For all of us, as citizens and educators, in this country and others, it’s way past time for school “improvement,” and high time to invent fresh organizations designed for inquiry— the ecosystem for inquiry, in which all elements of the environment act holistically to grow, nurture, and sustain the qualities of heart and mind necessary for students and teachers to learn to ask good questions instead of finding right answers. That’s a very high bar, but that’s the ultimate goal of 21st century learning. How to develop this ecosystem? Only two qualities are required: Imagination and bravery. The first is the least difficult. Schools that facilitate brightness and joy in young people have solved the initial mysteries of organizing learning around inquiry. There are models to emulate. But transforming an entire system under the pressure of future shock takes collective courage and a powerful foundation of collaboration, trust, and openness. Machiavelli, despite a negative reputation, was an astute observer of his own era. “The times are too big for our brains,” he said. So it is now. Disruption is hard. To work your way through it requires many minds and a shared commitment.
Read also: Inquiry-based learning