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Welcome from our Director

08/03/2012 at 22:20

Charles Darwin Trust Director, Karen Goldie-Morrison (on the left) with one of our educators, Dr Sue JohnsonWelcome to our new website which I hope succeeds in sharing our enthusiasm for Darwin Inspired.

Our major project, now 10 years in development, is Darwin Inspired Learning. The website tells you what it is and who we are. If not, I am sure you will let us know.

I read Darwin’s autobiography at aged 14, somehow aware that his life and how he developed his big ideas about nature were as important as his published work. So ending up using Darwin’s life story as a model for teaching and learning about science is no surprise to me.

When people ask me what Darwin Inspired Learning is, I say that it is not about Darwin, as in a catalogue of his life, but it asks that we mine Darwin’s life story for the way he investigated and himself learnt about how the natural world works. And we share this way of learning, his way of working, with those who learn with us – currently primary and secondary students and teachers. The response always excites me. The website includes many of their reactions.

We are a small education research and development organisation working with groups of schools to introduce, embed and sustain Darwin Inspired so that teachers and students can adopt this way of working through their lives. Every programme or scheme of work is a pilot for us as we constantly evaluate and adapt to fine tune this model. We do not deliver from a published list of courses. Once we reach that stage we hope that others will have taken them over.

Four books on a shelf, Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species, More Letters of Charles DarwinWe do not charge for our work in schools. We feel this allows us to maintain a state of open enquiry, just like our namesake. As a result, much of my time is focussed on raising funds to support our teams (all of whom are part-time and freelance).

We are also fortunate to have been bequeathed a collection of Darwin books, letters and manuscripts, some very rare. Apart from a few items having an airing in a few exhibitions celebrating Darwin’s bicentenary in 2009, we have yet to share the collection widely. We are considering ways of making these resources available , not only for teaching but also for research.

Karen Goldie-Morrison, 23rd February 2012.

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