Faces of Learning is a grassroots engagement initiative that kicked off in conjunction with the February 2011 release of a new book in which 50 Americans – from students to social workers to the Secretary of Education – share personal stories about their most powerful learning experiences and/or most effective teachers. It aims to spark public reflection on four essential questions that are, alarmingly, absent from the current national conversation about school improvement:

1. How do people learn?
2. How do I learn?
3. What does the ideal learning environment look like?
4. How can we create more ideal learning environments?

Already, scores of cities are planning public conversations in which people can hear stories, share insights, and participate in experiential learning opportunities with the purpose of seeding or leveraging relevant ongoing local work.

Want to organize an event in your community?

If so, there’s no single way to “do it right” – each event will have its own distinct flavor, venue and approach. However, the following core essentials help provide some consistency across events and cities:

• Make youth voices instrumental in both the event and its planning; these should be multi-age, multi-stakeholder, multi-cultural conversations about learning!
• Make the event free and open to anyone.
• Make the event engaging and experiential, in whatever ways the planning team thinks best.
• Organize the event so that it helps participants reflect on and consider the campaign’s four essential questions — either implicitly or explicitly.
• Provide a forum at the event for people to hear and share personal stories about powerful learning and teaching.
• Make it FUN!