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  • Writer's picturedave strudwick

Wonder Act Grow

Updated: Jun 6, 2020

This blog starts with the search for new questions and actions. It may seem philosophical but it is undoubtedly strategic if we are climbing the wrong mountain. Sir Ken Robinson provided the most watched TED talk in 2006 around schools killing creativity. It resonated hugely across the world and has been watched by 63 million people. Yet why has so little changed! It is like we have been holding onto a stick that we know is important but from the wrong end. My solution is to ask different questions, in response to need, and then make and iterate in our ‘learning village’.

a new future to live into

In my little home learning village I’ve been considering what will guide my future and those I love around me. I’ve settled on just three words - wonder, act and grow. They are a pedagogy which life teaches me when I’m awake to it. I believe these three words inspire a more courageous way of being and a potential to embrace a time of great uncertainty and new challenge. Each of the three words has multiple meanings. Each of the words connect to each other, making a single thread in my learning and life.

by Michele Gauler


Wonder as a feeling of amazement and awe is something so special. An ancient tree or soaring bird, a magician or trapeze artist, the birth of a child, the completion of a challenge. As a dad I’m close to wonder each day as I feel their curiosity based on why and how and what and where? Their ‘new eyes’ to an experience creates new imagined futures which for the experienced we’ve stopped looking to explore. But wonder can also be an act. And asking why and what if is a great inquiry into any realm of knowledge to bring about understanding. To act can be linked to rehearsal and performance but is also within action and character. To move out of our previous actions causes us to learn and grow. To grow can relate to that most natural of physical functions in the move to maturity for living things, but also relates to an individual becoming more in the world. So wonder, act, grow forms a natural flow and guide for my inquiry into the uncertainty which surround us all.

Wonder is all around us, in the fractal patterns of clouds and leaves. Our lives and learning, like these patterns, are both contained and infinite in their reach. As we notice the sounds, feelings, colours and horizons we see the wonder in the everyday. As we wonder about future possibilities we can create a life to live into which inspires us. Life needs purpose, a reason to get up in the morning. This needs great questions for us to ask. Finding your question is so important and so often forgotten in schools.

by Michele Gauler


So we hesitate, as I did with writing this, my first blog post. New actions outside of our familiar past experience is where, as Laura Barnes suggests, life begins. Am I a good deed thinker or good deed doer? As when I act from a place of purpose the magic happens. There is nothing to fix, no failure or success, but experience and from this learning and growth will undoubtedly follow, as night follows day. An act based on wonder is emotion in flow to growth.

by Laura Barnes


The only person who can grow is the individual. But our environment makes such a difference. Context, relationship and audience are everything. The process of being alongside another with their interest, care, modelling, encouragement and enabling is so often critical for learning. We can not be responsible for someone else’s learning (do it for them) but we can show responsibility to them by creating a great learning village to exist in. With any form of learning we might make the mistake of believing that because learning is the development of new connections in our brain that it is a solitary act. Our brains are social organs and our relationships form a crucial part of our learning ecology. The acorn knows how to become an oak tree but needs the right environment to thrive. In schools we might mistakingly look to tell the child what and how to learn based on our own needs rather than providing the conditions for them to thrive and become intrinsically driven. This does not replace direct instruction but recognises that this is carefully considered to facilitate deeper learning and not just performance.

where next

These posts will go on to explore what this can look like and move from questions into actions and growth.

Having mastery of life is not about arriving at a destination but finding a way of travelling. Mastery does not make difficult things easy but recognises that from a challenge we have a number of ways of how we interpret things and therefore act. Do we choose to blame or to grow? Do we choose to be right or to be loved? To know or be curious? And whilst I can not unravel my past mistakes, those moments of poor judgement or unkindness, I can access these gently as my greatest opportunity to learn. From breakdown to breakthrough. I invite you to play within this guide or perhaps to ponder and create your own. To wonder, act and grow.

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