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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A More Beautiful Question (Or, how to lead a 3 hour class with one question and a map)

One of the books I read over the holidays was A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger.
 Image result for a more beautiful question

The book provoked some ideas and led to a re-write of a course I am teaching this winter term. In fact, my first 3-hour class yesterday was developed a after reading this book. The entire class was based on one question and one map. Yes, a 3 hour class.

I was nervous.

At the end, I asked the students if the class had been a success or failure. The answer: We're doing something similar next week.

Teaser: You'll have to contact me if you want to know the question or the map!

The second chapter of the book was particularly helpful for me as it focused significantly on schooling: What are schools for and what kind of schools do we want?

Here are some of the key quotes, questions, and comments from this section that resonated with me:

A good question is like “a lever used to pry open the stuck lid on a paint can.”
               Frances Peavey

“I know more about my ignorance than you know about yours.”
               Richard Saul Wurman (founder of TED)

Children are like …
… scientists because they turn over rocks and mash things together.
… anthropologists because they don’t just conduct experiments, they ask the people around them questions
               Berger, 2014, p. 42

Should we abandon the failed experiment of teaching facts?
               Seth Godin

We’re moving from an industrial society to an entrepreneurial society … trade in the factory model of schooling for a questioning model.
               Berger, 2014, p. 48

What if our schools could help students be better lifelong learners and better adapters to change? How might we create such a school?
               Berger, 2014, p. 49

What would it look and sound like in the average classroom if we wanted to make “being wrong” less threatening?
               Deborah Meier

If not now, then when? If not me, then who?
               Mick Ebling

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