S2: E26: Engaging Students with Meaningful Work and Partnerships w/ Zack Jones (Dual School)

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We are joined by Zack Jones, Director of Dual School in Wilmington, Delaware. Zack is both administrator and author, writing The World Changer's Handbook: A Young Person's Guide to Creating an Impactful Life, which details purpose building and creative work for students - which you learn more about on Zack’s daily blog at zcjones.com. The Dual School program is offered to New Castle County, Delaware students as a 10-week program which focuses on self-directed student projects that are aided by area professionals. You can learn more about Dual School, as well as see their impressive case studies, on their website at DualSchool.com.

Specifically, Zack and I discuss how this program could be replicated in other locations (perhaps even as simply an after school program organized by an educator), the importance of networking and professional connections, and how to make schooling more relevant through meaningful self-directed work. Zack has offered to lend his voice (or Dual School students) to anyone inquiring - you can reach him at info@dualschool.com. As a side note, in the episode I bring up a social impact project I’ve done with my classes, which is the Diamond Challenge.

S2: E25: Inspiring Awe and Creativity through Art Museums and Education w/ Emily Holtrop

We are joined by Emily Holtrop of the National Art Education Association and Association of Art Museum Directors and current Director of Learning and Interpretation at the Cincinnati Art Museum. She is the 2018 National Art Museum Art Educator, and has worked as a museum educator for 17 years - she oversees the education initiatives by the Cincinnati Art Museum. Emily has been invited to share recent findings on the importance of art museum field trips, as well as the greater impact of arts education for students.

This podcast was inspired by these recent findings. Essentially, art museums are important, but now there’s some scientific proof! By taking one’s class to an art museum, there are gains in how students see the world, particularly promoting critical thinking, empathy, creative thinking, academic development, and a measurable “sense of wonder.” You can watch the entire presentation for the NAEA/AAMD study here.

Emily and I discuss this study, how to get involved with an art museum, as well as elevating art education in schools.

S2: E24: Addressing Adversity and Trauma w/ Michael Lamb (Turnaround for Children)

Today we’re joined by Michael Lamb, executive director for the education nonprofit Turnaround for Children in Washington, D.C. Previously, Michael helped lead the US Dept. of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, and was a Senior Policy Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education on school turnaround and high school redesign. One of the most most important experiences in Michael’s career was teaching in a school on the south side of Chicago.

Turnaround for Children translates breakthrough science - including neuroscience - into, tools, strategies and resources to help all children thrive, with a particular focus on students who  experience adversity and trauma. This school year, Turnaround is offering professional development, coaching, and technical assistance to schools and school districts, serving approximately 4,000 educators and 50,000 students.

Michael and I discuss how to effectively revitalize education to help those who need it the most.




S2: E22: Finding Purpose w/ Patrick Cook-Deegan (Project Wayfinder)

Today we’re joined by Patrick Cook-Deegan, founder of Project Wayfinder. Patrick started his career focused on human rights - traveling through North Korea, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, with a specific focus on atrocities in Burma. Meanwhile, he launched the Social Innovation Initiative at Brown University. And soon after, he started a mindfulness in Oakwood. Now, Patrick has founded and leads Project Wayfinder, founded at Stanford’s d. school - an organization which supplies schools with a year-long purpose-driven education curriculum.

You can learn more about Patrick and the work he’s doing, as well as potentially meet to seek out their services, on Project Wayfinder’s website. Project Wayfinder’s work is based off of studies by Dr. Cotton Bronk and Dr. Bill Damon, who study how purpose develops and the ensuing effect. In Purpose Rising: A Global Movement of Transformation and Meaning (in which Patrick’s autobiography is found), this graph can be analyzed to see how (sadly) our schools misalign with the search for purpose:

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Full disclosure: We’re in the process of adopting Project Wayfinder (potentially) at our school - but I thought the product was so well designed, it was worth sharing!

In this podcast, we talk about:

  • A “Purpose-Driven” Education and how much impact having a purpose change’s one life.

