S3: E3: Building a Global Equitable Community feat. Ara Aman, Tania Mansfield, Lisa Liss, Colleen Mascenik, and Evin Schwartz

We speak with someone exposed to progressive education throughout the world, a human-centered school in Vietnam, an elementary school teacher reaching out, and two tech-experts leading the way in global communications.

One of the fundamental shifts of the information age is being able to connect globally with barely any limitations. I'm still shocked that I can connect to a classroom in Vietnam - see and speak with the person - and it's almost like I'm there. And that's a semi-normal thing to do.

And I often think about: what does that mean for education? Not only from a communicative standpoint in perspective-building, but specifically progressive education. I know starting off: adopting critical pedagogy in the classroom, giving students projects that weren't necessarily completely aligned with standards, letting students choose what to do each day - those were radical concepts to me that I took away...at least mostly...from books. I was incredibly hesitant to really go "full on" with any of my ideas...until I started engaging online. It turns out, I wasn't crazy - there are plenty of other people tackling and contemplating these ideas on social media and elsewhere.

Our pockets of progressive education - of people who care and reflect on education and the humanity of each person in their classroom - are no longer isolated. And now we can hear stories, see people affected - really it brings to light the necessity of progressive practice. Now that we can see this - visualize it - be supported by it - we have a backing to buckle down and keep at it. We can unite together and see drastic change...and those sails are already in motion. Organically, there is a rallied movement of people taking on what were once insane ideas at most traditional public schools. Everyday I'm so happy to read a Teachers Going Gradeless blog, people tweeting - even debating publicly - the goals of an often-too teacher-centric classroom, or discovering whole new pockets of progressive ed. - like Belouga's social justice centered global education initiative, who I'll be talking to this episode.

The point is - it's a lot more common than I ever thought - and assumedly it's more common than most who attempt it believe. We can do this together - just listen to the voices of this episode and tell me if progressive education isn't here to change the world. And now that we're starting to spread progressive ed. further - we need to make sure it's for the whole world - not just a select few.


Ara Aman, a sophomore at Bennington College in Vermont, a progressive higher education experience. Ara grew up in progressive environments in India and the United Kingdom.

Tania Mansfield, the PYP (International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme) Coordinator at Ho Chi Minh City International School in Vietnam, which is piloting a self-directed education program.

Lisa Liss & her elementary students, located in Sacramento, California, organizing around an experiential project, the aptly named Bandage Project, which seeks to build tolerance and understanding of the Holocaust.

Colleen Mascenik, founder of BreakawayLearning.org, a non-profit organization which connects students and educators with individuals around the world, teaching anything from life under the Taliban to piano instruction.

Evin Schwartz, founder of Belouga, an online platform aimed at connecting classrooms across the world, centered on social impact campaigns.



S3: E2: It All Orbits Purpose feat. Kendall Cotton Bronk, John Cagle, Skylar Primm, and Elizabeth Martin

Frankly, I’m astonished by how little school systems spend on covering purpose in students’ lives. Where do they see themselves in 10, 20 years? We leave them to the “next step” (either lost and apathetic or in incredible amounts of debt) to figure it out for themselves. How do we go about creating a purposeful society? Is it possible for a teacher to actually make a change? And, in addition, what about our sense as educators in the classroom? What about our purpose?


Dr. Kendall Cotton Bronk, head of the Adolescent Morality Lab at Claremont Graduate School, Dr. Cotton Bronk is one of the founding/leading researchers surrounding youth purpose-finding.

Dr. John Cagle, a 27-year public education educator who currently serves as Assistant Principal at Jefferson County High School in Tennessee. His dissertation focused on relationship building and academic success.

Skylar Primm, an educator at High Marq Environmental Charter School in Montello, Wisconsin*, a fascinating small public charter school centered on interdisciplinary experiential learning, with a focus on the environment.

*These were mentioned incorrectly during the podcast, sorry!

Elizabeth Martin, an English teacher who recently ventured to a county school after years spent at a large urban district. She has started to document this shift on Medium.



S3: E1: The Good Life feat. Steven Gumbay, REENVISIONED, The Future Project, Anne Connolly, Richard Loeper-Viti, & Gamal Sherif

In this podcast, we're talking about "the good life." What is it exactly that we want students to have in their future? Is it a great career, a content lifestyle, a family, solidarity, freedom, respect for one another, a mixture of all of the above? And if we can't agree on that question or at least have somewhat unified goals in getting there, how can education exist to serve that question? In addition, do teachers have and deserve "the good life"?

