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Laura McBain

Season 2, Ep. 19

Episode 19: The Role of Failure and Risk in Designing Deeper Learning


We’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 McBain

Resources and Expanded Show Notes

Full Transcript


In 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)


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9/20/2022

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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)
9/13/2022

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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)