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Closing Keynote: A Gardener’s Approach To Learning

Presenter: David Warlick
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
Link to David’s bio page

Presentation Title: A Gardener’s Approach To Learning

Presentation Description:

When I left the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction in 1995, the Internet was still a wilderness for the educators who even knew that it existed. I, and others, saw ourselves as trailblazers, establishing routes and landmarks for those who followed.
Then, for years, settling that wilderness became an allegory for an education institution that was, at last, starting to establish the means to move into this new environment and even beginning to expect educators to leave the established but increasingly irrelevant centuries old structures and move into a new and fertile landscape.
It might be usefully to extend this story from pioneers, then settlers, and talk about learning gardeners.  Our classrooms and extended learning environments have become great gardens of potential, and it has become our job to cultivate learning..
To cultivate the future.

DotSub Video Presentation Link

Blip m4v direct link (video file)
Blip mp3 direct link (audio file)

Link to presentation’s supporting documents:

Additional Information:
Blog: 2cents.davidwarlick.com
Landmarks for Schools
Class Blogmeister
Twitter: @dwarlick


  1. David Wells

    I like the metaphor of cultivating learning and your call to work the earth spoke to me. You got me to thinking of how the abundance of information our students have can be similar to the abundance of food in our society. You can grab the fast food hamburger because there are 10 burger joints in your town – an over-abundance, but we know they are not good for us. If we help students cultivate their own learning, they can have sustaining knowledge (food) and grow to be stronger students.

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  3. Chris Betcher

    Thanks David, insightful as always. Aside from the embedded message about the need to “work the ecosystem” (and the nice anology to the garden), your presentation remindes us all that great teaching is so often about telling the human stories of our lives.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Eileen

    Gardening is a good way to describe the relationship with cultivating nutrition with cultivating the knowlege and teaching of the students minds. The bottom line is it all boils down to survival. Lack of knowledge is harmful to the mind as lack of the right foods is harmful to the body. The combination of both lead to a health person (student)

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  8. Adelia Horton

    I got so much from your presentation that I watched your video several times so that I would get all you presented. Your message was full of valuable analogies,and very interesting. I thought of the students being like the vegetables in the garden whose characteristics aided the other types of vegetables to keep them from harmful bugs. If we teachers thought of our students as team players whose various personalities aided one another in the classroom ocultuare, or “eco” system, we would hopefully not have to spend enormous amounts of time disciplining the child who exhibits “variant” behavior. Maybe we could chanel that behavior to be a positive for the group.
    Thank you Mr. Warlick for a great presentation.

  9. Adelia Horton

    I enjoyed your online conference so much that I watched the video several times so that I would not miss anything important that you had to say. I liked your analogy of natuare’s eco-system to the classroom culture today. I thought of our students’ various personalities assisting one another in the learning process. Valuable nand interesting presentation.

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