inquiry learning

2013 Big Ideas in Education

A look through the most popular MindShift posts this year reveals a strong interest in student-directed learning, inquiry-based approaches to teaching and the desire to help students learn how to learn in a changing world.

Dive Into Science With Zombies, Superheroes, and Fairies

Sometimes, being thrown into a new situation with few resources and little knowledge can be the best way to innovate. Educators, especially those who work in smaller rural districts, can sometimes be called on to teach classes without a lot of support or resources. While those moments can be terrifying, it’s also a good time to step back from the anxious swirl of curriculum and standards to think like a kid. What would they love? Zombies, superheroes, and fairies, of course!

Subverting the System: Student and Teacher as Equals

One educator tries a different approach: “It’s a different way of approaching education, with educators not being the controlling force. It’s about breaking down boundaries and seeing yourself as an equal. We’re all just doing the best we can to learn and to try to form a narrative with cohesion and meaning.”

Harnessing Children’s Natural Ways of Learning

Fed up with the restrictions at his conventional school, 10-year-old Scott Gray convinced his parents to transfer him to one where children control their own education. His father, Peter Gray, who's a developmental psychologist, watched his son thrive and began seeking to understand how children learned in such a setting, and what lessons could be drawn from it.

Why Student-Centered Learning Can Change the World

“So,” Juárez Correa said, “what do you want to learn?” Correa asked his students this question in an attempt to bring student-centered learning to an impoverished Mexican town located near a dump where it’s not uncommon to find dead bodies on the street. With that question, Correa not only gave his students something to look forward to in coming to school, but also a clear path to “measurable” achievement.