New View EDU


Tyler Thigpen

Season 3, Ep. 23
Episode 23: Designing Schools for Self-Directed LearningWhat would school look like if we designed education based on the belief that every child is a genius who can change the world? What if we put learning into the hands of the student instead of the teacher? What if our instructional models included less “instruction” and more time guiding kids to finding their own answers and inspirations? These are just some of the starting points for today’s discussion, and for the work that Tyler Thigpen does on a daily basis.Guest: Tyler ThigpenResources and Expanded Show NotesFull TranscriptIn This Episode:“We believe that there's a connection between developing strong character and, you know, being able to shoulder the responsibility for your own learning. And so, you know, there, the learners are given opportunities to make rules and to learn how to follow those and to hold one another accountable and responsible for those rules and in doing so, you know, practice good, strong character.” (8:25)“You know, wherever there's something that teachers or adults have typically done in a school setting that we think learners can do, you know, we'll step back and we'll let them do it. And it will take a while and it will be messy, but it's, you know, what neuroscientists call productive struggle. That's really missing from a lot of teacher-led classrooms in our country today.” (12:16)“And of course they have so much choice and they have to experience the natural consequences of those choices. And that's very powerful. I mean, them experiencing the natural consequences, positive or negative, of their choices is maybe the most powerful instructor, you know, in the building. It, you know, the more so than what any caring adult, you know, provides for them.” (15:19)“We are sort of agnostic to how fast or slow they're going. That's one of the beautiful things about a self-paced environment. You can go as fast or slow as you want. We typically find learners go faster on average, and most of our learners do, you know, are above grade level, you know, as evidenced by norm referenced tests nationally, but we're okay with 'em going slow too. Cause sometimes that's okay. And, hopefully, that kind of environment that embraces that being behind, being on track, being ahead, whatever, you know, helps them flourish a little bit more. And appreciates the unique differences of every young person.” (20:13)“I think a real great critique of self-directed learning, if you don't know anything about it, you just hear the idea. It's like, oh, that's, that's pretty self-centered for kids. It's like, oh, just let them do whatever they want to do…And so we included a definition of self-directed learning that has young people on the hook for the other. For helping others, for finding a calling, you know that will in fact change their communities and change the world.” (37:58)

Wendy Fischman

Season 3, Ep. 22
Episode 22: The Purpose and Nature of Higher Education Since the beginning of the New View EDU podcast, we’ve been asking guests to help us answer the question: “What is the purpose of education?” Now we’re expanding our search for answers into the realm of higher education. What’s the purpose of college? Is it just to get a foot in the door of a competitive job market, or is there something greater to be gained from higher ed? Guest: Wendy FischmanResources and Expanded Show NotesFull TranscriptIn This Episode:“We devised a concept, a new concept, called higher education capital. And as you said, this is what we believe should be the goal of college for students, is to build and amplify higher education capital. Briefly, higher education capital is the ability to attend, analyze, reflect, connect, and communicate on important issues. So it's what you used in planning for and facilitating this podcast. It's what I used in preparing for the questions that I thought you were going to ask me…that’s what we call higher education capital.” (6:47)“We hope and expect that students who go to college will have the opportunity to develop and increase their own HED cap. And actually, students and parents should demand it. That's what they should be choosing colleges on. That's what they should be asking about. Rather than tout dining halls and schools' private islands, we wish that schools would promote their ability to increase HED cap.” (10:17)“Just a word about mental health on the college campus. While some students did talk about severe issues, including bipolar disorder or suicide or major depression, the majority of students talked about mental health issues as they relate to performing well, doing well, getting A's, and the anxiety about not performing and compiling the best possible profile when they graduate in order to get the job.” (24:26)“Today high school has become more of an exercise about preparing students to get into college, rather than preparing them for the college experience…We need to find ways in the high school experience and even maybe earlier, to incorporate these kinds of essential questions in our conversations with students, and also in our college counseling, so that they don't just form this very transactional view about college.” (31:13)“I think at early stages, we should be helping students to understand that their goal is not about getting into the most selective college, because sometimes it may not make a difference. It's about finding the college that speaks to the student's goals, what they wanna get out of it.” (34:26)

