Unprepared for What We Learned: Six Action Research Exercises that Challenge the Ends We Imagine for Education

Twentieth century models of education are not delivering on their promises, or helping to deliver the promise of the next generation. We hear that our students are not prepared for the challenges of the 21st century, and that therefore our teachers must not be prepared to teach those students. Managing preparation has become an obsession for policy-makers who claim that national competitiveness is at stake. After more than one hundred years, while everything is well managed, why is no one is prepared?

A preparatory mindset presumes that learners must be prepared before they can participate in society, and that this preparation must be managed intentionally using models, an implementation plan, and a system for assessing and evaluating the impact of those models. Today’s young and adult learners can read all the data, and no longer recognize this model as effective. Empowered by digital technologies, today’s learners are no longer willing to wait to be prepared. Instead, we’re empowered to seek experiences for which we are unprepared for what we’ll learn.

This book shares six exercises drawn from students, teachers, and school communities wrestling with problems of practice for which they were unprepared. Readers are encouraged to exercise they’re own judgment as they work through the book to question standards, outcomes, and global competencies; negotiate personalized learning; and ultimately learn how to co-create innovative school communities that disrupt the preparatory mindset. Though unprepared for what they learned, these young and adult learners participating in the authentic work of their school communities will challenge the ends we imagine for education.

Forthcoming in Spring 2018 as part of the Counterpoints Series, Peter Lang Publishing

Join @kubikhan on Twitter for more learning experiences with #unpreparedyetlearning!


Educators rarely realize that the answers to their challenges are often inside their own building. Rarely do we give ourselves the permission to do so. The richest, most sustainable solutions I have experienced in schools have come from the experts inside them. Dr. Kubik provides the opportunity to look inside for answers.

Tori Stephens-Shauger, Executive Director, ACE Leadership High School

Tori Stephens-Shauger | Educators rarely realize that the answers to their challenges are often inside their own […]

Education has begun to move into a new paradigm in which ‘process’—participation in the act of learning—becomes more critical than traditional ‘outcomes.’ In a field of thought as fresh as this one it’s not easy to describe this shift in thinking, let alone offer teachers the tools to carry it out in the classroom. Kubik does both. Drawing upon his deep experience with project based learning inquiry, and coaching teachers, Dr. Tim Kubik provides the discrete steps that teachers can take to put the participatory journey into action.

Thom Markham, PBL pioneer and founder of PBL Global

Thom Markham | Education has begun to move into a new paradigm in which ‘process’—participation in the […]

This timely and important work from Tim Kubik cuts through educational hype and delivers meaningful and actionable information for educators, administrators, trainers, and policy makers.

Jared Polis, Member of Congress and Ranking Member Early Childhood Education and Kindergarten through 12th Grade Subcommittee

Jared Polis | This timely and important work from Tim Kubik cuts through educational hype and delivers […]

Dr. Tim Kubik redefines education not as in preparation for standards or externally defined outcomes but rather an engaging process of participation for students as full members of a community, co-owned and co-designed by students and adults. With great stories and effective exercises, this veteran educator  changes the discourse and practice in education away from standardization and testing toward more democratic, future-oriented, and human-centered learning. 

Yong Zhao, Foundation Distinguished Professor, School of Education at the University of Kansas

Yong Zhao | Big&Rich Corp.

Today’s learners arrive at school ready to create, to connect, to contribute – to participate! We respond by implementing prescribed content and assessments at the expense of students’ meaningful participation. The same is true for today’s teachers! In this book you won’t find a blueprint for transitioning from a preparatory mindset to a participatory mindset. Instead, Dr. Kubik invites you to participate in learning from stories from across the country that will help you think about what that transition might look like in your learning community. It’s an invitation you don’t want to miss!

Mary Jo Scalzo, Executive Director, High AIMS Consortium

Mary Jo Scalzo | Big&Rich Corp.

Our Team
Dr. Tim Kubik
Dr. Tim Kubik
Dr. Tim Kubik has designed and taught project-based courses from elementary to post-graduate levels