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Strength of the Week – Love of Learning

Love of learning is a strength that teachers love to see in their students, parents encourage in their children and employers seek to develop and nurture in their employees. That seems to make sense.

It’s about being willing to learn knowledge or skills and the good feelings we experience while doing this. These new experiences enable us to learn or practice new things and give us the joy of learning for the sake of learning itself.

Love of learning is evident in the hope and excitement that we experience in our curiosity when listening to critical feedback with a desire to improve; and in our willingness to take responsibility for our failures – a natural part of learning. Importantly a love of learning just gives us a boost of courage in having a go.

When we simply love what we are doing/learning, we can enter this state of flow where we forget time and can challenge ourselves to improve our skills and achieve mastery of a specific task/body of knowledge. The tasks don’t stress us because we find them so enjoyable.

For some of us, the learning situations may not be in the classroom. I recently read the story of Leah, a mother of a teenage boy who explained that they had just built this gorgeous house with ash cabinets and her son had made a bunch of cherries explode in a pressure cooker. The contents of all the cans of cherries exploded onto the new ash cabinets and slowly oozed down into every corner. Years later Leah was still finding cherry squelching in secret pockets of that kitchen. While I’m not sure how I would respond to that happening in my kitchen, that teenager went on to become a great film director, Steven Spielberg.

The text Personal Well-being Lessons for Secondary Schools raises the questions of whether people are born and not made, and whether we are just born smart. It raises questions such as “Was Michael Jordan born with a natural ability to slam dunk? Was Einstein born a genius?” and then elaborates that Einstein did not walk until he was 4 and his teacher said that he was educationally subnormal. Jordan’s coach said that he was no more gifted than the others, the only thing that differentiated him from his peers was the ‘hard work and effort he put in’.

Some people believe that we’re born with certain levels of intelligence and that this is unchangeable. This is called a fixed mindset. Those of us who demonstrate a fixed mindset often believe that intelligent people don’t need to work hard at academic work, that it comes naturally, and that failing at something is the result of a lack of intelligence not a lack of effort. Other people have a flexible or growth mindset, and these people see intelligence as malleable. This group believes that learning takes a lot of hard work and effort and that our abilities are not set in concrete. In this mindset all individuals can learn and improve.

In truth, at times we can flick between fixed and growth mindsets depending on the context. But we can consciously flick that switch to embrace stronger growth mindset thoughts and behaviours to position ourselves better to overcome learning obstacles, as mindset does affect the goals people pursue, the effort they invest and the way they deal with failure.

Student reports and Academic Assemblies are just two ways to celebrate the love of learning and its fruits as student achievements are acknowledged. Together with love of learning, it’s clear that perseverance, curiosity and creativity are all critical components.

A strong love of learning positions us well to explore our curiosities, flourish and become the learners and leaders of the world.

Stay safe and well!

Tonia Carfora, Year 7-9 Wellbeing Initiatives Leader


Boniwell, I and Ryan, L Personal Well-being Lessons for Secondary Schools.