85: Combatting Adultism to Create a Flourishing Democracy w/ Dr. Tanu Biswas & Dr. John Wall

Chris McNutt
January 31, 2021
Aligning social justice work to childism in classrooms.

0:00:09.8 Chris McNutt: Hello and welcome to Episode 85 of our podcast at Human Restoration Project. My name is Chris McNutt and I'm a high school Digital Media Instructor from Ohio. Before we get started, I wanna let you know that this podcast is brought to you by our supporters, three of whom are Ray O'Brien, Jenny Lucas, and Garreth Heidt. Thank you for your ongoing support. You can learn more about Human Restoration Project on our website,, or find us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.


0:00:52.9 CM: Today, we're joined by Dr. Tanu Biswas and Dr. John Wall. Dr. Biswas is a Doctorate of Pedagogy, who focuses her research on children's civil disobedience for climate justice and showcasing the richness that children and childhood have to offer adults. Dr. Wall is a Theoretical Ethicist who focuses on the idea of a moral life centered on language, power, culture, and childhood. His upcoming book, Give Children the Vote: How to Democratize Democracy, are used for the voting rights regardless of age. Our conversation centers on combatting adultism or the power adults have over children and the discrimination of young people, which is more than present in society, but in my opinion, amplified in the classroom. We talk about what adultism and childism mean, and how to promote democracy, and the importance of civil disobedience. First off, to be honest, the concepts of childism and adultism, I've seen these things referenced, I understand some of the theory, but they're relatively new. I'm kind of familiar with critical pedagogy, the importance of student voice, but truly, I am here to learn from you. So with that being said, I think it'd be important to start the conversation by defining the terms that we're talking about today, namely childism and adultism. So whoever wants to start us off, do you wanna inform us on what those words mean?

0:02:07.1 Dr. John Wall: Well, I could start off and then Tanu can... I'm sure, has to add a lot to this as well. For me, childism is all about empowering children by critiquing social norms. So it's like third-wave of feminism for me. It means questioning the assumptions that put children in a marginalized position in the societies and in schools and in academia, in lots of different places, and trying to come up with ways to imagine more child-inclusive communities and societies where childrens own particular lived experiences as children are equally valued to those of adults, which they never really have been over history.

0:02:52.0 Dr. Tanu Biswas: Yeah. I can add a bit to that, because the term childism itself, it's been used in both senses to mean adultism. And what John just explained, that's the sense many childhood study scholars or scholars who relate to childhood studies, that's the way they've been using this term, including myself. But it's been used also to mean adultism, and that's where it gets a bit confusing because... So adultism, which is comparable to, let's say sexism or patriarchy as those are for feminism, adultism is for childism. And the word childism serves the way it's used in Childhood Studies, this starts towards the end of the 90s or rather start 90s and start in 2000s, so pretty much early 21st century. Although, I would also think that the way of thinking, or the way of childish thinking, has been present. And I think especially in, for example, phenomenological traditions with the works of Merleau-Ponty. He wrote in Child Psychology as well, and was kind of more... He was a contemporary of Piaget, who has contributed to education science and also his development model, but that development model actually sort of worked almost against seeing children as equal humans or equal becomings in that sense. So yeah, the way we're using it is in a more transformative sense of the term.

0:04:58.7 DW: And to me, the problem with the negative use of the term is that it's deficit-oriented and it's also really about adults and not about children. So if you use childism to mean something like sexism, then you're really talking about... You're only including the ways in which children are oppressed and dominated and have prejudices against them, and you're not imagining them like in childhood studies, as agents who can participate with their own voices, and who have distinct and diverse life experiences as well. There was actually another use of the word childism in the 90s in literary theory, which kind of died out, but there they used it to mean reading as children. And that's a little bit closer I think to what we are using the term to mean, but the problem with that, and the reason it died out, is it kind of essentializes children. It says adult is... Again, it's about adults so that's different. And it's about how adults can read like a child reads, but of course, then you have to have an image of how a child reads and so the difference for us would be no. We're trying to look at how the ways in which children themselves experience the world and how that would change, so how the actual experiences have been put aside and forgotten about or seen as less important and trying to have those be important and be of equal value to the way adults experience [0:06:35.9] ____.