Josh Dahn

Season 3, Ep. 21
Episode 21: How to Create a Generation of Super CollaboratorsWhat if Elon Musk approached you one day and asked you to create a school? How would you approach the design of a radically different educational environment founded in the shadow of SpaceX and intended to provide deeper learning for the children of some of the most innovative thinkers in the world? That was the starting point for Josh Dahn.Guest: Josh DahnResources and Expanded Show NotesFull TranscriptIn This Episode:“Kindness is actually the word that we lead with. Like, we are always looking for just kind kids…We really wanna ground it in, in kindness and your ability to work well with others. I mean, the phrase we use in Synthesis is super collaborators. That's really the thing that we've always been looking for. Someone who is, yeah, there's your own individual path, but you make other people better and are, are interested in other people and wanna bring out their voices, not just your own.” (11:03)“I have to say, I'm not always disciplined on this message because sometimes I get carried away when you start thinking about, really, a bad time that a lot of kids have in school in the name of things that frankly, I don't think in the light of day, you can justify. Like how we spend time with kids. I think there are some things that are absolutely unacceptable.” (28:43)“The north star is how does this help us create a generation or cultivate a generation of super collaborators? Like how can we imbue in these kids something that we ourselves did not get and probably still now do not have, which is the ability to sort of surrender yourself to a team and to be authentic in who you are, and vulnerable, but also strong and in like what you believe? And I think part of that is through reflection and it's a really hard thing to do.” (34:26)“When it comes to education, I think a lot of people tend to want the same thing. I, I don't think that many people going, you know, thinking about their education that they went through are like, I want a carbon copy of that thing. What, you know, whether that's the horrors of middle school or the, you know, long days of geometry or whatever that is. I think that we all are, are sort of predisposed to openness, to something a bit different…I mean, we've done a class at Astra Nova over the years in magic. Oh, not because I think this is Hogwarts, but because I think it's interesting to question the assumption that because a class is called, I don't know, chemistry, that therefore, that thing is inherently more valuable than some other experience for the development of a child.” (39:10)


Season 2, Ep. 20
Episode 20: The Future of Schools as Desirable WorkplacesWe often focus on the student experience in our schools, which is a critical issue needing constant attention. But our school communities also include adults—the faculty and staff who work to make the student experience worthwhile. With the post-pandemic workforce shifting dramatically in all sectors, what can school leaders learn about transforming systems and practices to retain excellent teachers? How can we model leadership that supports and centers the well-being of faculty and staff? And how can we ensure that our schools are desirable workplaces where professionals can thrive and feel valued?Guests: Crissy Caceres, Brett Jacobsen, Doreen KellyResources and Expanded Show NotesFull TranscriptIn This Episode:“I think it will force our industry to create great clarity around our why. We're not able to be all things to all people. And I think the clearer we are with our missions, we'll have great clarity about who chooses to work in our environment, who chooses to study in our environment.” (10:19)“So rather than have an assumptive stance of what we believe to be true, I think that our leadership has to center ourselves with humility, to understand that we haven't had all of the right answers. And that perhaps, by the continuation of existing practices and systems, we have actually enabled a culture that hasn't optimized what healthy and whole existence in our schools look like. But our colleagues know the answers. And so I believe that this is a matter of connectivity. An honest reflection about not just what we've done well, but quite critically, what we have not.” (12:32)“We say we honor the worth and integrity of every individual in a variety of phrases in our mission. And so this moment that we're facing now is about going beyond our aspiration and acting upon the very things that cause families to invest resources and time into partnering in the world of parenting with their children and our schools. And so it's time to face the commitment that we have made all along and consider the ways in which we have to rethink the way that we've acted upon those missions.” (27:35)“The students are watching. All of the time. What a worthy call as leaders to care deeply about the people who…are truly at mission central, focused in on the kid. It is gifted work to be focused in on the people who are focusing on the kids as well.” (27:41)“You don't rise to your goals. You fall to your systems, whether those systems be good or bad, you're going to fall to those systems. And so what systems are we falling to? And that part of that is how healthy is your team and how aligned is your team.” (31:09)“Bridges have been essential to the modern world. They have helped define us. Bridges are connectors. They deal with proximity, where we become more proximate to each other because the bridge has been built. … What voices are we not hearing from? Bridges allow us to do that. And yet bridges have guard rails. Because they protect us. They help us make hopefully wiser decisions…we need more bridge builders.” (48:18)

