Photo by Kristopher Roller


Thinking about the recent article about Education and how several students felt compelled to sign a petition, concerned that they don’t read enough, but are subject to less and less grammar, vocabulary, rules…. I decided to put my thinking cap on and write about my approach to Education.

Not to repeat myself, but I have been an educator in the US, and more specifically in Fairfax County, Northern Virginia, where a huge system wich exceeds 150000 students, is proud to be the second ‘best’ in the Nation.
Not that we don’t have problems, mind you. Far from it, but maybe the approach in succeeding lies in these three words : ‘Living Loving Learning‘.

Living Learning means Loving Learning, so we can consider this an equation : Living Learning=Loving Learning.

From the remote recesses of dusty bookcases, yes alas dusty because Ipads and laptops abound in the classrooms in this county, we gather yesterday’s news: World wars, Empires that rose and fell, scientific discoveries now obsolete because superseded by the latest ones, delivered at super speed and live by our super technology, or a humble I Phone.

It is not ‘laziness’, but it is namely the less boring option to click and have information asap, rather than wait for it. After all yesterday news can be a minute ago news. To keep up, we give into the superhighway of technology.

Nothing can change the fact that the ‘feeling’ of a good book in one’s hands is a satisfactory journey of discovery.
I know, at least, how great my book, my friend, awaits for me every evening, after the news, after the e mails, after the SMS, after Wattsapp, Skype, Facebook….
The time I spend reading it is uncompromised.

Now…. what does that have to do with young people you may say…
Young people around me are flocking to libraries and bookstores. Yes, they are and it goes back to that equation: if you live what you learn, you love it and want more. It works and it hooks you. So let’s not say technology causes all ills, but let’s embrace it as some of us embrace progress.
However going back to the sources, to that book that made us happy, that book which made us discover how reading opened all doors…. how it unleashed fantastical voyages, elaborate mysteries, is something we all hold dear and when we need to find some comfort food for the brain, let’s remember that book!

I am very pleased to know currently children of 2-10 who are avid readers, are proud of their library card, love learning and live it! They boast to read a book every two days.
I believe them. I used to be one of those kids…. notice the past tense…

I cannot pretend to have solutions for poor grammar skills, there aren’t bad teachers, there are less encouraging and encouraged guides! A teacher is a guide, not the authority over students. If a teacher fails, it is not because she/ he has low expectations, it is because of less encouragement, to give and receive. We, teachers, have all hit rock bottom, doubted ourselves, and when all else fails, Mr.Google is ready to fill the void.
However it is the Love of Learning in our Lives that propels us to continue, one more step, one more day, one more word found in the dictionary, wether a mobile one or a paper one.

So do I despair over the current state of Education? No, because everywhere I look I see signs of wanting to Learn, Living to Learn, Loving to Learn.

So I hope you all are seeing the signs too…. through a magnifying lens sometimes, and sometimes without glasses…. nurture the seeds of Learning with the best tools you have… they will sprout and amaze you.

I am an eternal optimist but I am also a realist, and I believe in the genuine Love for Learning.
Have patience, find you book and settle in for a couple of minutes or hours. You’ll only be richer for it!

Paola Roncaglia