0:06:36.4 CM: All right, it's very interesting to hear that because when I was getting my education degree it was still presented to be the opposite way, so it's fascinating to hear how the word has become morphed depending on the field, but also how that can inform the way that we speak about it, seeking to empower by use of the term as a positive as opposed to a negative, I think that resonates and makes a lot of sense. And how this manifests itself and how we understand the concepts of childism and adultism in schools, Tanu, I wanted to reference your... What you call adultist template responses. There's a list of them. I'll read a couple of them here, 'cause it was in regards to young people in activism. "In permanent emotionality, she has emotionally charged and therefore reacts now, but it will pass when objective reason comes forth, or depoliticized pedagogical defense. Children should stay in school and leave politics to adults. Adults are more experienced, they have more knowledge, therefore they are entitled to teach children."

0:07:35.1 CM: And I read through this whole list that basically dismisses children as not being able to understand things and they're gonna understand things later, they're gonna "grow up," these different things, and I think about school. This is a typical teacher work room and or school board discussion, sadly, about how adults treat children and the adultist response, right? So could you talk a little about the relationship then between teachers, students, adultism and childism?

0:08:05.4 DB: Yes, sure. You're right, that one comes across these a lot in the school context, that that is the space, so to say, that children are trusted into and almost like removed from proactive processes of community formation. And the reasoning that they're not yet ready, they don't understand the emotions, they'll get it later. It's a classic infantilization process that is used in interest or used under the pretext of pedagogical relationships, or pedagogical responsibilities even. I think it's quite rampant in the school systems, and I kind of think this comes from the philosophy of pedagogy that underlies how we understand and practice education today, in different settings, 'cause you also hear these kind of templates a lot when the parents are talking about educating children. So its educators in the broadest sense, adult educators, but here's the thing, what is one status quo or a taken for granted assumption upon which I think the entire education system and teacher education as well rest is, that adults teach and children learn. And like your basic qualification to become a teacher is that you're above 18-years-old, that I think is very adultist. It's an adultist assumption, and it also really sort of hides and conceals the potential, what children contribute actually to the development and growth of adults as well. So it's not a one-way street.

0:10:03.4 DB: And you also hear many teachers who would talk about why their profession is so satisfying, for example, like why they like being teachers, a big part of it is also what they receive from their students. Or you hear teachers talking about how they've learned and grown as a result of their teaching practice, but somehow this aspect is never highlighted. It's also not talked about so much, it's usually about what you delivered and what you've taught. So what I've been trying to show, and especially with the example of the child activism right now with Fridays For Future school strikes, these are... It's incredible how inspiring from a socio-political point of view what young activists are doing is and how adults can learn from them, because obviously there's a very passive engagement on part of adults, which is why it's come to this point. Now, it's like when you have discussions in also political education where you'd say, "Yeah, how can we train children to be better citizens and so on and so forth?" But the question has to be, what can we learn from children? This question has to also become central to educational theory and practice, and there's very little room for that right now.

0:11:34.9 CM: Yeah, I can't help but think, as you're talking about this, it's very similar to what Freire spoke about the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and disestablishing that narrative that the teacher teach and then the child learns and all of the assumptions that we make in school beyond just the transfer of learning, but also who owns authority and how discipline works, and who assigns a grade and the judgment ranking and filing that occurs in the school building, but I also don't want this entire conversation to be about the negative. I also think that there's a place here talking teachers about how we can change this and how we can make things better and how we can make that happen, and I'm curious if either of you have thoughts about ways that we can combat adultism in schools beyond just like we need to think more about their perspective. Is there a way that we can bring in a specific thing, like a specific system, or idea into schools that would help us disestablish this narrative of adultism?

0:12:36.2 DW: Well, there have been some interesting studies done in schools, for example, with pre-schoolers, where if you go into the classroom and look at using a childish lens, what is going on in the classroom, you actually find... This is not as specific as you want, but I think, but you do find even very young children actively bringing themselves into the classroom. And it may or may not be recognized by the teacher or by the school as important, but in fact the solution is already there in a certain sense that just like adults, children are extremely diverse people who have a lot of different experiences and ideas and thinking to bring in, to bring to whatever situation they're in. And so a lot of it is seeing what's already there and responding to that. But that's just again, rather general, we're looking at it again.