Laura McBain

Season 2, Ep. 19
Episode 19: The Role of Failure and Risk in Designing Deeper LearningWe’re all familiar with the stories of people who became wildly successful after failing dozens of times to reach their goals. But what if those “inspirational” failure stories are the wrong ones to share? What if we’re defining success and failure the wrong way to begin with? And how do our own expectations of how things “should” be influence our perceptions of what learning, growth, and success actually look like?Guest: Laura McBainResources and Expanded Show NotesFull TranscriptIn This Episode:“And I think the purpose now is actually education … should be the thing that allows every person in this world to not only be a part of the world, but shape the world in which they want to live in, which means designing new career paths, new industries, and really allowing them to see, to be fully, fully realized as an individual, as a human and as a contributor to society.” (3:27)“We don't teach them how to learn through failure. Because we're so focused on getting the outcome, the grade, the project right, that we don't just sit with the moments of those, what we call those favorite moments of failure, which are the ones that changed you. They may not be the one that got that next job where they made you become the startup of that big company … but they have changed you. And they changed your DNA, the fabric of who you are and how you approach the world. They show up as an integrated part of your own humanity.” (9:32)“Students have textbooks that give them the answers. They can Google the answers. Like there's, nationally, no new content that they're actually trying to learn, essentially, that's not actually already out there. They're expected. This is why we see massive cheating scandals. We see students disengaging in textbooks. We see people looking up the answers in the back of the book, because they're expecting the right answer. And that right answer already exists. The answer's already there. So there's nothing, there's no new learning there, I think.” (17:44)“I don't believe you can separate content from emotions. We are emotional human beings. So the idea that feeling and learning are actually quite separate, if I don't feel a lot of how I'm learning, is actually not true. We get excited … we get really passionate. We're laughing. We're alert. That's an emotion. And so how do we have a space in our classrooms to just have students express their emotions, not just from a mental health perspective, which is important, but also how do they feel about the content they're learning?” (23:56)“You and I, as adults, if we were asked to do the same thing over and over and over again and persist through it, and it didn't unlock any interest or curiosity in us, you and I would say … no, I'm not doing that. And then we wonder why our young people are disengaged or … act up in classrooms. Their curiosity is being stamped out. And then we get mad at them for actually not doing the thing, but we're asking them to do something that probably could feel like torture, you know?” (38:19)

Camille Inge

Season 2, Ep. 18
Episode 18: Applying Neuroscience to Designing Inclusive SchoolsSchools are workplaces – not only for students, but for the faculty and staff who provide the learning environment in a school community. Are we truly designing our schools to be great workplaces for everyone? What does research about neuroscience and the human experience teach us about the qualities of truly productive, inclusive, desirable places to work and learn? And do we truly understand what it means to bring equity to a community through the way we design our environments, systems and policies for the benefit of all?Guest: Camille IngeResources and Expanded Show NotesFull TranscriptIn This Episode:“Feeling respected, feeling that you're trusted, that you have the ability to make choices, that you can take on creative pursuits, that you can have a voice that you can feel like you matter and have a sense of self in that place. And then that they're flexible. And agile, you know, that we can keep up with the pace of change, that we can listen, learn, adapt in a timely manner. So integrity, diversity, inclusion and empowerment, flexibility.” (10:17)“I mean, downtime is something that we're talking about a lot now, as something that we've neglected and that's so core to us being able to regenerate and be able to refuel, is this intentional creation of space where there's no goal. To just be able to mind wander and just be. I mean, it's relatively mindful. And we don't have a lot of space for that and it's negatively stigmatized, but in a place like kindergarten, it seems quite core to it…those things should be maintained throughout the whole human experience.” (13:34)“Likely if we're not actively including, we're probably accidentally excluding, cause it's a lot easier to go about our daily lives focused from a first person perspective rather than considering the perspectives of others, that platinum rule.” (38:53)“And at least thinking at the highest level of abstraction, do we, do we believe in the same things? Do we want the best for our students? Yes, of course. That's common ground. How do we get there? We might differ on that, but at least we can agree, yes, we want the best for our students, for our community. And starting there can be a really inclusive behavior before assuming that someone has ill intentions. We all probably would say we have the best intentions. So let's give each other the benefit of the doubt as well and work from there.” (40:44)

