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Celebrating a Pedagogical Rainforest

A process for sharing and reflecting on Learning Design as an intentional process with many shapes, forms and playbooks. What do they have in common? What resonates? How might we build a shared vocabulary or shared reflection? How might we filter the noise?

This Gets You
to reflect on the myriad of learning design processes to filter the noise and reflect on the themes that emerge. This provocation invites participants to distill the important messages, filter the noise and share in a dialogue about being designers of learning. 

Keep in Mind
all educators come with different models, experiences, backgrounds, and expertise. Finding a common language is not about imposing systems or models, rather its about embracing the art of teaching and sharing in powerful reflection on practice.

“There is enormous variety in the range of trees and plants that are thriving in the environment; it is lush, exotic, awe inspiring, unpredictable, non-linear.  Each specimen is magnificent in its own right… with different organisms occupying their niche in an environment that is self-nourishing. Without the need for external artificial interventions, the soil is fertile and the process of evolution is continous. Whilst each plant has distinctive features and unique requirements, they all co-exist in an equilibrium that develops organically over time in response to changing conditions.”
From Plantation Thinking to Rainforest Thinking by Tom Sherrington @teacherhead


  1. Share a variety of learning processes, models and placemats.
  2. Table discussion:
    • What themes emerge?
    • What models or themes do you use, or have you used?
    • What rises above the noise?
    • What are some of the powerful words or phrases used that resonate with you?

You may want to collect reflections and have groups plot the different synonyms or phases on the board. You might collect these using a 3 column organizer for what comes at the beginning, middle or end. These are variations on a theme. The key is to distill the ideas that come from all of the tools, not to choose which tool to impose.