Human Restoration Project


128: Love, Joy, & Learning w/ Miss Elmi

Ep. 128
It only takes a few seconds on Hanaa Elmi’s Twitter timeline for even the most oblivious observer like myself to know that what she is doing is magical. One post from February details several images of student contributions from reflections on Stone Soup and other related readings - child’s handwriting draws your eye to the center of each poster - We take care of each other by…We take care of water by…We take care of the Earth by… - student drawings and reflections surrounding those prompts create the shared understanding - Hanaa also captures “Our Ideas” in the margins - have a spirit of ubuntu (I am because we are), she writes, Be like the Water Walkers, Love water!Another series of images shows her young students exploring questions like “What’s the heart of the story? What do you think the author wants us to know in our minds & hearts as a reader?”, one student reply reads “Ms. I think the heart of the story is that anger is okay and normal. We just have to breathe.” Hanaa prompts students to explore the differences & similarities between justice & charity. She quotes from one of the dozens of books her students use, “What are words really? Are they just random letters arranged in different ways? Or do they have magical powers that can inspire and amaze?” A student uses a number string to double 40. Students with clipboards find and sort animals on a number line by their height. They write, draw, & reflect in dream journals. I could go on and on and on… In every post, it’s so obvious that students are deeply engaged & invested in the world & with each other. Community, love, joy, and learning are self-evident in the work she does with kids.GuestsHanaa Elmi is an elementary teacher in Windsor-Essex County. She is a graduate of the University of Windsor who roots her work in community: creating thriving spaces that humanize students. She is passionate about creating spaces where students deeply connect with the world around them in just, restorative, and conscientious ways.ResourcesMiss Elmi's Twitter

127: The Segrenomics of American Education w/ Dr. Noliwe Rooks

Ep. 127
Because it is so well researched and presented, Cutting School: The Segrenomics of American Education, is a frustrating read. To tell the story of privatization, segregation, & the end of public education requires a massive cast. In her book Dr. Noliwe Rooks, my guest today, runs a precise thread from Reconstruction, Nelson Rockefeller, & Brown v Board through to Milton Friedman, every president in my lifetime, Teach for America, KIPP charter schools, Mark Zuckerberg, & more. Segrenomics has the kind of power that will be viewed with suspicion in states most impacted by it which are cracking down on theoretical frameworks that attempt to provide structural, systemic explanations. An interdisciplinary scholar, Noliwe Rooks’ is the chair of and a professor in Africana Studies at Brown University and the founding director of the Segrenomics Lab at the school. Her work explores how race and gender both impact and are impacted by popular culture, social history and political life in the United States. She works on the cultural and racial implications of beauty, fashion and adornment; race, capitalism and education, and the urban politics of food and cannabis production.GuestsDr. Noliwe Rooks is a professor and chair of Africana Studies at Brown University and the founding director of the Segrenomics Lab. Her research focuses on the interplay between race, gender, popular culture, social history and political life in the US. She is the author of four books and numerous articles, essays and op-eds. Her most recent book is Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education.ResourcesCutting School: The Segrenomics of American Education by Dr. Noliwe RooksDr. Noliwe Rooks @ Brown UniversityDr. Noliwe Rooks' website

126: Neuroinclusive Learning & the Brain w/ Michael Weingarth

Ep. 126
The thing I appreciate most about Michael Weingarth, and that will become clear as you listen to this episode, is his passionate intensity. He comes off like a man who has received wisdom, like a divine revelation. Yet bolstering that intensity and passion is the deep understanding of a body of literature from subfields of neuroscience calling into question what the current popular model of “raw cognition” - represented by #cogsci, ResearchEd, and elsewhere in professional development - leaves out. As well as how its premature generalization into school settings - often wrapped up in language of “evidence-based” or “research-based” practice - is derived from evidence & research that excludes disability & neurodivergence. The consequence is a school setting whose values & measures, pacing guides, practices & interventions center the mythical “normal”.In this conversation we talk about the genesis of and the concepts surrounding Michael’s work as the Founder of Penelope Education, which educates teachers on why and how error patterns manifest across subject areas and grade levels- and more importantly, shows teachers how to pinpoint possible root causes and how to collaborate with students to build workarounds. Using neuroinclusive frameworks to create an anti-racist, feminist, anti-ableist education. As a side note, Michael recorded an addendum to his thoughts about cognitive compensation that I’ve added to the end of the episode. I hope you find this conversation as energizing as I did.GuestsMichael Weingarth is the founder of Pillars of Learning and Penelope Education as an expert on brain science. His framework to examine compensatory patterns of cognition helps students achieve academically.ResourcesPenelope EducationThreat probability in mice calculated in the brain stem - Twitter threadAnnie Murphy Paul - The Extended MindMary Helen Immordino-YangThe Prefrontal Vortex on Discord

