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Curiosity and the Stories We Tell

Session 1
Jennifer Ansbach — Manchester Township High School

When we get students engaged in our classrooms, they take ownership of their learning and of their stories of their learning and, perhaps, their lives. The same may be true for us individually and in our professional contexts and communities. What can we do next week to begin this process? What could our goals be for our students using their curiosity to begin crafting the story of their learning? How can we go further and find concrete ways to kindle the curiosity in ourselves for our work? And then, how can we engage in that work with others in our professional context? Curiosity helps rejuvenate our energy and look at old challenges with new eyes. But finding ways to stoke curiosity is only part of the important work we do. We also must reclaim our voices and expertise as professionals in education. One of the ways we can do that is by sharing our students’ stories of their learning and then sharing our own stories of our practice and profession. We’ll conclude our session with ways we can make the results of our intentional curiosity work more public. What tools can we use? Who do we want to reach and what message do we want to share about education as educators? What are the best ways we can advocate for our students and our profession?

Conversational Practice

The conversations will be structured using a democratic conversation style similar to World Café, with different tables hosting the different conversations about curiosity, with a share out of ideas, and return to conversations briefly to synthesize anything heard. The second round will focus on the second set of questions, with different tables hosting the different conversations about how we can take back the narrative of education in public and share the platform with students. Chart paper for doodling or capturing ideas will be in place and participants will be encouraged to move around as they wish to be part of different conversations within the space. At the end of each of the two rounds, we’ll harvest the best ideas with individuals writing their plans on stickies that we can post in the room. Images of those final harvest posters, as well as those captured on the chart paper on tables, can be posted online. Participants will also be invited to engage with online participants in a Google Doc if there are online participants who would like to join us.

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