Inquiry and the Culture of Permission

Great post by sherrattsam on the culture of permission.

Inquire Within

I have noticed a pattern in the last few years – the teachers that get the best out of students are the ones who develop a culture of permission in their classrooms. These are the classrooms in which you can find a wide of variety of inquiries happening, the classrooms in which you will often find a purposeful mess, the classrooms in which anyone can wander without anyone batting an eyelid, the classrooms in which teachers and students are often at the same level as they learn together.

This kind of teacher says “yes” while others say “no”. This kind of teacher knows that their response to students’ inquiries is their most powerful pedagogical influence. This kind of teacher seeks ways to support, empower and connect their students to the pathways they need in order to take their inquiries further.

Of course, this culture of permission starts with teachers themselves…

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Passion and curiosity can’t happen ‘on demand’! or ‘What do the ‘shoulder shruggers’ need?

Inquire Within

This post first appeared on  I’m posting it again here – with a few extra thoughts included!

Throughout 2014, I have been busy exploring various approaches to personalized inquiry in schools. This has been one of my own significant ‘inquiries’ over the last few years. Providing more personalized inquiry opportunities for students is certainly gaining in popularity and momentum and happens in various ways through such approaches as genius hour, innovation days, itime, etc. Each year, I learn many new lessons about how to make these opportunities work more effectively to ensure high quality, rigorous learning while providing choice and flexibility.

I believe strongly in the the learning power afforded to students when they have the opportunity to pursue a passion or interest – something important to them. I SEE how the engagement in learning is amplified in these moments.  The rise of digital technologies in classrooms also means…

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Connected Learning ‘in the wild’: connecting learners, experts, networks and information through open systems

A fantastic post by Mandy Lupton to support the inclusion of PLNs and Digital Citizenship in School Curriculum

Teaching in the wild

One of the primary forces in higher education is the development of global open learning networks and resources. It is now possible to connect learners ‘in the wild’ via social media to professional learning communities and open educational resources, and for learners to engage in structured study via MOOCs. Learners are able to follow their own interests and structure their own learning pathways. They can use social media to create and share their work and the development of their thinking.

By contrast, higher education has generally been bound by closed systems. Learning pathways are structured by course and unit designers sometimes in conjunction with industry accreditation requirements. Readings are accessible via subscription databases and library materials. Class groups communicate with one another via learning management systems. Assessment is usually a communication between the individual student and the assignment marker.

Connected learning is a pedagogical approach that connects people, networks and information…

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