0:13:32.7 DB: Yeah. I've been thinking of how... It's not just about seeing things from children's point of view, that's a very important step. And another important step is also, of course, to become aware of in what ways are we adultist and not in like you don't like beat your self over it, it's just to become aware of what is adultist about my teaching practice, my relationship with children, the childish lens or also childish attitude would be the transformative step. Which would be basically... I mean, a simple practice, for example at the end of the day just write down three things that you learned from your students. Also teach everyday actively thinking of how is your life transformed as a result of that relationship with that person. What are they contributing? So it could be simple practices like discussion circles like amongst let's say teachers and the school management, parents. Just to get together and talk about how are our children and students, like how they enriching learning processes? How are we as adults also learning some things.

0:14:53.6 DB: It's like once the more and more you become aware of that, the school systems will transform but until unless that acknowledgement is not happening at a very active level. It's not sufficient to simply see things from their perspective or recognize adultism but actively say, "Okay I wanna make my learning an active part of my teaching practice." So there's a kind of humility as well that is required to lecture and take the lead as well.

0:15:32.5 DW: I would add also that in a more structural sense across, for example a school, you could look at who is running the school or on what basis are they running the school? And of course a lot of schools have student councils and things like that. Students can go to the board meetings or what have you, but they tend to be rather tokenistic and they don't tend to have to do with actually changing anything that happens in the school. They tend to be around school dances and things like that which is wonderful, but are the young people being educated involved at all in the ways in which their education is organized? And there could be many different ways that that could be much more meaningfully done. I think, where I am in the United States, people tend to assume that children are not really capable of doing much of that kind of stuff. But you look at children around the world, they're running children's Parliaments from the age of five, they're working jobs and supporting families at very early ages.

0:16:32.8 DW: They're engaged in the public culture and community, starting from birth and so we tend to have privatized children which is part of this infantilization of them and sort of them as not having any real public roles, and I think that translates into schools, into this idea that the children don't know what is needed to get a good education. But actually if you are able to have a dialogue amongst children and involve them in a real way and give them real power and real say over what happens, I don't think schools or teachers have to be defensive about that and think that their rights are gonna be taken away, I think on the contrary, it would provide a much richer discussion about what's really working, what's not working, what could we do differently, how can we think creatively so that the actual people who are supposed to be educating actually tell us what's going on.

0:17:31.9 CM: Yeah. And as we change those systems, I'm curious about your thoughts on this. Do you think that there's in a place to connect civil disobedience with what's going on in the classroom and how essentially the power dynamic between teacher and student rest in order to teach how to be disobedient, we have to have systems in school where students are allowed to be disobedient? As in so many teaching environments are hyper-controlled and if you disobey, you are automatically disciplined and usually taken out of the environment altogether. And in my opinion that's raising a generation of people who basically learn from a very young age respect authority. Which has some benefits for sure. But overall, that also leads to, in my opinion, a less democratic society. One that is less willing to stand up for themselves and question what it is that's going on. Do you have any ideas on how that would look? Like what would it look like to have a classroom where students are free to express their view points and disagree or be disobedient at least in traditional school classrooms?

0:18:43.0 DB: I wonder why it has to be seen... I mean of course within the framework you describe. If it is this very disciplinarian model of course that's seen as disobedience but if you have a different opinion, making room for discussion, I think that would be a really philosophically rich space because what you learn is based that there would be more room for negotiation. It would require more time, of course, one of the reasons why there's so much control is also because you know certain syllabus has to finish within a certain period of time, you have to write exams, we need to move forward with a curriculum which the ones who are practising the curricular actually have nothing to do with. Yes it's thing like this, but it's giving more room to negotiate, so if it's seen from this point of view, this is not about disciplining, but rather, let's say, allowing of critical thinking and critical ways of being to flourish, and that includes disagreement and engaging with disagreement, and in the model you describe, which is actually the prevalent one. It's the teachers who are unable to cope with the disagreement, especially when it comes from the younger side.

0:20:10.0 DB: So one has to be... You would have to be comfortable with being challenged, for example, so that would be work on part of the adults. But I do not see that as going in a direction of what one would say is like disobedience or also people have described this as anarchist situations which is, on the contrary, it's kind of like a community formation, which allows diversity to opinions and ways of engaging and knowing to flourish. So, a huge aspect there would be the time that it's a system that allows people to engage at half time, to engage in those ways which currently are missing.

