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.
GUESTS IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE
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.