It takes courage for #deeperlearning in our @newtechnetwork schools. “Courage: Agency +1”

August 27, 2014

picture-2666-1426704131Ever since the opening session of the Deeper Learning Conference this past spring I have been intrigued by the term “courage”, or “academic courage” as defined by Ron Berger of Expeditionary Learning Schools. Check out this series of videos from the Teaching Channel (…) or this overview by Berger himself ( If that doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will!

The way I see it courage is “agency +1”…I mean how can we talk about one without the other? It takes courage to have agency, and agency builds courage. As I sat through a PD session a few weeks ago at a New Tech school I work with it dawned on me how much we ask of our students when we ask them to have agency. They aren’t comfortable in their own skin, and yet we are asking them to put themselves out there-to have persistence, ask questions, to seek feedback and be open to challenges. That all takes courage! And by developing all these skills and attributes we hope to impact their way of being-to help them be their best, courageous selves.

So if that’s what we hope for our students what does that mean for us as educators, and our way of being? How do we dig deep to be our best selves? What kind of courage does that take-both in and out of our classroom? In The Courage to Teach Parker Palmer brilliantly explains that “we teach who we are”. If this is true, how do we model what it means to have agency and courage? How do we inspire our students at the intersection of these two crucial roads we ask them to walk every day?

Read this complete post on Jennifer R. Pieratt’s blog.