  • The beginning of - and overall goals - of Project Wayfinder and how you can get involved.

  • Equity and impact of purpose-driven programs.

  • Integrating purpose and relationships into schools (with or without this curriculum)

  • Graphic design and its impact on validity/purpose.

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S2: E21: Restoring Humanity to....Education (Critical Pedagogy)

Restoring Humanity are short(ish) segments on understanding a key idea of progressive education. This time, we're tackling discipline! What are the roots of our discipline system, what issues exist, and how can we solve them?

Cited within:

A script of this podcast can be found here.

S2: E20: Timeless Learning w/ Ira Socol

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Today we’re joined by Ira Socol. Ira is the public education director of Educational Technology and Innovation, a Design Project Manager, Researcher, a specialist in Universal Design technology, Senior Provocateur, among many other titles. Ira’s latest book, written with Dr. Pam Moran and Chad Ratliff, Timeless Learning: How Imagination, Observation, and Zero-Based Thinking Change Schools, explores how maker spaces, project-based learning, and student-centered instruction radically changes schools from assembly lines to a community learning space.

In our discussion, we focus on converting traditional schools to ones that put students first. Often, when we talk about ‘student-centered learning”, we’re really just offering a faux choice designed by teachers. Instead, why not change schools to truly do what students want? Why not completely realign traditional practice to the needs of the 21st century? And what if, despite what everyone may think, students did better on traditional standardized assessment as a result? Ira offers research and anecdotes to help one understand the impact of zero-based thinking and what teachers/administrators/parents/whomever may do to transform their schools to be more human.

Despite some minor connectivity issues, make sure you listen in to this one!

S2: E19: Educating for Change w/ Kevin Wilcox & Benjamin Goes

In an edu-sphere rampant with those attempting to change the system from the outside, it's refreshing to hear teachers making daily changes in their classroom. In this podcast, I (Chris) talk to Kevin Wilcox - a veteran social studies teacher - about his efforts to remove grading in his classroom, the struggles he's faced, and how he perseveres in doing what's best for kids. Then, Benjamin Goes talks to me about his journey in creating radical independent study program.

This type of work is often undervalued and under appreciated. No matter the area - people are making positive changes. We must keep pushing forward!

S2: E18: Restoring Humanity to Discipline (Restorative Justice)

Restoring Humanity are short(ish) segments on understanding a key idea of progressive education. This time, we're tackling discipline! What are the roots of our discipline system, what issues exist, and how can we solve them?

This podcasts pairs with our resource (which is where most of the researched information is cited) on this topic.

We also cite:

S2: E18: Innovating Education w/ Dr. Tony Wagner

Today we're joined by Dr. Tony Wagner. Tony is a Senior Research Fellow at the Learning Policy Institute who has served at Harvard University for over twenty years. Tony has worked in K-12 education as a school teacher, K-8 principal, university professor in teacher education, and is the founded the Educators for Social Responsibility. An author of many thoughts including Creating Innovators, The Global Achievement Gap, and Most Likely to Succeed (documentary now available on iTunes) - Tony has been a perpetual driver of innovative educational practice. Tony  has been a prime resource for Michael and I for years and we're always thrilled to show new staff and students Most Likely to Succeed to promote project-based learning and transforming the traditional model. 

In our discussion, we primarily focus on the need to change education and hope that's on the horizon - specifically the Mastery Transcript Consortium (of which Tony serves on the board.) Our emphasis on grades, unwavering class times, age segregation, and more have led us toward a stale curriculum which does a disservice to students. Instead, why not flip the entire model by reimagining college admissions?

 

 

S2: E17: Is the factory model a myth? w/ Jennifer Binis

Most progressive reformers utilize the "factory model" to explain how education in the United States came to be. Could it be wildly inaccurate? Jennifer Binis contacted us in response to a graphic on our website, which characterized this view:

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In our view this was an accurate (albeit poorly drawn) portrayal of what the "factory model" was and continues to be, but Jennifer raised concerns that this was inaccurate. So we invited her on!

