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Paul Grobstein's picture

Education as inquiry: new directions?

I'm intrigued, of course, by our movement towards thinking of the educational challenge in broader "inquiry" terms, where the issue isn't so much how to teach particular things more effectively but rather how help people become more effective participants in the ongoing process of making sense of the world and the place of themselves and other humans in it.  For some further thinking along these lines in a different conversational context, see "Replacing blame with generosity in classrooms, inquiry, and culture."

There are intriguing parallels between this trajectory in thinking about education and recent history of research on the brain that might be useful to explore further (cf Parallel Changes in Thinking about the Brain and about Education) that it might be useful to explore further.  I'm also struck by the degree to which some of the switch in context for thinking about classrooms was anticipated by William James, as per his Talks to Teachers (1899), which also might be worth exploring further

"Teachers, of course, will miss the minute divisions, subdivisions, and definitions, the lettered and numbered headings, the variations of type, and all the other mechanical artifices on which they are accustomed to prop their minds. But my main desire has been to make them conceive, and, if possible, reproduce sympathetically in their imagination, the mental life of their pupil as the sort of active unity which he himself feels it to be."


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