0:21:02.1 DW: Well, I think the language of civil disobedience is interesting, and I do think it has his important because we're talking about power structures. And so I think civil disobedience is usually about when one group is systematically disempowered. They are in a certain sense, the only option you have there is to try and deconstruct the power structures that are oppressing you. But I very much grew a ton is that, to me that would be only a part of the situation or only a first step because you... What civil disobedience, generally speaking, is working towards, is a more inclusive society where power is shared. So I think you would also have to do the kind of things that civil disobedience groups have always done, which is generate positive alternatives and be the change you want to see, you know, that sort of thing. And part of the problem, I think, is that adults need to change as well. So it's not just a matter of children getting what they want, it's a matter of changing the whole dynamic, and I think what childism suggests is that adults need to be more in touch with their childish side.

0:22:18.9 DW: Just like feminism ask men to be more in touch with the feminine side of themselves, or women voting ask societies to be more in touch with the female side of the society. So the same thing would have to happen in schools where adults become learners as well, or become like children in different ways, and that should not be a bad thing, we tend to use the word childish in a bad sense, just like some decades ago, people used womanish in a bad sense, but actually... And so it's not bad at all, it makes you more roundly human.

0:22:58.5 CM: I think too, that there's a place for teachers to use their relative privilege as an adult to basically combat against these structures and fight and demand better for students. Speaking of time, I've always been shocked by how much time we spend covering every single topic, not actually leading to doing any better or worse on standardized assessment, which is the reason why people feel so pressured to get through those units. Because at the end of the day, covering those topics and ensuring that you hit those check-marks is not going to ensure that students are interested or care about or engage in the topics because you're not listening to them if you're going very quickly. And I think there's a place there for community norms too, establishing these ideas with students upfront and having them engage and build those norms with you, so that they feel like you are thinking about these things.

0:23:52.5 CM: It's one thing for me to approach this with a childish perspective, recognize that students need to share things with me, but I also need to be very open with them about what it is that I'm doing, because I found that a lot of students, even though you might feel this way, still don't feel inclined to speak up because they're in that system, and they still think that, "Well, you know for the last seven years, the last eight years is how it's been, so you might be saying that, but I don't necessarily believe you." Establishing those norms upfront of like, this is what we're doing, this is how we're gonna get there, this is how I value you and this is what you're contributing for me. I think has a lot of power in that dynamic.

0:24:28.2 DW: I think standardized testing is the sort of ultimate power in position from adults, is coming from very top-down perspective. Here's what you have to learn, and we're gonna demand that you do it on a highly regular basis, and it doesn't leave a lot of room for input from even teachers, they'll get much input into that and let alone the students being taught. And I know that I grew up in England where there wasn't so much of that, and it was quite surprising coming here or just how regimented that whole system is, and I do think it tends to force children to the situation where that they learn that learning is about meeting adult goals, and they also learn, as you were suggesting earlier, that democracy is about doing what you're told and then replicating as an adult what you've been told democracy is. And I think it tends to generate a passive group of people who don't participate in democracy very much, and we have very low participation rates in this country. And I do think part of that is, we're taught... It's true everywhere, but especially here, we're taught, you don't know anything about this, you're gonna jump through these hoops and only then will you have any idea of what's going on. [chuckle] This is highly counterproductive in my view.

0:25:50.2 DB: I just wanna add that... The skills of testing have grown as well in the last 20-30 years, because it's become... You have the PISA test, for example, which is... It becomes an international competition between nations. And there are very clear economic goals behind that kind of a system of testing, 'cause you're essentially testing potential future human capital of every nation and then competing with different national students, setting them up against each other. So those skills have grown in the past years, and what is lost is basically the idea that education is essentially an intergenerational relationship. We can structure it differently, but as long as we stay close to this, that is... It's a relationship. And is that relationship, how democratic is your relationship? And both sides are co-educating almost. So if some kind of a co-generational dynamic develops, the quality of those, like an educational process, would be positively transforming, I think. And currently, I don't think education is, in the larger sense of the term, it's not understood as a relationship, but it's more functional, and because we have to meet certain ethics to solve... Either for development, economic growth, and so on and so forth. And one has to remember that it is economic growth which is feeding of the future generations resources. And we're raising children to be part of the system that's depleting itself.

0:27:50.7 DW: And I would just add that the other problem with this neo-liberal model of education is, it constructs adults as solely economic people, part of a broad system, and it also constructs adults as no longer learners. So they've reached a fixed plateau, and they're never going to get any better, whereas we adults know that you spend your whole life learning and changing, and you're not necessarily going to be in the same job for the rest of your life, and you're not gonna have the same interests for the rest of your life. So it is very constraining on adults, too, to be thought of as fixed beings for the rest of time.

