#71 – Community as the Curriculum with Dave Cormier

So in case you may be new to the pod, each month we take on a different theme from four different angles, and this week, we’re looking at our theme of community through our third lens, that of classroom practice. As in what would the classroom look like if the community itself was the curriculum?

Dave CormierThat’s a question that this week’s guest Dave Cormier has been grappling with for over a decade. His work around “rhizomatic learning” has generated a ton of new thinking about what classrooms might be in the modern world. In this model, curriculum is not driven by predefined inputs from experts; it is constructed and negotiated in real time by the contributions of those engaged in the learning process.

That idea fits pretty neatly into the self-determined learning world of the Internet where we can choose our teachers, our information sources, and our experiences in profound new ways. But it’s not as neat of a fit into traditional classroom systems, structures and, of course, curriculum.

In this episode, Dave and I talk about what a “rhizomatic” learning environment is like, the importance of language in change, the difference between complicated and complex, and the struggle to shift students away from being experts as students to, instead, be experts as learners. I’m sure it will tweak your thinking in good ways.

Fall Professional Learning

Don’t forget to check out our two big professional learning opportunities coming this fall for those of you who are wanting to continue pushing your thinking and expand your global PLC in the process. Our 9th Cohort of Change School starts on September 30th, and at this moment we have a few seats left. It’s an 8-week intensive dive into how the world is changing, the ways in which schools are already changing, and how you can lead a long-term, sustainable change initiative in your school or in your community.

And also check out the five Modern Learners Labs that we have on the calendar for October through January. My friends Gary Stager and Homa Tavangar and I will be in five different cities up and down the east coast doing these 2-day events that will exhaust and inspire you in very good way. Get all the details at on our Labs page.

And finally, as always, at the end of my conversation with Dave, I’ll be back with three things that you can do right now to move your schools and classrooms to a deeper sense of community. Don’t forget, if you like what you hear today, please head on over to iTunes and give us some love via a review and rating, and I hope that you’ll continue the conversation around story with us in our modernlearners community. Cheers everyone…thanks so much for listening.

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Will Richardson

Co-founder of Modernlearners.com and Change School. Author, speaker, instigator, surfcaster, husband, and father to two amazing young adults.

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