

Attending professional courses is not always the answer. Even quality leadership conferences have their limits. Talking to experienced colleagues is useful, if both parties are free. However, the best solution is to turn to books.

Knowledge by itself is not adequate; applied knowledge, on the other hand, is the source of future progress. Read wisely and then apply what you have learned. For some people application is seemingly impossible and so they pass their lives as know-alls and do-nothings.

Establishing a reading habit

So, how do you nurture a good reading habit? There are many but here are a few tips to help you get started:

* Set a time for reading each day. Make sure the secretary knows that phone calls, visitors or other interruptions should not normally take priority over your reading period.

* Ensure that you read items that are credible. Spend your time on titles that can actually make a difference to your knowledge base.

* Use the web to your advantage. There are plenty of outstanding items that are there on the internet. In case you are constrained by time, be guided by the wisdom of relevant professional groups; also access the papers from conferences you didn’t get to go, national trends on education, and articles on a myriad of useful issues for you and your peers.

* Use lists prepared by peers. Ask your colleagues if they know of lists of recommended readings. Most of us have a favourite book or a much-loved journal and sharing this information can be useful to others, a significant example of collegiality.

* Read fiction too and some humour. All work and no play make us dull. Add a bit of fiction so that you will know what your community is reading.

* Very few people can read a chapter or an article and remember the important points. So, it is important to make notes in the margin (in pencil, if you like) or underline pertinent sections. If the book is borrowed, use a note pad.  Review it after reading for the day.

* Don’t pile up your newspapers and magazines – You’ll rarely read them.

* Use Post–It notes. When gauging the content of a newly arrived journal, arm yourself with a set of Post-It notes and  simply mark it with the label protruding. When you next pick up the journal to actually read it, go straight for the marked articles.

* Delegate to others. If there is  a time constraint, entrust the important task to your colleague to read it and see if it can tell them something.  His/her summary might alert us to the need. Ensure follow-up.

* Carry a book. Wherever you go, weather it is a visit to your doctor or your accountant, take a book with you. The material provided in waiting rooms is rarely current, relevant or informative.

* Skim read – Read what you need. Use the synopsis, and remember that conclusions often contain a concise summary of the preceding material.

* Observe the ads in educational magazines. They often reveal the current trends in education and  they are succinct and engaging. Be selective.

With these tips to help you out, you can use them to identify what enchants your needs and implement them. Gradually you will discover yourself increasing your reading portfolio and also adding to your leadership skills base.

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