New View EDU
It’s easy to say “have a good day at school!” But are we actually designing the environments that will support our students and staff in having good days?
In a world that’s only becoming more complex, simple concepts like having a good day can almost feel too rudimentary to think about. School leaders have plenty to do without worrying about who’s having a good day, and who’s not. But having a good day is much more complicated -- and far more important -- than it seems. Some of our most talented staff are burned out. Our highest-achieving students leave the classroom uncertain about their ability to navigate the world with confidence and agency. Leadership expert, executive coach and author Caroline Webb shares the research behind the science of thriving, and how changing your practices to help everyone have better days can fundamentally improve almost every aspect of education.
In this episode, Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon grapple with how weary school leaders, staff and students can summon resilience and optimism to return to the classroom. Infusing schools with positive attitudes that instill lifelong learning dispositions, critical thinking skills, empathy and the ability to thrive seems like a big ask. But it’s also the kind of environment we know will serve students in the long run. Caroline draws upon her extensive experience in using neuroscience and behavioral research to improve leadership practices, applying her practical methods to the school environment.
Caroline’s suggestions for leaders are both concrete and unique. Walking through the neuroscience behind why people react as they do in certain situations, she shares how to stop negative reactions in their tracks and create positive outcomes. She also gives advice to leaders on creating welcoming, affirmative cultures that make “having a good day” more possible for everyone in the school community. And she shares the science of intentionally directing our attention so we can make the most of our time and efforts.
Some of the key questions Tim and Lisa explore in this interview about having a good day and understanding the science of thriving include:
- How do we teach lasting resilience and thriving to our young people?
- How can we deliberately reframe our practices so that we uplift “soft skills” as critical to thriving in the long term?
- We’ve just come through a year of heightened ambiguity and uncertainty. What can we learn from leaders who navigated it successfully? How might we bring those lessons to our leaders and learners?
- How can school leaders encourage and deliberately design workplaces that support “having a good day?”
- Caroline’s Website -- Learn more about Caroline and her work on leadership and behavioral science
- Caroline’s Science Essentials -- The must-have list of scientifically proven practices behind having a good day
- How to Have a Good Day -- Stay up to date with Caroline’s consulting practice and book
- How To Have A Good Day in Uncertain Times -- Caroline’s video series on thriving despite ambiguity
- Behavioral Science Will Be More Important Than Ever in the 4th Industrial Revolution -- “We’re still uniquely placed to reach deep insight and connection with fellow humans, and to display wisdom and innovation in situations where there is no right answer.”
In This Episode:
- “In order to be the best leader you can be, I've seen this time and again, with leaders in very challenging situations, you need to invest in yourself. You need to not see that as a luxury.
You need to take the time to get to know yourself and your patterns, to take a step back perhaps and reflect on the past year and say, okay, now how do I equip myself as best I can for the continued uncertainty that we're all going to face?” (3:40)
- “I'm very much a fan of things that it takes three seconds to do, because I think, you know, our lives are busy and challenging and if an intervention is complex, then there's an excellent chance that we won't end up doing it. So just simply understanding that giving someone a little bolt of appreciation has such disproportionate effects on their state of reward and therefore their state and their ability to think expansively and in discovery mode rather than go on the defensive.” (19:10)
- “Leaders often think they're giving plenty of praise and they're not doing it half as much as they think, and they're not doing it in a way that is as effective as it could be.” (19:50)
- “I can shift my demeanor, then I can shift that person back towards the arms of their better angels.” (31:30)
- “And it's not hard to learn it, except it is.” (37:00)
About Our Guests:
Caroline Webb is an executive coach, author and speaker known for being one of the world’s leading experts in using insights from behavioral science to improve professional life. Her bestselling book on that topic, How To Have A Good Day, has been published in 14 languages and more than 60 countries. In a previous life she was a Partner at McKinsey and co-founder of their leadership practice, and in an even earlier life she was an economist working on public policy.
