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When did I fall in love with learning?

When did I fall in love with learning? Or, maybe, why was it that I never fell out of love with learning? For me, my most powerful learning experiences have always included people I admired, conversations that mattered, engaging writing, eye-opening films, and most importantly opportunities to put my learning into action. As a high school student, I had two teachers in particular that opened the way for me to learn in real world settings: Jeff DePew and Ted Munnecke. They saw possibilities for me that I had not yet imagined for myself. Through their support and my mom’s persistent phone calls, I spent a summer volunteering for the National Zoo in Washington, DC. Nearly sixteen, I volunteered forty hours per week feeding small mammals and cleaning their cages. While some of the work was repetitive and physically demanding, the real learning for me happened with the zoo keepers who took me seriously and engaged me in aspirational conversations. Through their questions and guidance they helped me see more clearly my next steps. Through their connections and additional support from my biology teachers, I spent the following summer and volunteering for the Marine Systems Laboratory of the Smithsonian’s Natural History

John Goodlad’s Learning Story

Learning is a lifetime necessity that is increasingly subtle with the aging process. Behavioral scientist Ralph Tyler, one of my mentors, was chair of my doctoral committee at the University of Chicago. At that time, he was dean of the arts and sciences division, chair of the department of education, and university examiner. (By passing a comprehensive batch of tests, overseen by the university examiner, able students could secure the bachelor’s degree in less than the usual four years of study.) And, oh yes, he taught a course each quarter. Tyler was much in demand to chair doctoral committees in spite of his heavy schedule at the University and his travels elsewhere a couple of days each week. Most weeks, he scheduled one hour for his students’ten minutes for each of six. Getting one of his ten-minute sessions was a precious accomplishment. One entered his office as Mr. Tyler was ushering out another. (I liked very much the then-University expectation of not addressing professors with the Ph.D. as ‘Doctor.’ I have tried to follow suit ever since whenever possible.) Needless to say, those of us who were his students frequently discussed the problem of limited access. However, we did discover

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