Everything begins with curiosity...

Teachers need to be given freedom to seek out professional learning opportunities that truly spark their curiosity and passions.

Photo of Dan Blake
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A quote I heard recently from James Ludwig, VP of Global Design for Steelcase, resonated strongly with me. Ludwig was speaking at an event called "Oneder" put on by One Workplace when he said,"Everything begins with curiosity. Then comes literacy. Then comes fluency." Ludwig was not talking about teacher professional development, but his comment very much supports my view of what makes any learning experience engaging and impactful: the learner has to have a genuine interest and curiosity in the subject at hand.

For this reason, I am opposed to "top-down" approaches to professional learning where school or district leadership require all teachers (or those of a certain subject area or grade level) to participate in a narrow set of PD opportunities. While the uniformity of this approach may seem logical from an implementation standpoint, the reality is that teachers, like students, are human and have different interests, needs, and learning styles. Allowing teachers more freedom to seek out professional learning opportunities that spark their curiosity and truly engage them as learners will, in my view, lead to much more meaningful and worthwhile professional development that will actually impact teaching and learning in schools and classrooms.


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Photo of John Faig

Passion and curiosity are key ingredients of a great teacher. A bottoms-up approach is more likely to success than a top-down mandate. I wonder about how an organization tries to implement broad pedagogical changes, such as project-based learning, Project Zero, etc. without a more coordinated approach?

Photo of Paula Marra

Hi Dan,

I totally agree with you, for learning to happen, the wonder must be present. I am always sponsoring my own PD because of that. I need more.....and as I am engaged I can bring back what I have learned to my classroom. How might we develop the system? Let's figure it out. Let's build up on it! and be curious together.

Photo of Chris Good

Great quote Dan! It is likely one that resonates with everyone - when they think about the things in life they have pursued because of passion and interest - as opposed to necessity or duty.

Photo of Dan Blake

So true, Chris--once that fire of passion and interest is lit, we will all commit fully to giving all that we have to offer, and we will do so with genuine joy. As my colleagues and I often say, "When did having fun become such a bad thing?!"