Jennifer is the curator of the podcast Ed History 101. She is a former special education teacher who now supports teachers and districts with authentic assessment design (such as portfolios and projects) and is published in the fields of special, gifted and middle-level education and has left her opinions and research related to history, gender, and education in various corners of the internet.

Much of what we spoke about seemed to run in circles...is the factory model completely untrue, one perspective, or accurate? Listen in to the podcast and find out - there's a ton of lively discussion within. Because it would be too long to include here, there's a more formal write-up of my thoughts here.

S2: E16: Restoring Humanity: Assessment (Gradeless Learning)

For this episode we're trying something new. Instead of having a guest, I'm (Chris) deep-diving into one element of progressive education - offering history and advice to gradeless learning. I tried my best to cover an extensive look at this topic, including - most importantly - the point of why this is needed.

There are many quotes and research provided, here is a list of the resources used:

*Also, I stated "Deborah Meiers" as a source for "creative noncompliace." I meant "Deborah Meier."

Much of these thoughts are laid out in text form with specific recommendations for educators in our free resource, Grading =/ Assessment.

I hope this podcast was valuable to you! You can leave us feedback by tagging us on Twitter @HumResPro or contacting us on our website

S2: E15: Engaging in Social Media w/ Annick Rauch

We’re again joined by Annick Rauch, who previously discussed the importance of emotional intelligence in education. Annick is a first grade French immersion teacher at the Ecole Sage Creek School in Manitoba, Canada. Annick operates a blog focused on growth mindset, motivation, passion, and more at annickrauch.ca and shares her thoughts on Twitter @AnnickRauch.

Today we're talking practical social media - using Twitter and blogging to expand one's (and other's) practice. We share a variety of tools including:

  • Tweetdeck: A way to organize hashtags, schedule Tweets, and simply just organize your feed.
  • Participate: A center for educational Twitter chats to see a schedule, questions, and answers.
  • Medium: A free blogging social media platform.

We highlight the importance of sharing what you're doing and writing about it. After all, the cornerstone of experiential learning, as presented by John Dewey, is reflection. Until we reflect on the experiences that we've had, we don't truly comprehend what we've learned and could possibly not take away anything at all.

In addition, we recommend taking these steps to grow your social media practice:

  • Start a school hashtag and/or account where teachers Tweet what is going on in their classrooms to share to the world.
  • Join a Twitter chat as an educator and participate.
  • Start a Blog of your thoughts (perhaps on Medium)

 

 

S2: E14: Training Future Teachers w/ Monte Syrie

Today, we’re joined again by Monte Syrie. Monte joined us previously to talk about teacher/student relationships, and he’s back to discuss teacher training. Monte operates a daily educational blog at letschangeeducation.com, serves as an adjunct professor of education at Eastern Washington University, and is a high school English teacher and department chair at Cheney High School in Cheney, Washington.

In our discussion, we focus on what qualities to look for in a teacher, how a teacher program can be designed, and what our goals are for the future. In talking about training, this quote seemed so relevant from John Dewey's The Relation of Theory to Practice in Education:

"The teacher who leaves the professional school with power in managing a class of children may appear to superior advantage the first day, the first week, the first month, or even the first year, as compared with some other teacher who has a much more vital command of the psychology, logic and ethics of development. But later ‘progress’ may with such consist only in perfecting and refining skill already possessed. Such persons seem to know how to teach, but they are not students of teaching. Even though they go on studying books of pedagogy, reading teachers’ journals, attending teachers’ institutes, etc., yet the root of the matter is not in them, unless they continue to be students of subject-matter, and students of mind-activity. Unless a teacher is such a student, he may continue to improve in the mechanics of school management, but he cannot grow as a teacher, an inspirer and director of soul-life."

So often our teachers are trained to see lesson plans, classroom management, and grading as the heart of education and relationships, passion, and interests as nice, but asides. Instead, why not flip that model? Why can actual protocol be "good things to do" but relationships and engaging lifelong learners be the focal point? Surely there are many issues to address, but we need to start somewhere.