Eric Liu

Season 2, Ep. 17
Episode 17: The Opportunities and Obligations of Citizenship in K-12 EducationWhat if each of us believed we had the power to make change happen in civic life—and felt we had the responsibility to try? That’s the premise behind Eric Liu’s Citizen University, and the starting point for this New View EDU discussion on power literacy, changemaking, and civic agency in schools. How did the study of “civics” become a boring, drill-and-kill topic? When and why did we stop treating civic literacy as a relevant, necessary skill for students to learn? And how can we reclaim a sense of civic responsibility, citizenship, and future agency in our school communities?Guest: Eric LiuResources and Expanded Show NotesFull TranscriptIn This Episode:“And as I've said in many contexts, power is like fire or physics. It just is. It’s there. And though it can be put to bad uses, that fact doesn't absolve us of the responsibility to think of what good uses it could be put to.” (3:22)“You know, the purpose of schooling is not just to create good workers or good employees or people who can compete in the global economy as, as has become the dominant refrain of justification for schooling and especially public schooling. But fundamentally it is to create citizens, people capable of self-government. And that was certainly the case for universal compulsory public education.” (7:16)“If you want to teach civics, you have to teach the arguments. You have to show young people the ways in which, from the beginning and to this day, we are perpetually contesting several sets of tensions, between Liberty and equality, between a strong national government and local control, between federalism and anti federalism, between the Pluribus part of our national motto and the Unum part of our national motto. Right? And these tensions are never meant to be resolved finally, one direction or the other…The tension that we are always in is the argument. And the point of American civic life isn't right now to have fewer arguments, it's to have less stupid ones.” (20:23)“Education is not all critical thinking and SEL. You got to have some raw material about which you are thinking critically. And we have to have some common facts around which we can have emotional intelligence, right? And I think schools, public and private over the last two generations, have failed our country, have failed our democratic experiment, in providing that core knowledge.” (34:09)

Denise Pope

Season 2, Ep. 16
Episode 16: Challenging Success to Design Schools for Well-BeingWhat’s the difference between educating students for the future, and simply “doing school?” Are we designing school communities that foster the development of better adults, or are we clinging to old ideas about content and rigor that no longer serve us well? And what role do parental expectations, higher ed, and societal pressure play in the decisions we make about how schools function?Guest: Denise PopeResources and Expanded Show NotesFull TranscriptIn This Episode:“Rigor is not the same thing as load…What I see with schools, it's exactly what you're seeing. They say, academic excellence, academic excellence. That's what our parents are sending their kids here for. And that's what we say we're going to promote. And academic excellence can very much be in the definition that, that you and I just set out, around critical thinking, around the skills they need, around teamwork, around cooperation, around weighing really challenging issues. And they need to see that that is not just piling on more stuff. And it's not the traditional way that they've been teaching, which is scary. Change is scary.” (10:10)“We're hearing I want my kid to be happy. I want them to be healthy. I want them to be fulfilled. I want them to go on to, you know, be independent and go to college and get a job. And what they say they want for success is not necessarily translated to their kids. So when we ask the kids how they define success, it's often money, grades, test scores, college, popularity.” (16:47)“The parents have to do their jobs, but the school has to do their job too. And that's one of the main things we talk to schools about. Less is more. What's going on with your schedule, what's going on with your homework policy. What's going on with the fact that they have to take so many classes at a time, or so many advanced placement or honors things happening at the time, right? Less is more.” (25:34)“You've got to fix the relationships happening at school first and foremost. You've got to make sure that kids are sleeping, that they have room for mental health, that they are not going, you know, 24-7 like chickens with their heads cut off. And then when you've created that space of belonging and health and safety, let's go to the next step on Maslow's hierarchy.” (39:09)