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41. Welcoming New Leadership to NAIS46:22Episode 41: Welcoming New Leadership to NAISDuring the summer of 2023, longtime NAIS President Donna Orem retired, and new President Debra Wilson stepped into the role. In this first school year of Debra’s tenure, she sits down with Tim Fish to introduce herself to the NAIS community and share her personal journey with independent schools.Guest: Debra WilsonResources, Transcript, and Expanded Show NotesIn This Episode:“Context really matters. There is that…do people feel known and seen? And when I, when I say that, it's not just the kids, but it's the individual staff members, it's the parents. Like, what message are they receiving all of the time? And that really leads to greater connectivity. And it tends to lead to happier encounters.” (20:18)“One of the things I talk about with education, we adults can mess around with us all we want. Every kid's only got one shot at it. So, you know, if they have a bad teacher placement three years in a row, they're 50% behind their peers. Like that's, I mean, that's, that's just research. Like that's, there's just numbers. And so we don't really have time to play around with this, so like, how do we hold those things really sacred?” (25:34)“You want good, smart, thoughtful, solid people doing good, smart, solid, thoughtful work. Bright shiny objects, like, they can, they can jump you right off the tracks...that kind of traditional, basic, not so sexy, like, we just, we're gonna do really good work day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, is what you're going for most of the time.” (36:23)Related Episodes: 39, 31, 25, 14, 13
Member Voices: Noni Thomas Lopez from the Gordon School30:37Season 4 Bonus Episode:Noni Thomas López, Head of School, The Gordon School This episode is a re-broadcast of an archival episode from our friends at the NAIS Member Voices podcast. The original episode and show notes can be found on the Member Voices Season 5 page. In the second episode of our three-part miniseries on Cultivating Diverse and Inclusive Communities, our guest is Noni Thomas López, head of the Gordon School (RI). She talks about how becoming a more diverse and inclusive school is like peeling an onion, the importance of finding opportunity in discomfort, and why battling misinformation keeps her up at night.Relevant Resources:Independent School magazine: Independent Spirit: Noni Thomas LópezNAIS New View EDU Podcast: Episode 7: Schools for Diversity and Designing Inclusive FuturesNAIS Legal Tip: Consider Anti-Bias Handbook PoliciesVideo: Equity and Inclusion: Bringing About Systemic Change from the Inside OutIndependent Ideas Blog: The Pandemic of MisinformationLearn more about this episode’s sponsor, Carney, Sandoe & Associates, by visiting its website.
40. Student Voice and Agency in Education with One Stone Students47:33Episode 40: Student Voice and Agency in EducationIn four seasons of New View EDU, we’ve talked a lot about what students need to thrive. In this episode, we’re going straight to the source. Host Tim Fish sits down with Ella Cornett and Mackenzie Link, high school students from One Stone School in Boise, Idaho, to get their real world perspectives on everything from classes and schedules to life lessons on failure, accountability, passion, purpose, and more.Guests: Ella Cornett and Mackenzie LinkResources, Transcript, and Expanded Show NotesIn This Episode:“To go back to the question of what should school be, I feel like learners and students should come out of school with that sense of purpose. And that's, that really resonates with me because I feel like that's what I want out of school. I wanna leave school and kind of know what I wanna do and who I wanna be in the world.” (21:39)“I would describe my stress...less so stress. I would call it ambition. Like, I think the weight of ambition sits heavy on my shoulders because I strive for the, like, the next best thing I wanna keep doing. I wanna keep going, I wanna keep pushing. And One Stone really allows me to do that and empowers me to do that.” (26:24)“It's that pushing students, the healthy balance of pushing students. And this is where great coaching comes in. And great mentorship is, you do have to find the thing that students care about and relate it, everything that you're doing, to that. And then we're in the home stretch.” (29:57)“It's easy if you let it be easy, in the sense that if you don't want to grow, if you don't try to grow, you won't. Just like a student in public school that doesn't try, they won't get a good GPA. But that's not the motivation here. The motivation here for us is to grow. So if a student doesn't want to grow, how can they?” (39:44)Related Episodes: 36, 34, 27, 23, 18
39. Lessons Learned While Leading NAIS with Donna Orem51:19Episode 39: Lessons Learned While Leading NAISAfter a long and distinguished tenure as the President of NAIS, Donna Orem is retiring in the Spring of 2023. Throughout her career, she’s seen the independent school landscape, and education in general, change dramatically. As Donna prepares to depart NAIS, what lessons has she learned? How has her career in education changed her? What wisdom can she pass along to her successor and to everyone working in schools right now?Guest: Donna OremResources, Transcript, and Expanded Show NotesIn This Episode:“I think another thing that I've learned from this is that there is a role that we each have to play in a learning community, and that is assuming good intent. Because it's very easy, particularly when you get into these conversations around highly charged issues, to assume that there are two sides or three sides to the issues. And people get pitted against one another. And I have learned to step back and to say, you know what? Chances are we wanna get to the same place, but we have a different way to get there.” (7:03)“But