We've spoken to various educators from across the world, and I hope you enjoy listening to their amazing thoughts and ideas.

Guests, in order of appearance:

Steven Gumbay, who has taught for over 40 years, starting in Denver, CO, then transitioning to Taiwan, Zambia, Kenya, Hong Kong, Myanmar, and Ethiopia. Steven has served as a science department chair and as a consultant building secondary, primary, and preschool programs.

Dr. Erin Raab and Nicole Hensel of REENVISIONED and The Future Project. Erin holds a Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University, where her scholarship pertained to the question of how we can transform education systems to foster individual flourishing and thriving democracies. Nicole obtained a dual Masters in Public Policy and Education Leadership from Stanford University. You can find their work below. Currently, Erin also serves as the Vice President of Research and Evaluation and Nicole, the Deputy Vice President of Research and Evaluation, at The Future Project, a non-profit organization that aims to ensure all young people can build a life and world they love.

Richard Loeper-Viti, whose progressive practices have transformed his English international classroom. Starting in a top-ranked charter school in the United States, he ventured to Chengdu, China after his wife, a US Diplomat, received a new position.

Anne Connolly, a CERT inclusion specialist and special education primary instructor, who has taught for over 20 years. Anne currently uses her progressive practices in an elementary classroom in Ontario.

Gamal Sherif, who has taught over 20 years in middle and high school, served as a fellow for the US Department of Education, and is an ambassador for the UN Sustainable Goals Project. Gamal has a focus on sustainable teaching practices.


Further Listening

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Next time: purpose, passion, and developing the future w/ Dr. Kendall Cotton-Bronk, and many more!

S2: E29: Caring for All Learners w/ Chiayim Burney


Today we’re joined by Chiayim Burney, youth pastor for Rock City Church in Columbus, OH, and former 4th grade elementary educator. I (Chris) invited Chiayim to share his message which he originally broadcasted to our school. He has dedicated his life to ensuring all students are equally valued and that we don’t give up or label anyone before entering our classrooms.

In our conversation, Chiayim and I discuss:

  • How Chiayim became involved with this work.

  • How we should handle students who struggle at school?

  • What can we do to get involved with struggling students and their families, even when contact isn’t easy?

  • What focus can we take in our classrooms to ensure that all learners are successful?

S2: E28: Equitable Makerspace Pedagogy w/ Mark Barnett

Mark Barnett is the Makerspace Coordinator at the Harbour School in Hong Kong. Mark has focused his career on not only designing and managing makerspaces, but ensuring that all children have access to their opportunities. In his TEDx talk, you can listen in to his passionate plea for a Makerspace education - and how educators can shift their classrooms toward the future. Also, Mark is one of our latest contributors for the Human Restoration Project!

In our discussion, Mark and I (Chris) discuss various elements of Makerspace Pedagogy, including:

  • What is a Makerspace?

  • What defines the purpose of a Makerspace, and is it possible for less-funded schools to have one?

  • How can we utilize PBL and hands-on experiences to incorporate Makerspaces in our classrooms?

  • Where is the Makerspace movement going next, and how can we partner to ensure we’re staying connected?

Mark recommends checking out The Copenhagen Letter from The Copenhagen Project for essentially “words to live by” for the Makerspace movement.

S2: E27: Shifting from Industry to Well-Being w/ Dr. Susan Engel

We are joined by Dr. Susan Engel, professor of developmental psychology at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Dr. Engel has authored a variety of publications and books, including The End of the Rainbow: How Educating for Happiness (not money) Would Transform Our Schools and A School of Our Own: The Story of the First Student-Run High School and a New Vision for American Education, among many more - including her latest book, The Children You Teach: Using a Developmental Framework in the Classroom. Furthermore, Dr. Engel co-founded the Hayground School, a non-profit school focused on experiential learning and the teachings of John Dewey.

In our conversation, we talk about so many important topics:

  • Why is “next step” and industry-prep (e.g. “Preparing students for tomorrow’s industries.”) potentially a problem?

  • Why is well-being imperative to learning? How does this contradict those who focus so much on rigor?

  • How can we convince educators and administrators that progressive policies help students learn?

  • How can we enact this research without eliminating standardized testing?

  • How can testing (if shifted to other realms) actually help us in progressive education?

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


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:


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.


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


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:


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.