0:28:31.4 CM: Yeah, there's a great irony in our obsession with standardization to basically make the best job seekers possible, when we realize that when we standardize models, we're taking away things like play-based learning, which actually helps students develop. It would make them more critical thinkers. They could understand even more through their schooling. And we're just basically taking away these different ideas that would help students develop even further despite what school might do to them, which feels bad as a teacher to say that, 'cause I recognize that I'm part of the system that's creating those models. But the same as I said earlier, I think that there are ways for teachers to come into this process and make that change; however small it might be, based on their ability, depending on their district. Before I go too far on that, I do wanna talk about, specifically John, your upcoming book, which I think that for many might be viewed with skepticism, depending on their background, which is, Give Children the Vote: How to Democratize Democracy, which basically suggests expanding the right to vote to children. Could you talk a little bit about that idea, and how you kinda came to that, and what that would mean for society?

0:29:40.3 DW: Absolutely, yes. Well, it always meets with skepticism, although I have to say I'm part of another group. A group that is called The Children's Voting Colloquium, and this is academics and activists around the world, including children and youth themselves, who discovered each other working on this issue. I've been writing about this for about a decade now. My essential argument is that excluding children from the vote is actually... Well, the problem with children and voting is not with children but with democracy. So democracy is meant to be a system in which all the people's experience holds power, or where the people rule, rule by the people. So, just as in... Over time, democracies have actually changed quite radically. When the US was founded, it was only about 6% of the population who had the vote, and this was wealthy, land-owning white men. And as other groups, like poor men, got the vote, it changed what voting was and how democracy was thought about. And as women got the vote, it changed it again.

0:30:51.5 DW: Well, now, for about 100 years, the idea has been only adults can vote, and that's because, supposedly, only adults have the competence to do so. So I made, basically, two arguments. One is that the competence to vote is actually not the same as the competence to do things like marry or drive a car, or things of that nature; it's much more like the competence to have freedom of speech, at which children have in general. You have to be able to understand your own experiences as a political being, and children are political beings, that they are impacted by decisions in politics as much, if not more than adults. And then you have to be able to apply that to your concrete political choices that you're presented with. Should you vote for Trump or Biden? Choices like that. And also on the competency side, children have proven themselves competent in many different ways, not just Fridays For Future, but as I mentioned before, around the world children run children's parliaments, they work, they're actively engaged in politics, they always have been actively engaged in politics. They were involved in the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Voting Rights Movement. So there's no age at which you could say suddenly you become competent. And if you exclude people from voting because of their supposed lack of competence, then that's discrimination. It's a double standard.

0:32:13.7 DW: And then, of course, you can start to... If you were to apply that standards consistently, that you might find a lot of adults were not competent to vote, and so it will be better for democracy. But the other side of the argument is that everybody would be better off if children could vote. So children themselves... This may be a little more obvious, they could have their interests actually represented in government, that they would actually have some power to... What governments would actually feel they had pressure to respond to children's concerns. For example, when they're developing standardized testing procedures, people in power might have to think twice about just simply imposing them regardless of what anybody really thinks is gonna be affected by them. And then also adults would gain, because, for example, teachers would have a much better sense of what children wanted in schools. The policy is directing the way they do their jobs, again, like testing or funding, for example, for schools would be much more child-centered.

0:33:25.0 DW: So again, as with every other group that's come in to a democracy, there's always been this argument, no, it's gonna dilute democracy and make it worse, but always it's made it better. When women got the vote, that was better for men as well as for women, and the reason is that democracy actually works. It actually is a system that by collecting... The more diverse voices you collect in making political decisions, the better the decisions on the whole are going to be. So that's my argument. Of course, I run into all kinds of objections. I've written a lot about it, I've engaged in a lot of conversations about it, and I honestly just have never found an objection that actually stands up. It's always comes down for me to kind of the same kind of prejudices that men had about women, and rich men had about poor men, and aristocrats had about non-aristocrats.

0:34:21.8 CM: Speaking as someone who formally was a civics teacher, the implications of being able to actually have students in the classroom go out and vote after taking your class, or during your class, alone, to me, makes it worth it. I think that there's an easy argument to be made that because of the way we teach civics in school, by the time someone's 20-years-old, they might not really understand the process anymore, [chuckle] or they might not go out and vote. I think in 2020, I think it was like 55% of young people, 18-24 voted, which is insane. That's such a low number.

