Asking Better Questions in Education: December 2017 Newsletter
Welcome to our very first monthly newsletter!
REENVISIONED has been steadily growing and we wanted a way to connect with all of you about what’s happening – and, of course, invite you to get involved!
As many of you know, Nicole and I started REENVISIONED during our time as graduate students at Stanford. The idea came out of a quest to understand how to create a schooling system that both enables individuals to flourish and fosters a thriving democracy.
At a time of incredible turmoil and change – in education and in society more broadly - work to create a positive vision is more important than ever. Many current reforms, research, and policy actually undermine students’ and educators’ ability to live empowered lives, or to connect and collaborate meaningfully with one another. Perhaps even more worrisome are the reforms that aim to dismantle the whole public schooling system. School is our primary socializing institution: it’s where we practice as children who and how we want to be as adults and thus plays an important role in developing our collective, not just our individuals.
Across the board we’ve narrowed how we frame the purpose of schooling in ways that limit our potential as individuals as well as our ability to evolve and thrive as a society. To change this, REENVISIONED is a national movement to redefine the purpose of school. It is designed as a way of approaching systems change that is empowering as a process, rooted in our collective vision, and works to shift (rather than tear down) what already exists.
To be clear: we need YOU to help us build this movement!
We work with a growing number of people like you across the country: Catalysts - individuals, classrooms, schools, and community organizations – to catalyze new conversations and share the stories of our collective hopes and dreams on our website and social media: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook (@reenvisioned #itshappening #reenvisioned). Learn more and join the movement.
In terms of the newsletter -- after 7 years of research, I’ve identified 10 major shifts in thinking that we need to make if we want to positively shift our schooling system. Each month we’ll focus on one in our newsletter. This month we present the foundational case for all of the other shifts: the need to ask better questions. We have a thought piece I wrote, a personal blog by Nicole about her experience as a teacher, and a video of the two of us from an interview we gave on the topic. Let us know what you think!
Erin & The REENVISIONED Team
Join the REENVISIONED Book Club
Interested in education but not sure where to start with learning more? Working in education and keen to have people to discuss interesting ideas with?
Want to dive deeper into the concepts and theories underlying REENVISIONED’s mission?
Join our monthly book club with our team! We'll all read the same book then meet virtually to discuss. It's going to be mind-bending and fun - join us!
Sign up here.
Respond to us on Twitter @reenvisioned. This month’s Twitter questions are:
Q1. What’s a question you want to say "Mu" to in education?
(read Erin's thought piece to learn about the Japanese word "mu")
Q2. What's a beautiful question we should be asking in education?
Tell us what you think! Tag us @reenvisioned
Calling all Educators!!
We need FIVE awesome educators to help us pilot a powerful REENVISIONED Instructional Unit
Research shows that students who have a reason why school is important to them are more engaged. What do your students think the purpose of school should be? How do the adults in their lives define a “good life” for them? What themes emerge in your classroom and/or school?
Partner with REENVISIONED to pilot our instructional unit that has students engage in an active meaning-making research process around the purpose of school. Geared toward high school students, this 1-2 week unit has students ask meaningful questions and reflect on the purpose of life and school. They practice important skills by interviewing each other and adults in their lives, distilling key themes from evidence, and communicating findings to a broader audience.
For more information, sign up here.
READ OUR MEDIUM THOUGHT PIECE:
GETTING THE RIGHT PROBLEM IN EDUCATION
In education we are busily “innovating” without asking whether we are even solving the right problem. This has led to a seemingly endless cycle of reform with very little positive change. How do we start asking the right questions so we can get the right problem to solve?
by Nicole Hensel
As an energetic and optimistic 22-year old, I entered my Kindergarten classroom in Denver, Colorado with dreams for my students: that they would be empowered, fulfilled, and flourishing individuals. I never would have predicted that a short three years later I would wonder if I were actually doing more harm than good.
“Why is the very system that we charge with connecting people to their greatest possibility...so far removed from what we know about what it takes to be a thriving person?”
- Zac, COO @ The Future Project, NY
Read the full interview here.
HELP US BUILD THE MOVEMENT!
Spread the word!
10,000 Stories. One Shared Vision.
REENVISIONED is a national movement to redefine the purpose of school. We believe schools should foster flourishing individuals and a thriving democratic society. But what does it mean to thrive or flourish?
To answer this, we're building the world's largest collection of stories about what it means to live good lives and the role schools should play in helping create them: 10,000 stories from people across the country. We'll use the stories to learn about our shared values and dreams and to create a new vision for why we send our children to school.
We work with people like YOU across the country: Catalysts - individuals, classrooms, schools, and community organizations - who interview people in their communities and foster empathy nationwide by sharing the stories on our website and social media: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook (@reenvisioned). Please follow us and spread the word!