I remember at some point a family writing a letter to the head of school saying, you know, we've had two children at this school and they have thrived, but we've come to the point where we can no longer afford the tuition…That was the most painful letter. And it was just so symptomatic, I think, of what families were feeling. So I hope we can get beyond that one day so that, you know, when a family has that experience, they are not forced to make that impossibly hard decision.” (19:57)“I think balancing all those relationships has become our biggest challenge as an organization. And, you know, how do you ensure that you see that diversity, you recognize that diversity, and you develop programs and services to meet leaders where they are? Because you know, that one size fits all just does not work anymore. I don't know that it ever did.” (35:53)Related Episodes: 25, 20, 14, 10, 1
38. Strategic Accountability in Schools with Jim Honan44:04Episode 38: Strategic Accountability in EducationPlanning for the future of our schools isn’t easy. In recent years, we’ve seen firsthand how even the best-laid plans can go badly awry, and schools have been left grappling with issues that no one could have predicted. So how can we continue to embrace strategy and future thinking in a way that allows us to not only make plans, but execute on them, in the midst of an ever-changing landscape?Guest: Dr. Jim HonanResources, Transcript, and Expanded Show NotesIn This Episode:“As we move forward, it's that sense of connection among team members, among various people in various roles, be it teachers or staff members, et cetera. And then creating that sense of connectivity and belonging to show people there's some common purpose in the work. So sure. Call it what you will, playing well with others or understanding what the people in your organization need to do their best work and you being attuned to that. That's a team sport.” (7:27)“I'm not a big fan of chasing bright shiny objects. I think the caveat in the innovation space is we're not, I told my teams this, we're not just gonna do this cuz it looks cool. That, wouldn't it be neat if we did this? It probably would be, and that would be awesome. We haven't done it before. It would be cool and neat, but on the other hand, it's not driven by some educational purpose.” (11:10)“Occasionally someone will say, you know, have you ever seen a mission like this? Isn't this unique? And with deep respect, the answer is, there's like ten other places who say they're doing that. So that can't be the uniqueness. I think there's this added expectation and burden, if you will, in independent schools, on the point you made, to really be crisp and clear about that. This is what's distinctive about us, and this is how we're gonna execute on it. And we have data to show that we execute on that unique, call it what you will, mission or value proposition.” (24:51)Related Episodes: 36, 29, 25, 14, 9
37. The Dignity Lens in Education with Beth-Sarah Wright44:15Episode 37: The Dignity Lens in EducationSchools are first and foremost communities of people. When we plan for the future of those communities, how can we do so in a way that takes into account the dignity of every human being? How does strategy intersect with who we are and who we aspire to be? Dr. Beth-Sarah Wright’s Dignity Lens challenges schools to look at themselves with clear eyes and identify the gap between who we say we are, and who we truly want to become.Guest: Dr. Beth-Sarah WrightResources, Transcript, and Expanded Show NotesIn This Episode:“People make up these communities, people do. And people have emotions. People have these gut feelings, especially around some sort of challenge they might be having as a community. You know, we have these things. That's the explosive part. It's a very sensitive part. So the adaptive challenges are, they reside in that very messy, emotional, that part of us where we are gonna experience some loss.” (6:35)“What is in our founding DNA? Who are we? And that is just information… We can look back on our history and we can surface all sorts of things about who we are, when we were founded, why we were founded, or what we've come to be or all of that. But all of that is important. It's nothing to be, to throw away. It's nothing to discard. It's something. All of it is important and we need to be able to parse through that.” (11:27)“Caught up in all of that is some sort of fear. And really at the root of that is dignity. One might feel, you know, violated. A dignity violation. But hold on. But my voice is not being heard here. Or I, I just don't understand. I don't get it. I, whatever it may be, I don't, you know. I think at the root of that is loss. And we can look at that even at a national scale. We can look at that all over. We can see it in our communities. That's part of progress, making progress.” (19:33)“We have lots of stories that can be told, and that's very important too. We have this level of experiences, people sharing their experiences…and then there is the sort of raw data that we can actually gather from our community. And sometimes just depending on what community we're talking with, some people might be very intimidated by getting data. Data can be overwhelming and, and scary, and sometimes what I try to say to people is, well, you know that stories are the currency for dignity.” (27:36)Related Episodes: 32, 30, 15, 7
