How often do we as teachers think about our own learning when designing the learning experiences of others? Sometimes “school-learning” seems so different than the learning we do every day. Maybe in an attempt to make things “more streamlined” and “clear” for students we are taking some of the learning out of learning. Writing this book with Cathy and Meg required a lot of learning about the world of publishing, about collaboration, about writing for a specific audience and so much more. It was messy and less than streamlined. Our first draft of the book finished in 2014 was 13 cumbersome chapters and over 250 pages long. It had a whole chapter on learning theory…ugh! We received ample feedback from numerous sources, deciding what to change, keep, and scrap. We’re really proud of the end result even though we’re scared to look at it again for fear of finding that first typo. Part of our pride results in how much we had to learn, mess up, revise, and navigate to get there. When we strip the messiness, choice, and discomfort from our students’ learning, we rob them of that level of pride, the feeling of weathering the storm and coming out the other side with something that represents the best they could do at that time. I understand the desire to save our students discomfort, I know we have to make sure we “justify” grades with complete clarity, and I recognize that there is such a thing as too disorganized. However, I have to wonder how much these good intentions take away from the learning process and the humanness of it. Inquiry learning is not unstructured. The structure is differently built with a purpose that emphasizes process and transfer. Does it look messy and feel uncomfortable for students and teachers alike? Yes. Is it perfect? Nope. Is it just what it means to learn? I believe it is.

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