LOL – for the love of learning. How to create learners and leaders

Did you have a favorite teacher in school? Was there someone who stood out and took the extra time and effort to cheer you on? Maybe a teacher helped you appreciate a natural gift or inspired you to continue your education in an area that is now your career.

Most of us have a story of a great teacher who changed the way we think or made us look at the world slightly differently. Isn’t it interesting that with a good teacher learning was fun, it was also a little easier and it was always those lessons that we looked forward to the most?

I recently watched an amazing online session titled “What Does It Take To Be The Best Teacher In The World?” »Hosted by Learning Possibilities. The hour-long program featured Andria Zafirakou MBE, winner of the 2018 Global Teacher Prize.

It was hard not to appreciate her honesty and humility about how she won the award and what it took to get there. Her commitment, persistence, creativity and adaptability, especially during lockdown, demonstrated why she won the prize and the $ 1 million prize.

It struck me as I listened to her that she seems to have mastered the 3i’s – Inspire, Include and Involve.

Surprisingly, she learned the basics of many of the 35 languages ​​represented in the school population at her school, including Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Nigerian and Ghanaian (inspire). As such, she was able to reach out to her once marginalized students to gain their trust and, most importantly, build relationships with their parents, many of whom do not speak English (including). She went against the grain, taking the time to understand her students’ lives beyond school by visiting their homes, getting on the bus with them, and standing at the gates of the school with police officers. to welcome students upon their arrival at the start of the school day. (to imply).

Thanks to his efforts, his school Alperton Community School in Brent is now in the top 1 to 5 percent of the country in terms of qualifications and accreditations. This is a colossal achievement considering the students’ weak starting points and the speed with which they progressed during their five to seven years at school – a point recognized by the national team. inspection.

So how can we emulate this as parents, teachers and educators of EF?

One thing that is at the heart of the work we do at Meee is the fundamental belief that there is magic within everyone. We all have gifts that we can share with the world. We just need to find ways to find and use them. Of course, that’s easy to know and often hard to remember, especially with increasing class sizes or busy parents’ schedules, so let’s take a closer look.


As Andria said, teaching is a way of life, it is a privilege and inspiring a love of learning should be high on the priority list. Too often in life, learning is seen as something for children or young people only. Then as soon as we turn 18 or leave FE, or college, our need to learn is reversed. And yet science shows that a love of learning can keep our minds and bodies healthy and prevent degenerative diseases later in life.

Since 1986, University of Kentucky scientist David Snowdon has studied 678 nuns and has shown that an active intellectual life, insatiable curiosity and love of learning can protect us from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. .

How can children know what they are good at if they are only given the opportunity to learn through a set curriculum? Maybe it’s our job as parents and teachers to think outside the box and introduce different kinds of opportunities to engage with the world and learn topics or have experiences that introduce them to more people. and inspire this love to learn.

It’s definitely about inspiring others to be better and we can use the arts to help us be more creative. Teaching is part of everything we do, just like learning, and we often limit learning to places like schools, FE facilities or universities, but learning is all around us. The more we can recognize and embrace this, the more likely it is that inspired children will grow up to be inspired adults capable of changing the world for the better.


Have you seen the new Google ad with Marcus Rashford? This is a great example of the love of learning and the power of questions. We see all kinds of different people seeing other people doing things they might not understand – cultural festivals or shared traditions. But rather than dismissing them as different, they ask questions to learn and understand better. Human beings are often afraid of what they don’t understand or don’t have experience, asking questions, getting involved and accepting difference as a way to better understand the world around us is so essential if we are to collectively solve the problems we face. These are the children in the classrooms of the world – right now, who will be called upon to solve these problems and the love to learn and the willingness to ask questions instead of being ignorant is a skill that we could all improve.

One of my all-time favorite documentaries was “No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Children Become Genderless” on BBC Two. An experiment conducted by Dr Javid Abdelmoneim to see the impact of gender stereotypes and what happens if you delete them deliberately. Although unnecessarily titled to be provocative, it was amazing. In one segment, people from different professions were invited to meet the seven-year-olds. The class met a makeup artist and a ballet dancer and an electrician and stuntwoman. It blew their minds away, and you could see the learning happening in real time.

How could we, as parents and teachers, help open these discussions and demonstrate inclusion and that anything is really possible, no matter who we are, where we come from or our gender.

To imply

There is so much more to learn in a lifetime than books and tests. It’s just a willingness to get involved. How to encourage children to participate, at all levels? In a world that seems to overestimate results and underestimate effort, it is our duty as parents and teachers to reverse this trend. The effort is what really matters. Try, try and try again. Failure is just one more step towards success, and it is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. But we also need to be a living expression of that willingness to try, keep going, and use learning, even when it is difficult to revise for the next endeavor. Do you know why the WD-40 is called WD-40? WD stands for Water Dispersion. They tried to perfect the recipe 39 times before they finally made it 40e to try. Today there are over 2,000 recorded uses for the WD-40 because someone or a small team refused to give up.

Learning as a way of life

I have always liked words. I’m still curious as to how they came to be and how so many of them have clues to the meaning or potential of that word embedded in the word.

In our Meee education programs, we ask participants to write how many words they can form using the letters in the word LEARNING. So far, the maximum that a group has found is 50 words. It’s impressive but there are actually 182!

What is particularly curious about LEARNING is that the second, third and fourth letters (EAR) hold the key to effective learning. As Calvin Coolidge once said, “No man has ever listened to himself outside of work.” The more we listen, the more we learn. Add the fifth letter and you get EARN. I don’t think it’s a coincidence either. It may be worth reminding our children that the more we learn, the more skills we gain. Add the last letters and you get WIN. So the more we listen, the more we earn and the more it increases our earning potential. The words are so cool.

The love of learning is about embracing the unknown and going all out. Jump off the cliff of uncertainty to discover more of the world around us. It is our job as a teacher, whether we are parents or standing in front of students.

In the work we do, we seek to inspire, include, involve. And our essence is to find the magic in you, by engaging, energizing and allowing everyone to discover their magic. We all have it; we just need to know where to look.

Sid Madge is a transformation and change specialist and founder of Meee.

Meee draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people embrace change and lead extraordinary lives.

From students to CEOs, we’ve helped thousands of people find their magic to transform themselves, their communities and organizations. From PLC and SME leaders to parents, teachers, students, caregivers, the unemployed and inmates, we help people excel.

Sid Madge is also the author of the “Meee in Minute” series of books, each featuring 60 ways to change your life, work or family life in 60 seconds.

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