Inquiry Magazine Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy

FALL 2015

Penelope Peterson


Dear Friends,

As we begin a new school year, I write to share with you one of my favorite passages from Mary Catherine Bateson. An anthropologist concerned with learning and education, Bateson once told me that she still takes as her role models her first and best teachers—her parents, Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, famous anthropologists in their own rights. In her book Peripheral Visions, Bateson wrote:

“It is fashionable in America to say that schools are failing, and there is a groundswell of anger against educators of all kinds. This is not in the main because they are not doing their job—it is because we have no adequate understanding of what the job is in the society we are becoming...

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  • Learning across the lifespan

    In this issue: Learning Across the Life Span

  • Early Learning, Lifelong Success
    Early Learning, Lifelong Success

    Anyone who has ever seen a preschooler name dinosaurs, add numbers or identify insects knows that young kids are little sponges—ready to soar with learning that can last a lifetime. As the importance of early education becomes more and more accepted, consensus is building among experts and policy makers to expand access to preschool and improve quality. But how?

  • Teachers as Learners
    Teachers as Learners

    Each day brings new experiences and questions for a novice teacher. Learning to navigate the intersection of teaching the subject matter while keeping kids engaged requires time and practice. For the senior staff member down the hall, new technology in the classroom may present fresh challenges. How can teachers at all levels master evolving skills and improve student learning? The answer, according to experts at the School of Education and Social Policy, may sound familiar: It’s education.

  • Designing Games for Social ChangeEngaging with Online Content: History Learning for All Ages
    Engaging with Online Content: History Learning for All Ages

    Jolie Matthews spends a lot of time on the Internet. The SESP assistant professor is researching discussion forums, blogs, YouTube and other online platforms to examine how the Internet and digital technologies are changing the ways we acquire and disseminate information.