S2: E13: Traditional Education Critique & the Movement Toward Self-Directed Thought w/ "Sisyphus"

Mike, who goes by the Twitter handle "Sisyphus", has been in public education for 25 years. He has worked as an assistant principal in a suburban middle school for 8 years but is back in the classroom now. Sisyphus wants to remain anonymous because his personal education philosophy drastically clashes with his district's philosophy. He has hopes of getting back into administration so he can hopefully make some child friendly changes.

Sisyphus and I (Chris) talk about the issues that we see with traditional education, as well as offer some critique to the self-directed education model. Then, we focus in on the topic I wanted to explore most: the messaging factor of alternative education. How can we press traditional education as a critical voice without disparaging and alienating those with good intentions? Is it possible to have critique without pure negativity? Given that Mike has literally taken a moniker because of the perception of his views, it seems like a candid discussion to be had. You can follow Mike on Twitter @Sisyphus38.

S2: E12: Trauma, Mental Health, and Well-Being w/ Mandy Froehlich

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Mandy Froehlich is the Director of Innovation and Technology in the Ripon Area School District in Wisconsin and author of The Fire Within: Lessons from Defeat That Have Ignited a Passion for Learning. This collection of stories from educators describes how adversity is met with strength and everyone grows as a result. Furthermore, Mandy is a Google for Education Certified Trainer, ambassador for Canvas LMS, a keynote speaker, presenter, and PD lead.

In our discussion, Mandy and I (Chris) spoke about the dangers of the stigma surrounding mental health and its specific detriment to teachers and students. Often, teachers are put on a pedestal - being seen as heroic (or for some, godlike) - and facing trauma is both unrealistic to account for, as well as dangerous to the psyche of "teacherhood."

Furthermore, we talk about the steps teachers can take to ensure they are well equipped to deal with trauma in the classroom, as well as simple actions that can have drastic impact on students' lives.

S2: E11: Administration, Organization, and Vision w/ Amy Fast Ed.D.

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In this episode, we’re joined by administrator Amy Fast Ed. D. Amy is a High School teacher turned assistant principal, advocate for progressive education, instructional coach, and author of It's the Mission, Not the Mandates: Defining the Purpose of Public Education. You can find Amy on Twitter @fastcrayon constantly posting solid advice and thoughts. This is Amy’s second podcast, although we messed up on recording the first one. Here's our previous transcription.

We invited Amy to talk about major facets that make up the core of a school's policy: scheduling, hiring, PD, discipline - and more! We break through a few concepts and try to stick to "day to day" plans - but the fact of the matter is that vision encompasses everything. Without understanding the why of what you're doing - there is no what. Solutions will be different for every single school, so it's difficult to formulate concrete plans. At the same time, it's important to know what's out there - to expose oneself to what can fit into those plans.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and learn, are inspired, plus facilitate some new ideas.

S2: E10: Self-Directed Education w/ Abrome (Antonio Buehler)

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Abrome is a self-directed, year-long school located in Austin, Texas. With a focus on intentional community and deep dives into goals, interesting, passions, and happiness - Abrome seeks to create remarkable children without an intentional focus on college or career preparation. Instead, Abrome adopts the philosophy that students will learn through play, experimentation, and creation - students will seek out their own interests and lead their own lives.

Joining us from Abrome is Antonio Buehler - who founded the school. Antonio is heavily against the standardization of education. Before starting Abrome, Antonio worked as an admissions consultant for those seeking entry to top colleges and MBA programs, as well as a middle and high school teacher at an alternative school in Austin. Prior to that, he worked in the finance industry and the military. Furthermore, Antonio founded the Peaceful Streets Project - an organization aiming to change institutionalized criminal justice towards non-violence - and has served in a plethora of service projects.

I wanted to invite Antonio to talk about his views on self-directed education, whether or not public schools are in the best interests of students, and what, if anything, public schools can change to adopt a child-focused approach.

