Important Message about LEARN NC

LEARN NC is evaluating its role in the current online education environment as it relates directly to the mission of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education (UNC-CH SOE). We plan to look at our ability to facilitate the transmission of the best research coming out of UNC-CH SOE and other campus partners to support classroom teachers across North Carolina. We will begin by evaluating our existing faculty and student involvement with various NC public schools to determine what might be useful to share with you.

Don’t worry! The lesson plans, articles, and textbooks you use and love aren’t going away. They are simply being moved into the new LEARN NC Digital Archive. While we are moving away from a focus on publishing, we know it’s important that educators have access to these kinds of resources. These resources will be preserved on our website for the foreseeable future. That said, we’re directing our resources into our newest efforts, so we won’t be adding to the archive or updating its contents. This means that as the North Carolina Standard Course of Study changes in the future, we won’t be re-aligning resources. Our full-text and tag searches should make it possible for you to find exactly what you need, regardless of standards alignment.

A Paideia Seminar text is a tangible artifact or document appropriate for the participants’ current level of intellectual and social development. We have found it important that the seminar text is tangible (in whole or in part) for common reference. The text provides the anchor for the dialogue in that the facilitator can bring the participants back to the text if they begin to digress. Furthermore, the seminar text helps create a level playing field.

Types of texts

Texts can vary widely in form or type from print to non-print. For example, a seminar text may be a poem, a painting, a chart or graph, a short story, an essay, a word problem, a diagram, a map, a sculpture, or the description of a scientific experiment.

Characteristics of seminar text

A Paideia Seminar text is selected for many reasons, but an effective text will have the following characteristics:

  • Ideas and Values
  • Complexity and Challenge
  • Relevance
  • Ambiguity

Ideas and values

An idea is a thought, mental image, or notion. It is, by definition abstract rather than concrete. A value is an idea that is desirable or worthy for its own sake. The ideas and values that are most powerful in discussion are often those that are most complex and difficult to summarize. That is why a text that is rich in ideas and values has the most potential for challenging thinking skills.

Complexity and challenge

A good text is a “complex system”; it requires “reading” and rereading; it is not easily disposed of; and it is beyond the ability of any one participant to understand fully. (We mean reading in the broadest sense of the word, including viewing.)

Relevance to participants and curriculum

Where possible, the text has a compelling connection to the participants’ lives. Sometimes this connection emerges only in discussion, but it should exist even when not obvious. Furthermore, the ideas and values in the text should align with the intended conceptual curriculum.


The text can be legitimately considered and discussed from a variety of different perspectives, including perspectives that seem mutually exclusive.