Continuous Education

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Continuous Education

Many professions encourage a practice knowing as “continuing education.”  I have a problem with the designation, as it tends to create several problems:

First, it tends to imply that most educational work was done prior to getting credentials for a profession (be it pastor, teacher, doctor, nurse, lawyer, or Dr. Seuss scholar).  What’s needed, then, is to simply add some brushing up as the field changes – but no major education is going on as it was already completed.  We might be required to dust off our brains every now and again to keep our credentials, but still ends up being little more than a re-touch.

Second, it creates the illusion that “education” is blocked off into the official classes we might take.  The rest of the time we “just do the job” – exploration beyond that is frowned upon.  Worse, it gets mistaken for laziness as people chalk up person explorations of new topics/skills/tools as “wasted productivity.”

Third, because it’s viewed as a “dusting off” of the brain or a “retouching” of past education, continuing education offerings have a tendency to be low-stress refresher courses, rather than challenging journeys along new paths.  Nothing, or little, is actually learned.

I’d like to propose a different way of looking at education, it’s continuous.  We begin learning the moment we take our first breath, and I see little reason why it should stop with a graduation ceremony or credentialing process.  There is always more to discover, learn, and enjoy in this world – and new stories to be part of.  We don’t need “continuing education.  We need lives of “continuous education.”