Quoted without comment (but with a lot of admiration!)
For all his star power, though, Damon is more than just the pretty face of Water.org. He has turned himself into a development expert. This would seem like an obvious and necessary first step for someone embracing the global water crisis as a personal mission. But, in fact, it’s highly unusual for a celebrity to dive this deep into a problem this daunting.
Please make the time to read this article from Fast Company: Can Matt Damon Bring Clean Water To Africa? - The inside story of Matt Damon’s bold yet sane plan to use his celebrity and smarts to help attack one of the globe’s great crises by Ellen McGirt.
Lifelong learning is the continuous building of skills and knowledge throughout the life of an individual. It occurs through experiences encountered in the course of a lifetime. These experiences could be formal (training, counseling, tutoring, mentorship, apprenticeship, higher education, etc.) or informal (experiences, situations, etc.) Lifelong learning, also known as LLL, is the “lifelong, voluntary, and self-motivated” pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. As such, it not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship and personal development, but also competitiveness and employability.
(Hey – somebody needs to add “It comes through disciplined, lifelong reading”)…
From a terrific, substantive article in the New Yorker, about the current and ongoing debate about “Is a college degree worth it?” (the answer is yes!), we can learn a lot about learning. The article is Live and Learn: Why we have college by Louis Menand. In the article, he draws much from two provocative books, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, and In the Basement of the Ivory Tower: Confessions of an Accidental Academic by Professor X (I’ve posted about this anonymous, adjunct professor/author before).
Here, from the article, is a simple yet challenging moment from a college classroom:
Soon after I started teaching there, someone raised his hand and asked, about a text I had assigned, “Why did we have to buy this book?”
I got the question in that form only once, but I heard it a number of times in the unmonetized form of “Why did we have to read this book?” I could see that this was not only a perfectly legitimate question; it was a very interesting question. The students were asking me to justify the return on investment in a college education. I just had never been called upon to think about this before. It wasn’t part of my training. We took the value of the business we were in for granted.
I could have said, “You are reading these books because you’re in college, and these are the kinds of books that people in college read.” If you hold a certain theory of education, that answer is not as circular as it sounds. The theory goes like this: In any group of people, it’s easy to determine who is the fastest or the strongest or even the best-looking. But picking out the most intelligent person is difficult, because intelligence involves many attributes that can’t be captured in a one-time assessment, like an I.Q. test. There is no intellectual equivalent of the hundred-yard dash. An intelligent person is open-minded, an outside-the-box thinker, an effective communicator, is prudent, self-critical, consistent, and so on. These are not qualities readily subject to measurement…
College was a gate through which, once, only the favored could pass. Suddenly, the door was open: to vets; to children of Depression-era parents who could not afford college; to women, who had been excluded from many of the top schools; to nonwhites, who had been segregated or under-represented; to the children of people who came to the United States precisely so that their children could go to college. For these groups, college was central to the experience of making it—not only financially but socially and personally. They were finally getting a bite at the apple. College was supposed to be hard. Its difficulty was a token of its transformational powers.
This is why “Why did we have to buy this book?” was such a great question. The student who asked it was not complaining. He was trying to understand how the magic worked. I (a Theory 2 person) wonder whether students at that college are still asking it.
You’ll have to read the article to understand the two theories (“I am a Theory 2 person,” Menand writes). But the article will help you better understand just why a college education can be, should, and could be so valuable; and when it is done well, definitely provides such very great value to the individual student and to our entire society.
It will also challenge you to genuinely become, and remain, that lifelong learner we hear so much about. It’s a great read!