#7- Why? What? How?

Why is this topic/issue important?

I believe that this topic is important because the public school system does not teach in the way that the brain learns. It is imperative that we address this issue so that children and young adults can learn how/what they learn, and not how their teachers decide how/what they learn. We are not reaching our full potential. We are not learning all of the skills that we need for the rest of our lives, don’t we have the right to learn those skills? Don’t we have the right to reach our full potential?

What’s the story with this topic?

So many people have different views about what education should look like. Some think that the system is effective the way it is, some think that we need an entirely different one. I want to have conversations with people of different ages and positions, and I want to know about their experience with education and what they thought of it. How do we make a system that works well for everyone?

What am I seeking?

This topic is so, so, broad. I’m still trying to figure out what message I want to have, what I want to focus on, and what I want to get out of this experience. I know that I want to focus on tension. I want to get into the tension between the students and the teachers, and the students vs the students, teachers vs teachers, parents vs students, etc. I want to know what they think about education and what it was like for them, and if they think it should change or not. I also want to make my opinion clear (that education needs to change). I want to show everyone why I think what I do, I want to give them facts and evidence about the brain and learning. Lastly, I want to focus on the project-based learning program i’m in called Nexus. Nexus is new, and the teachers within it are figuring things out as they go. I want to document the tension there, as well as the breakthroughs, questions, stuck points, etc.


I now know that I will be focusing on the education reform program that I am participating in (Nexus). I will focus on the tensions around the creation and growth of Nexus (how it came to be, how we will move forward). I’d like to interview the teachers who created Nexus and talk to them about how and why they participated. In addition, I want to document the growth of Nexus, whatever that entails. I’d also like to talk to some parents of Nexus kids and ask them how they feel about the program. Finally, i’d like to ask the kids how they feel about Nexus, and possibly document some of their processes, triumphs, and tensions within their Nexus projects.

I have so much to think about, and my thoughts are extremely disorganized. I’m so stumped about the presentation because I have no idea what specifics I want to focus on. My presentation will most likely be less content, more just me talking freely about my ideas I shared in this post.


My presentation will focus on what information I am seeking to bring this issue to life. While my presentation is short and may seem broad, I have very specific and organized thoughts for everything I wrote on those slides, and I cannot wait to share them.

Here’s my presentation.

Maddie Parker

2 Responses to “#7- Why? What? How?

  • Emily Rinkema
    7 years ago

    Hi Maddie,

    Your ideas are still broad, as you wrote, but I actually think you are getting closer to a story. When I look back at your posts and your mind map and think of the conversations we’ve had, I see a few distinct possibilities that seem to be of most interest to you. The first is the tension between parents and students when thinking about ed reform–I could imagine an amazing “story” told through interviews of both parents and students, trying to get at the heart of their hopes and concerns. The second could be the story of Nexus, one which is being written as we type! In both cases, I’d love to see you tie in your interest in the brain and learning.

    I’d suggest trying to commit to something narrow like this for your pitch, because if you come to the weekend unsure of your focus, I’m afraid your ideas might get lost. Challenge yourself to spend a few solid days figuring out if one of the above feels right. I’d love to chat about it if you want to hunt me down at school!

    I’m excited to see what you choose to focus in on–that’s where the actual change is going to begin!


  • Maddie,

    I am enthusiastic about your topic. I think the Nexus program is a big step in the right direction to personalize learning while balancing responsibility, reflection, and common learning goals (or proficiencies). On some level, you could be a rep for CVU and Nexus as you tell your story, but it might be hard because you’re in the middle of writing that story by being in the class. It could be interesting to consider how Nexus was generated. Who were some of the first students to perhaps morph what used to be simply called independent studies into what Nexus hopes to be? Could you reach out to them to interview them? Can you interview your principal and perhaps the previous CVU principal, too?

    It will be great to figure out where the most creative and innovative programs for secondary students are in the state (and maybe neighboring states). Also, who are those adult change makers pushing the envelope who would be wonderful people to interview?

    This is exciting stuff.


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