The easy answer is “everything”, but that simply isn’t true. I’ve learned enough to know that there are lots of things that I don’t want to know any more about. I have no desire to understand particle physics or how to make an atom bomb. I know that don’t want learn the gory details that a coroner uses to determine how long a body has been rotting in the woods. I have no real interest in card tricks and I really hope to avoid learning anything about a celebrity divorce trial ever again. Even with all of the things that I don’t want to learn about, there are still more things that I want to learn about than I could ever hope to master in my time on Earth. This post is to help me prioritize some of my learning goals.
I want to learn how to be a better teacher. I believe that good teachers need to know what is important to teach and how to make others care about learning it. In general, I think it is more important to teach skills than content, but I’m still trying to learn which skills are most important to teach. While I am struggling with which skills to teach, I am simultaneously trying to figure out the key(s) to motivating people to learn and to change. Additionally, I believe that to become more successful as a teacher I need to improve my communication and presentation skills.
I want to learn to be a world citizen. I believe that in order to be a true world citizen, I need the ability to communicate with speakers of other languages. I am a native English speaker and I have an intermediate-level ability in Spanish. Based on these two languages alone, I can already communicate with a significant portion of the world’s population, but I am still unable to communicate with the majority of people on Earth. I want to become a fluent speaker of Spanish and I want to learn Mandarin. If I can handle those languages, then I may try for more.
I have many, many hobbies. In some respects, most of my hobbies have a very practical bent to them. I like to cook, to knit, to sew, etc. I want to learn basic carpentry and how to garden. Despite their practical nature, each of these hobbies is for me, a venue for artistic expression. They are a way to make my home a more personal and pleasant space for myself and my family. They are a way to make things beautiful. Photography is perhaps my least practical interest, but even it has the function of preserving memories and documenting family history.
In the past, I’ve considered myself completely devoid of musical talent. Despite this, I think that I would like to try to learn how to play simple songs on the piano and the guitar and I’d be ecstatic if I could learn to sing.
Right now, as I work on my research projects and dissertation, my primary focus is to learn about teaching. However, I’m going to try not to lose sight of my other learning goals.