Antonio and I discuss the pitfalls of traditional education and the characteristics, plus benefits, of self-directed education. We also discuss the philosophical differences between progressive schools (as a term) vs. self-directed schools. Namely, progressive schools tend to have teachers who mentor and guide - and have elements of self-directed learning, but a hierarchy still exists where teachers respond to and lead students. In a self-directed school, all decisions are made by students, with teachers there to assist.

At the Human Restoration Project, we believe there are benefits to both systems. We emphasize progressive education as we see it as a natural remedy to traditional public schools, but fully support efforts to promote and build self-directed learning centers. As long as students are choosing to attend either type of school - doing what's in their best interest - children will have a fantastic experience.

S2: E9: The "Savior Complex" and Teachers

In today's discussion, Michael and I sit down to discuss the "savior complex" and how it negatively impacts educators. The "savior complex" refers to those who believe their goal in life is to "save others" and paint themselves as a near god-like figure. We iterated on it in the podcast, but we want to make sure to emphasize that we're not stating that teachers aren't important, or that they don't deserve more respect - however, we need to draw a distinctive line somewhere.

Throughout the discussion, Michael and I routinely bring up critical pedagogy as described by Paulo Freire in Pedagogy of the OppressedIn this (admittedly tough) read, Freire describes how the relationships between teacher and student are flawed in traditional society. Coining the "banking model" - Freire states that students are seen as vaults ready to be filled with knowledge, rather than human beings with an array of experiences and knowledge already. This notion reinforces the issue with the "savior complex" - by teachers emphasizing their role as heroes, they may undervalue the students who should be at the center of the classroom.

We also referenced What Teachers Make by Taylor Mali many times.

S2: E8: Rebuilding Mathematics Education w/ Sunil Singh

Sunil Singh was a high school math and physics teacher for 19 years. Before he quit teaching in the classroom in 2013, he had taught everything from basic math for junior students to IB math for honors-level students. He has worked in a socioeconomically challenging environment of an inner-city school in Toronto and at the prestigious International School of Lausanne in Switzerland. His vast experience teaching math in every setting imaginable has helped him become a leader in creative math education in North America. Since 2005, he has given over 50 workshops on kindergarten to grade 12 mathematics at various locations—math conferences, faculties of education, and even the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. In addition to having been a regular contributor to the New York Times “Numberplay” section, Singh works full time as a math consultant for Scolab, a digital math resource company in Montreal, Canada. As well, he travels all over North America as a speaker and promoting Family Math Nights in local communities. He is an integral component of the Global Math Project, and his ambassador designation is helping him communicate the beauty and happiness of mathematics throughout the world. He is the author of Pi of Life: The Hidden Happiness of Mathematics, and his next book, Math Recess, a co-writing endeavor with kindred math spirit, Chris Brownell, will be out in Spring 2019.

This podcast is roughly divided into two parts - the first on current issues in mathematics, the second on what change looks like and its implementation.

Sunil and I spoke about a lot that personally resonated with me. One factor I wasn't expecting were Sunil's opinions on a shift to personal finance from Algebra I and other similar shifts in "relevant math." To me, this was a no-brainer - utilize applied math skills instead of our traditional building blocks. However, Sunil noted that not only are these concepts simple - they don't necessarily reform the issues we currently have. His analogy: instead of rearranging the room of a house, implode it. This shifted my thinking on this concept. Math is much more than I give it credit for - and a math curriculum housed (partly) around justice, love, and happiness seems otherworldly. It's hard to comprehend in a culture that's so logistically focused on math - especially in the classroom. However, I believe Sunil's argument is well-stated.

Near the end of the talk, we highlighted one of the most important notions - can real change happen? How can we make a change now? We offered starting points: "find your tribe" on social media or in your building, try new things and be open to innovation, and fight. If you know what's best practice - you know the culture of your school - and you fight for change, but nothing is done even after organizing and preaching best practice? Then perhaps you're at the wrong place. Seek out a school that embraces what's best for children - a place where your voice is heard. They're out there in increasing numbers. Change in education is more than complaining, it's about taking action.

Sunil advised that all math teachers (or educators in general) watch Dan Finkle's "Five Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching."