“We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” - Peter Drucker

When we visit places like Oxford, Rome, or Athens we are reminded of great minds and the quest for knowledge. Learning seems to ooze from the buildings and be part of the air we breathe. But what is learning? And how do teens become life-long learners in today’s world?

The brain changes that occur during adolescence heighten teen’s abilities to learn. They become capable of thinking more critically, solving more complex problems, and weighing difficult decisions. The better teenagers become at learning, the more they will adapt to change and thrive over a lifetime. Learning and education are unfortunately not always synonymous. Below are some of my favorite quotes about learning and how you can help teens become active learners.

Quotes About Learning

  1. “We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.” - Lloyd Alexander
  2. “Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.” - William A. Ward
  3. “All knowledge is connected to all other knowledge. The fun is in making the connections.” - Arthur Aufderheide
  4. “One of the reasons people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.” - John W. Gardner
  5. “Never discourage anyone…who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.”  - Plato
  6. “Almost anything can become a learning experience if there is enough caring involved.” - Mary MacCracken
  7. “The only source of knowledge is experience” - Albert Einstein

How Teens Become Active Learners

Deep learning is facilitated through questioning. Rather than giving answers, adults help teens become good learners by helping them identify questions that pique their curiosity. When we help young people make associations between what they are studying at school and the world outside of the classroom, they learn that everything in the universe is connected, that learning is an endless lifelong process.

Most adults know that learning occurs when we are willing to risk failure. With today’s focus on high-stakes testing, many parents protect teens from failure. With caring and encouragement, adults can help young people learn from mistakes in ways that facilitate learning.

Learning from experience, not just from books, is one of the best ways to give youth the skills they need for living, working, and learning in the 21stcentury. Service-learning during the teen years provides experiences that nurture critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and the ability to see the world as an interconnected community. This type of learning can lead to feelings of gratitude, compassion, kindness, and appreciation for life—positive virtues that help young people thrive as adults.

What is your favorite quote about learning? And how can it's message be applied to help today's teens become lifelong learners? 


©2012 Marilyn Price-Mitchell. All rights reserved. Please contact for permission to reprint.

Photo Credits: Veijo Vilva; simon