Perhaps the first step towards this model of education could be to replace the classic 'mission statement' with a 'mission question' thus moving the school's central goal away from instilling some sort of knowledge or character (a central feature noted in most school mission statements) and towards serving as a challenge to students and teachers to more thoroughly examine their places in the world.
I took a look at Westminster's mission statement, and I think loz is onto something. Here is the first paragraph of our mission statement:
We are a community of learners with a long and honored tradition of caring deeply about students and their education. Students are challenged to experiment with ideas, raise questions, critically examine alternatives, and make informed decisions. We encourage students to accept responsibility for their own learning, to discover and pursue their passions, and to act with responsibility.
Imagine the first sentence as a series of questions:
As a community of learners we want to understand the following:
- What role does our tradition of education play in supporting student learning today?
- What obligation does a learning community have to care deeply about its members?
- How does caring influence student learning?
So now, some questions of my own: How would a college use a mission question to recruit students? I'm giving a talk to potential students and their parents this Saturday. I'll let you know.