36. Reinventing Education beyond 2020 with Michael Horn44:35Episode 36: Reinventing Education Beyond 2020No one can deny that the events of 2020 changed education in America, and arguably, worldwide. But three years after COVID closed schools, what is the actual state of our educational system? What lessons did we really learn, and what mistakes have we made? What opportunity lies ahead for transformation? Michael Horn returns to New View EDU to share the findings from his new book about education after the pandemic, From Reopen to Reinvent.Guest: Michael HornResources, Transcript, and Expanded Show NotesIn This Episode:“And I did not want this to be a book that just says, oh yeah, we poorly serve low income kids, but you know Michael's mom in Montgomery County, you're okay, right? I want Michael's mom in Montgomery County to be like, oh. You mean what I thought is rigorous is not in fact rigorous? You mean what I thought is unleashing his potential is actually hurting his sense of growth mindset and not preparing him for the executive function skills that he's gonna need in the world of work, and is just causing him to sit there trying to compete on a very narrow metric of success and not figure out his purpose in life? Oh, I don't want that. And I hope everyone walks away from it and says, Wow. This is not like a ‘some’ problem. This is everyone. We can be doing better.” (14:46)“And then the part that I would require then comes back to where you started, which is to me the habits of success. Curiosity, executive function, agency, growth mindset, grit, perseverance, a sense of self-efficacy and self-esteem. A sense of attachment. Like those things I would say are the baseline. And I wouldn't call them social emotional learning, although that's a common phrase for them…I think some of the fights that we have in communities right now are, they're like, you know, there's truly some like weird stuff being pedaled under each of those monikers, but I don't know any parent that doesn't want their kids to be curious about the world.” (25:09)“We framed schools for kids as this zero sum experience. I win. I get the seat in the precious college, you lose. You don't. Or I, you know, you get the A, I got the C. We're doling out scarcity. And I want us to shift to a positive sum system where the goal is not for you to beat me on some narrow yardstick, but instead for you to be the best version of Tim Fish that there is, to be the most unique version of you that has a place to contribute in the world.” (39:58)Related Episodes: 29, 27, 14, 10, 8, 1
35. The Relationship Between Emotions and Learning with Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang49:57Episode 35: The Relationship Between Emotions and LearningSocial-emotional learning and student wellbeing are increasingly showing up as priorities for schools. But what if research could prove that looking out for the emotional components of teaching and learning aren’t just important for mental health, but actually essential for academic growth? That’s the central premise of Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang’s research, and she’s ready to make the case that emotions are vitally linked to our ability to learn.Guest: Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-YangResources, Transcript, and Expanded Show NotesIn This Episode:“The whole rest of the brain, the deeper thinking, the emotion regulation, the engaging with other people, the social meaning making, the sense of self. All of these kinds of very basic systems that are fundamental to being a good human are not predicted by, or even associated with, IQ. They are predicted by this, this what we're calling transcendent thinking… So how do we get kids to think that way?” (9:50)“It's literally neurobiologically impossible to think deeply about information for which you have no emotional reason or context to engage.” (12:09)“We're not installing information into a person like a squirrel, like, stashing away its nuts, right? What we're doing is inviting a person to engage actively with an orchestrated set of materials and content in a way that will help facilitate them naturally coming to realize what matters there, and the power of those tools for understanding something important about ideas and the world.” (21:12)Related Episodes: 32, 18, 16, 5, 3
34. Supercharging Project-Based Learning Design with Saeed Arida48:52Episode 34: Supercharging Project-Based Learning DesignWhat if offering to work on a few projects with a homeschooled student sparked the idea to partner with a school? And what if then, groups of students started asking to make that project-based learning model their entire high school experience? That’s what happened when Saeed Arida, a PhD student in the Architecture department at MIT, tried running a design studio with a handful of kids. The result was NuVu, a unique studio education model that’s catching on worldwide.Guest: Saeed AridaResources, Transcript, and Expanded Show NotesIn This Episode:“I have not figured out exactly why this happens, but their expectation is that when they are working on this idea, is that you give them only the technical feedback. They don't want you to talk about the conceptual framing of the idea. My explanation for this is that, you know, in our kind of traditional schooling system, the only thing that we give the students is content. We never really talk about ideas and their ideas, and it feels very personal and vulnerable.” (8:47)“To assume that they're gonna, like, you know, by the end of the four years that they're gonna learn everything that is, that's being kind of taught in these textbooks, it's not gonna happen..there are a lot of studies about these subjects and like after six months, basically a lot of the kids fail on them anyway. A lot of that info is not sticking anyway. You know, so it's like, why are we committing to this idea that we need to learn all of that stuff in four years? If at the end of the day none of the, like, not, or a big part of it is not sticking.” (31:27)“For me, it still does not really address the central question whether this tool is ultimately helping the students or not, which is for me why we are doing-- like there, there is no reason to do any tracking or an assessment unless it becomes a really empowering tool that would help the students kind of grow.” (41:28)Related Episodes: 31, 29, 27, 26, 21, 6