Developing A Learner’s Identity; The Creative Step That Will Supercharge Your Life

David Nicoll, Ph.D
5 min readMar 24, 2022

A short description of the 21st Century’s foundational tools.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 88% of all the adults living in the U.S. today have completed high school. That’s 284,000,000 out of 322,000,000 people.

Naturally ndividual achievements here vary by age, sex, race, and ethnicity. But, this fact notwithstanding, it’s clear the vast majority of adults living in the United States have a high school diploma.

On the upside, this statistic is important because it suggests most adults have acquired the knowledge they need to make it through the day efficiently and effectively. They can read and write, they can drive themselves to work, and they can pay their bills. In short, they can manage their lives by themselves.

On the downside, this statistic is important because it suggests that between the ages of 4 to 18, most adults spent an average of 16,800 hours sitting in a classroom during their most formative years. In short, they were caught up in a traditional teacher-student relationship.

Research shows that what typically happened during to us during these 16,800 hours was thtath the teachers who were “teaching” quietly but insistently socialized us into using mindsets that told us whenever we needed to learn something new, we had to put ourselves back into a classroom environment again, listening to some teacher telling us what to believe. Teaching us that regardless of our instincts or talents, whenever we want to learn something new, we have to step back into being a “student” who has to be “taught.” We have step back into our student role, sitting quietly for long hours listening to a teacher lecturing us.

21st Century Learning

Today most experts know we don’t have to go back to school to learn. We don’t have to become students again when we want to learn something new.

Deanna Kuhn, for instance, shows us that this old 20th Century “teacher-student approach” of ours is not the easiest or the most effective way for us to learn. Especially now, when this new 21st Century of ours is challenging most of what we think we know about life.



David Nicoll, Ph.D

I’m a dad, a reader, writer, and thought partner for individuals looking to improve their lives. My passion is learning and meeting this century’s challenges.