The Grand Cafe of Oxford

The English Coffeehouse led to the Enlightenment - What if creating enlightened PD simply required bringing teachers (and others) together?

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Inspired by Jen Ortlinghaus:

Stephen Johnson gives a great TED talk called Where Good Ideas Come From.

In it he outlines how the 17th Century English coffeehouse played a major role in the the Enlightenment. 

"it was a space where people would get together from different backgrounds, different fields of expertise, and share. It was a space, as Matt Ridley talked about, where ideas could have sex. This was their conjugal bed, in a sense -- ideas would get together there. And an astonishing number of innovations from this period have a coffeehouse somewhere in their story."

How might we create social environments and experiences where people of all backgrounds interact with teachers to create a petri-dish for birthing ideas and solving problems (Hmmm... kind of like this one...) geared towards enhancing Professional Learning?


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kelly Matteri

This post caught my attention right away. As a verbal processor, and a part-time extrovert, I relish the opportunity to learn via discussion. The multi-directional flow of information in a conversation is much richer than the uni-directional flow of info in a lecture. As a caffeine junkie, I am sold on the coffee house element.

I could easily see myself meeting to talk with others for hours at Hard Core in Sebastopol, or at Aroma Roasters in Santa Rosa. Where are other people's favorite places for a cup and a conversation?

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