125: The Transformative Power of Play w/ The Center for Playful Inquiry

Ep. 125
Today we’re joined by Susan Harris MacKay and Matt Karlson, the people behind the Center for Playful Inquiry. Susan is a former teacher and pedagogical director at Opal School and Portland Children’s Museum. Her recent book, Story Workshop: New Possibilities for Young Writers showcases the relationship between play, art, and writing. Matt is a former teacher, professional development facilitator, and Director of Opal School’s Center for Learning.Together they formed the Center for Playful Inquiry, which prioritizes play, the arts, and meaning-making to inspire justice, democracy, and beauty. They work with schools, educators, and community members to build these systems. In this podcast, we discuss why imaginative play is deeply connected to learning, and why we must be skeptical of educational products & strategies aimed at controlling the narrative of learning.GuestsSusan Harris MacKay is a former teacher and pedagogical director at Opal School and Portland Children's Museum. She is the author of Story Workshop: New Possibilities for Young WritersMatt Karlson is a former teacher, professional development facilitator, and Director of Opal School's Center for Learning.ResourcesCenter for Playful Inquiry's WebsiteStory Workshop StudioStory Workshop: New Possibilities for Young Writers by Susan Harris MacKaySchool is for learning to live, not just for learning | Susan Harris MacKay | TEDxWestVancouverED

124: The City That Kicked Cops Out of Schools and Tried Restorative Practices Instead w/ Andy Kopsa

Ep. 124
I’m speaking today with freelance journalist Andy Kopsa whose work has appeared seemingly everywhere: The New York Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, Cosmo, and her most recent piece from the December issue of In These Times that we’ll be discussing today - and that you heard an excerpt of in the introduction - is about her investigation of Des Moines Public Schools’ 2021 shift away from the School Resource Officer, or SRO, program and toward investing in restorative justice, it has the incredible title, The City That Kicked Cops Out of Schools and Tried Restorative Practices InsteadAndy had mentioned in a tweet before our recording that “Iowa is the canary in the coal mine when it comes to public education.” That’s to say, so much of what Andy reported in her piece is directly tied to the particular political context of Iowa in the 21st century - as we get into in the episode - failing to address deep dem ographic divisions & whose embrace of endless cynical, dead-end, culture wars has only deepened divisions. Only ⅓ of predominantly older white Iowans live in rural areas, half of the Black population is concentrated in just 4 cities, of which Des Moines is the largest, and nearly 60% of Iowa farmland owners don’t farm. So while Iowa is an increasingly non-white, urban population, our political & cultural identity is wrapped up in the nostalgia of the white rural family farm, a factor which explains the radicalization & consolidation of political power in the Iowa GOP, who hold a majority everywhere Iowans are represented. A headline from the November elections read, “Iowa's GOP clout in Legislature, Congress most since 1950s”, and you better believe they are governing as such. While national headlines often focus on larger states like Texas & Florida, the education culture war really started here. Iowa is the canary in the coal mine. That’s an appropriate lens we should bring to the conversation at the intersection of racialized policing & punishment & the role it plays in our schools, particularly when communities of Color decide to go another way & invest in restorative practices.GuestAndy Kopsa is an investigative journalist whose work has appeared in NYTimes, FP, Atlantic, Cosmo, Al Jazeera, Guardian, Playboy, and more.ResourcesIn These Times: The City That Kicked Cops Out of Schools and Tried Restorative Practices Instead ACLU of Iowa: Advocating for Police-Free Schools Toolkit

123: Humanizing Professional Development w/ Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond

Ep. 123
Today we are joined by Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond. Joining us on election day, there’s frankly a lot of anxiety around the current state of our world…not just who will win the election but if those results will be accepted, a general cynicism about our future, and especially in the classroom, teachers are reporting extraordinary rates of burnout and nihilism.Dr. Darling-Hammond has done a ton of work to improve educational policy: both by supporting teachers and by changing systems in schools to support learners, she's advocated for higher standards of the profession and fighting back against authoritarian, behaviorist methods. Yet, given the state of the world today and all the things going on, how do we inspire hope and restore that humanity to professional development?In this podcast, we discuss:Where should we go next? We know that many schools are shifting to more rote practices. This was already happening through various “back to basics” movements, and is reemerging in force in the “learning loss” debate. This is further complicated by the politicization of teaching to new levels, between outcries about CRT, LGBTQIA+ rights, antiracism, etc. - even just using the term “progressive education” at all.How do we navigate those waters? What do we build professional development that address this in 2022? How can teachers and administrators build these practices?How can professional development be used to combat those who wish to discredit educator expertise and shift to hiring unlicensed teachers and/or gig-based workers? How can we ensure that we maintain a high standard for the profession?At a systemic level…what does this look like for school administrators? Attempts to do school reform at a national level seems to have always centered on national testing and teacher evaluations, and it’s been a “back to basics” way of looking at education that goes to those non-supported-by-research practices.GuestDr. Linda Darling-Hammond, the Charles E. Docummun Professor of Education Emeritus at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. She founded the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and served as the faculty sponsor of the Stanford Teacher Education Program, which she helped to redesign. She is the President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute. Also, she’s the former President of the American Educational Research Association. She’s written over 25 books and 500 articles including The Right to Learn, Preparing Teachers for Deeper Learning, and The Flat World and Education. She was the leader of the education transition team for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and Joe Biden's 2020 presidential campaign. And, she began her career as a public school teacher and co-founded a preschool and public high school.*In the recording, it was incorrectly mentioned that Dr. Darling-Hammond is the former president of LPI, she is the current president. She led both Barack Obama's and Joe Biden's US Dept of Education transition teams.ResourcesDr. Linda Darling-Hammond at StanfordLearning Policy InstitutePreparing Teachers for Deeper Learning by Linda Darling-Hammond et. al.The Civil Rights Road to Deeper Learning by Kia Darling-Hammond & Linda Darling-Hammond