What popped out at me as a place to begin my reflection was with the idea of questioning. I love that the title of the book is a question. Lately I’ve started a lot of my thinking about topics I am interested in with a question. Questioning is at the heart of any new learning and nurtures the habits of curiosity and exploration that help all of us remain lifelong learners. November quotes from a personal communication he had with a colleague who also happens to be a Harvard researcher: “The essential skill of the 21st century is knowing how to ask the most powerful questions.”
As November points out, the old industrial classroom model that most teachers use “underestimates the natural curiosity of students to direct their own thinking” (p.5). Many authors such as Debbie Miller, Georgia Heard, and Donald Graves have talked about the natural curiosity of young learners and the importance of keeping this essential trait alive. What has changed in the classroom is the fact that teachers no longer have to have all the answers. In fact, teachers share in the new discoveries made all the time. We are all a part of a global community where information is at our fingertips. Helping students to understand how to access and use information and keep that curiosity alive should be at the heart of how we teach. “The energy of discovery will drive educators and students to continue creating new goals and finding new directions” (p.19).
As a digital immigrant , what was important for me as I read (and reread) the first few chapters of November’s book was how he encourages teachers to start small. Even something as simple as a classroom blog that reaches beyond the local community can help students discover the value and importance of global communication to share their knowledge and find answers to their questions. This past year I have learned from so many wonderful educators in all parts of the country (and world), mostly through Twitter and blogs. It was a leap for me, but one that keeps me energized as I continue to question and learn.