The Joy of Not Knowing

Course Description

This one day theoretical, practical and interactive course for all staff introduces participants to the philosophy of education and of leadership known as the Joy of Not Knowing© (JONK©). The day introduces practitioners to a range of ideas that schools can use to build on and to enrich their already existing excellent practice. The course will demonstrate:
  • How to launch the academic year with a dedicated Learning to Learn Week
  • How to establish a whole school learning to learn culture
  • How to remove barriers from students
  • How to ensure that leaners acquire an intrinsic motivation to want to learn and a lifelong love of learning
  • How to obtain develop leaners as successful individuals, effective lifelong learners, curious critical thinkers and engaged global citizens.

Aims of the Course
  • To illustrate, using practical examples, how the educational theory that leads to successful lifelong learning can be embraced as part of everyday practice 
  • To enable participants to engage in intellectual pedagogical discussion and in practical workshops that will enable them to reflect upon and build on their existing excellent practice
  • To discover innovative approaches with which to enrich provision, motivate students and equip them with the dispositions, skills and strategic awareness of successful lifelong learners
  • To provide participants with the opportunity to reflect upon the ideas introduced during the day in order to plan for initiatives rooted on the JONK belief that ‘anything and everything is possible’

Participants will learn how to:

  • Foster a values-led learning-to-learn culture rooted on classrooms as communities of enquiry, intellectual debate, metacognition and philosophical, creative and critical thought
  • Create the conditions that remove barriers from learners; dispositional, strategic and attitudinal
  • Create the conditions that lead students to acquire an intrinsic motivation to want to learn, to become leaders of their own learning and to develop as metacognitive-fluent individuals
  • Explicitly teach students how to learn and how to enjoy occasions when they don’t know with the understanding that this is a necessary first step and pre-requisite to acquiring new knowledge 
  • Engage with and reflect upon the eight pedagogical principles that define the Model of Excellence and Enjoyment (MEE) and that research has shown to have greatest impact on student outcomes
  • Personalise and shape the eight principles of the MEE Model within each participants’ everyday routine and subject area
  • Equip students with all the skills, attitudes and dispositions of successful lifelong learners, confident individuals and positive contributors to society through a dedicated Learning to Learn Week at the start of the academic year
  • Derive, in partnership with the students, a set of lifelong learning dispositions that enables them to access all aspects and demands of the curriculum and to become independent and intrinsically motivated learners who have a positive mindset towards their current challenges and are equipped to succeed with their next steps in education, society and the world of employment 
  • Offer students the opportunity to engage in ‘intellectual playful’ challenges in all subjects which are an integral and seamless part of the provision targeted at students who have mastered the intended learning objective  

Course Sessions

Session 1: Introducing the Joy of Not Knowing (JONK)
Session 2: Theory into Practice- an Interactive Session
Session 3: Building on Existing Practice- Practical Workshops 
Session 4: JONK- Anything and Everything is Possible

Who should attend

Middle Leaders
Senior Leaders

Supporting Literature and Resources 

  • Staricoff, M. and Rees, A. (2005) Start Thinking, Imaginative Minds, Birmingham, UK
  • Staricoff, M. (2007) Here Comes The Philosophy Man, Philosophising the Primary Curriculum, Gifted Education International, 22, 182-191
  • Staricoff, M (2013) The Joy of Not Knowing, Creative Teaching and Learning, 4.2, 45-53
  • Staricoff, M (2014) Nurturing Creative Thinking from an Early Age, Creative Teaching and Learning, 4.3, 16-24
  • Staricoff, M (2018) Laying the Foundations for Young Thinkers, Creative Teaching and Learning, 8.1, 18-26
  • Staricoff, M (2018) Enjoying Not Knowing Even More, Children as Leaders of School Improvement, Creative Teaching and Learning, 7.4, 18-27

Success Stories

I had the most amazing day with the philosophy masterclass. We had great feedback from the teacher Mr S.

- Philosophy | Masterclass

D said it was the “best day ever”

- Philosophy | Masterclass

Marcelo Staricoff is amazing and inspiring

- Teacher | Brighton

JONKing at Coastal Federation was one of the best things we’ve done to inspire our children- go for it!

- Coastal Federation | Norfolk

Thank you for the JONK Course, excellent course and I can’t wait to start!

- Teacher | JONK Course

Great examples, brilliant presentation

- Headteacher | JONK Course