Following The Threads

Bringing Inquiry Research into the Classroom

A workshop for educators developed by Doug Selwyn, based in his book of the same title, Following the Threads looks at how to bring student interests and stories into the classroom, how to connect skills to authentic learning, and thereby connect students to the real world. This workshop can be tailored to specific grade levels (Elementary, Secondary, College) or can be addressed to a general K-12 audience.

Doug shares tips about increasing the odds for successful research project gleaned from in-depth conversations with historians, artists, writers, and classroom teachers at every level. He distills the work and wisdom of these professionals who follow the threads of their own questions and their students’ to basic principles that bring passion, depth, and authenticity to classroom teaching at any level. The workshop includes opportunities for participants to share their own best student-centered teaching practices as well as time to work in collegial groups to generate ideas for future classroom applications.

“My primary motive in teaching young people is to provoke them with ideas that would make them more active, more perceptive, more probing, more independent thinkers, and also inspire them to become active members of the society…If there’s a question to be solved you mustn’t limit yourself. You just go wherever the question leads you.” – Howard Zinn, historian

“First, we want the kids to look at a situation and be able to understand it, and secondly to look at alternatives, to embrace Robert Kennedy’s words, ‘There are those who look at things the way they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?’
“The reason I like project-based, or experiental learning, is because it makes education relevant. It gives kids a chance to actually use their education to create and produce something, which, at the end of the day, allows them to stand there and say, ‘I did that.’” – Gary Thomsen, high school teacher

“The people who would have you assess things never include ‘loves to learn.’ That is such a motivator for reluctant learners, to be interested in what you are studying and to be curious about it.”
– Libby Sinclair, elementary teacher

To inquire about booking this workshop, contact Project Director Doug Selwyn, dougselwyn at