Back in 2015, students asked us to change the Inquiry Hub motto to Dream Create Learn (asked is perhaps a bit of a fib; they rather sort of did it themselves). A lot of the staff pushed against this change, seeing Dream as sending rather the wrong message for a new sort of school based around self-scheduled learning. But as tends to happen at iHub, the students had their way, and Dream became the most important part of our branding.

This was all prior to students seeing a talk by Seth Godin, an American marketer and teacher, and his cautioning of the American education system, and systems similar, to stop stealing the dreams of young people; to stop encouraging sameness and discouraging outliers. This was before any of them had even heard of his manifesto.

There’s a rarely asked question that’s core to Seth’s manifesto: “What is school for?” At Inquiry Hub, our goal has become to guide students to make their Dreams come to life. That’s our function. We want students to Dream, innovate, and invent. Only when they have a Dream can they think about what to Create and what they Learn from the process.

There is a very noticeable difference when students work on a teacher’s proposed project versus one where the students take ownership. Student-powered projects have a better completion rate, the product is more interesting, and more effort is voluntarily exerted. By designing a school around students’ creative ideas, we also cultivate leadership, collaboration, confidence, and all of the skills that are increasingly valued by society. The cost is less rote memorization, less compliant behaviour, more questioning, decreased efficiency, etc. None of which has to be seen as a problem.

We believe that our students will be able to make their own failure/success in the future because they are practising right now.

About John Sarte

Science and Mathematics Facilitator at the Inquiry Hub at Millside Centre PhD Candidate at The University of British Columbia

16. January 2019 by John Sarte
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