So Many Questions…

Last month, we missed a bit of an anniversary here at Modern Learners, three years of writing and making that total over 330 posts, 199 newsletters, a slew of whitepapers, podcasts, masterclasses and goodness knows what else. Add to that the recent addition of Change School to the Modern Learners “portfolio” and even I have to admit that what started as 30-minute conversation between me and Bruce on the way to the Melbourne airport back in 2013 has evolved into a pretty impressive body of work, most of it successful, but with an appreciable number of learnable moments along the way. For however long you’ve been a part of our journey, sincere thanks for reading, watching, listening, and/or participating.

One thing that always has struck me about our work here is how driven it is by questions. How can we help parents become better informed about the world as it relates to education? That was our attempt with Raising Modern Learners, now dormant, but still a good idea, we think. (If you have any interest in helping us resuscitate it, let me know!)  How can we help educators make better decisions about their practice and the technologies they employ? Welcome to the reason for this site. How can we help school leaders develop the capacity and a process for leading relevant, sustainable school change? That’s why we created Change.School.

When we first started this work, we both had a lot of questions. Today, in addition to some of those eternal ones, I think I have even more. So, if you want a sense of what I’m always asking myself and others, here are a few dozen that come to mind:

Why are so few schools unable to fundamentally change their approach to learning?
Why is there such a disconnect between our stated beliefs about learning and our practice around learning?
Where do the most courageous and committed leaders get their passion for change?
If culture eats strategy for breakfast, how do we develop cultures comfortable with change?
What do people mean when they say “learning?”
What do people mean when they say “achievement?”
Why does technology in school change so little?
What are educators most afraid of?
What is the role of K-12 schools in preparing students for the new world of work?
Why do so few educators know of Seymour Papert, Seymour Sarason, Frank Smith and others?
What does every student need to know today?
How must we now define literacy?
How must we now define what it means to be a citizen?
How do we mitigate the worst consequences of a connected world?
What is the most effective way of gaining the support of parents for change?
What is the most effective way of telling a new story of learning in our schools?
What are the biggest roadblocks to change?
How can leaders of change feel less isolated?
Why do we value efficiency over effectiveness in schools?
How do we break the sway of AP, SAT, ACT, etc.?
What are the best ways to assess what kids have actually learned?
How do we engage policy makers at the state and federal level?
What don’t I know about learning?
How do we build diversity into our networks more effectively?
Why do we have such a low expectation of what kids can do in terms of solving problems and creating things?
What is the role of school now?
What is an education?
What is the role of the teacher?
How much of the stuff required for happiness and success can kids learn without us?
How do we make it harder for kids to learn rather than easier?
How can teachers and leaders model their own learning more effectively?
Why does real change take so long?
How do we better ensure that change sustains?
How can I be more effective in creating urgency around change?
What will life be like for my own kids?
How can I better balance my online and offline lives?

I could go on…

So what questions are you asking? And if you’re a regular reader, follower, listener of our work here, what questions would you like us to grapple with as we try to carve out another three years of changing hearts and minds in education?

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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