0:34:57.3 DW: The young people are taught right away that their voice doesn't count. They can have a civics class in which they learn about what adults do and what they will themselves do when they're adults, but the clear implication is you yourself don't have any... We don't trust you to be involved in this process, and that's I think why we have such low... In most societies, the young adults have lower rates of voting than older adults. You have to get used to the idea that, oh, I actually do count around here. But I think you would have a stronger democracy if people actually grew up thinking they were part of it and deserved to be heard. I also made the argument in my book that the ways in most democracies are currently sliding into autocratic and authoritarian types of regimes, and this is a worldwide phenomenon. Most of the largest democracies in the world are actually run by fairly authoritarian leaders, and we still have Trump here, so we still have that even in our own country. It is because people have been taught from a young age that what is democracy? Well, it's what people more powerful than you do, and we need to trust our betterers to lead us because we don't actually know anything about it, and learning that in your formative years is probably the worst thing that could happen for a democracy.

0:36:23.5 DB: And it's like we're discussing this at a moment where those children who don't have voting rights, they are taking up civil disobedience to make their point and be heard. I mean, the world has never seen a generation that went into sort of civil disobedience before they started voting, but they're finding their ways around it to be heard, and also in very powerful ways, and they're making very grounded arguments. It's great to see that, and they're impacting the political priorities in very effective ways. So they could be voting, okay, you know. [chuckle]

0:37:12.1 DW: Well, the climate crisis is a really good example of how having childrens voices actually improves the conversation, because until Greta Thunberg and the Fridays For Future movement came along, most adults didn't really think about the fact that young people are gonna face these consequences of climate change much more dramatically in a very much, very real way, whereas someone who's in their 60s is probably not gonna really be that affected by it, so they're not going to be that involved. But I actually have a... I also, in my book, have a more concrete proposal, which I call proxy-claim voting. So I use this childish idea to say that extending the vote to children, again, just like historically doesn't just mean giving children the same vote that adults now have, it actually means reconceptualizing democracy and practicing it in a different way, and that's always happened. Every time someone else got a vote, things changed ideally, and in reality, what people did to vote.

0:38:15.5 DW: And so the proxy-claim vote is an attempt to think about democracy in an interdependent rather than independent way. So it's not just individuals saying what they think, it's acting interdependently in relation to each other, and my argument is that every human should have a proxy vote from birth to death that's exercised by their closest guardian or what have you, and this could be a newborn child, it could be a young child, it could be an adult who has dementia, it could... 10% of adults have severe cognitive disabilities. In fact, adults in the US with dementia do have this already, because an adult caretaker can fill in their ballot for them. Adults with severe mental illness, someone who's just in hospital for a while, or overseas deployed can have a proxy vote. The claim side is, at any point in your life, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, race, or anything, you can claim your own vote to exercise on your own behalf, and so it would be ageless voting. That would be eliminating that final barrier of age. So if you want to vote when you're nine and you're really passionate about gun control or something, then that itself proves that you're ready to vote.

0:39:34.1 CM: Yeah. I mean, I think it's a fantastic proposal. I really like the idea, especially since at least in my experience, young people, because they haven't experienced neo-liberal society for as long, tend to be less cynical. And we see a lot of powerful movements and really the change that we wanna see in the world come from people that are adolescents, or children, or young adults, as opposed to people that are teacher ages. We might help them along the way, but honestly, that changes typically, where the social changes [0:40:05.4] ____ our youth.

0:40:07.4 DW: Yeah, absolutely, and they have lots of experiences that adults need to hear about and learn about, and perspectives, and of course, children are diverse, so there's many different ones, but yes, it would greatly enrich the conversation in a democracy.


0:40:25.6 CM: Thank you again for listening to Human Restoration Project's podcast. I hope this conversation leaves you inspired and ready to push the progressive envelope of education. You can learn more about progressive education, support our cause, and stay tuned to this podcast and other updates on our website at

Chris McNutt
Chris McNutt is the co-founder and executive director of Human Restoration Project, a nonprofit organization focused on student engagement, well-being, and motivation. His work centers on realizing systems-based change, examining how progressive pedagogical shifts (e.g. PBL, ungrading) reimagine school to best suit the needs of students and teachers alike. He was a public high school digital media & design educator who focused on experiential learning, portfolio-driven assessment, and community involvement.
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