We talk to innovators, creators and trailblazers working in education who enable and embrace positive change, for all of us interested in happier students, smarter teaching and lifelong learning. Hosted by Kyra Kellawan.
In this final episode of the first season, I met former international school students Clara Reynolds and Xoài David, two twenty-one year olds on a mission to decolonise the curriculum in the world of international education. Their movement began as “decolonise the IB” and is now the Organisation to Decolonise International Schools. It has taken hold and empowered other international school alumni, teachers and students. In this episode they explain their aims to eradicate racism and encourage a more globally ethical outlook in teaching and learning: from learning about native histories and cultures to diversifying hiring and recruitment practices. They’re two impressive young women on a mission to do right, and I’m delighted to finish the season with their voices. As IB-educated students they have taken up a huge piece of much-needed work on accountability & amplification of diverse voices in our world of international education. They have also taken swift action in a way that should make us as educators sit up and take notice. This generation are not going to accept the glossy brochure version of international school life if diversity at schools is just paying lip-service. Students, educators and parents are beginning to ask hard questions of their leadership committees and boards. It’s an uncomfortable, pressing issue that erupted again and again this year in our news media and reminded us all of the hard truths: there are still gender, disability and racial inequalities in terms of senior international school leadership and our practices and policies. We saw conversations and public statements on Black Lives Matter and anti-racist policies posted in international school fora from the Council of International Schools and the International Association of College Admissions Counselors, and witnessed allyship groups such as the Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color and BAMEed doubling down on prejudice and inequality in international school systems, making vocal calls for change heard. What Clara and Xoài remind me is that schools are community organisations whose reach is felt long after students leave the gates. The most future-ready and respected leaders are currently putting resources into ensuring that they not only retain, but champion and listen to the diverse voices of their staff and students. If there aren’t any: then it’s some hard questions need to be asked.
ENDNOTE The first season of PilotEd has had a strong focus on educators doing thoughtful and intentional work to create happy, fulfilled students: who are ready for the complex future that awaits them, and who are mentally and emotionally equipped to deal with the slings and arrows of life. From meeting educators in Green Schools to those planning new schools, picking the brains of education futurists to meeting social innovators working to provide education to refugees, there are themes that emerged from speaking to these innovative leaders in education.
1. An academic year without exams was for many, a relief. School leaders were forced to look at other kinds of success. 2. Our learning paradigm is changing: and staff have to be ready for it. Online learning for this generation is not an adjustment: it’s a continual way of being. 3. Values- based education is more important than ever in our increasingly volatile and complex world. 4. Conversations that address all forms of diversity within your school communities are needed with urgency. 5. Listen to your students - and learn from them.In an online context, that becomes even more important: our virtual classrooms have further broken down the barriers between our “at home” and “at work” selves, and we can show up for our students differently, just as they can show up differently to school, in this new normal.
Thanks for being a listener to PIlotEd’s inaugural season. If you like what you’ve heard in S1, then please like us or follow @thepilotedpodcast on social media.
Meet Hannah Wilson, an independent consultant and facilitator who specialises in leadership development and training. Hannah was one of the founding members of the Women in Education Leadership movement WomenEd in the UK. She is a DfE coach for the Women Leading in Education initiative and an advocate for flexible working. She specialises in: Diversity, Inclusion and Equality, Professional Learning, Early Career Teachers, Mental Health and Wellbeing.
I met Hannah through my work with WomenEd, but she is a twitter superstar in her own right and I had seen her posts long before I connected with her. As a vocal champion of serving under-represented voices in leadership, she leads by example, taking decisions led by strong core values and modeling what it means to be an ethical leader: coincidentally, that’s also her twitter handle. After speaking to both Lawrence and Hannah I have been struck by a strong similarity in their outlooks: We need to think about the umbrella of all the diversities, and the need for the majority to consider our individual power and privilege as well as that of the groups we identify with. We need to think about all of the "protected characteristics". These refer to the 2010 The Equality Act passed in the UK, and identify groups protected by equality legislation – age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion,sexual orientation, or civil status. Being able to understand the terminology and the fact that discrimination exists in many forms helps us all to recognise our own privileges and unexamined advantages at work and in the world at large, and it shows that the fight to eradicate discrimination is a bigger one than many of us initially think. But it also binds us in that fight in different, powerful ways.
Hannah’s conviction in what she does is absolutely rock-solid. I love her quote about leaving a job because she’d rather step aside than be compromised and then get ill. Important, system-changing work has come to her because of that sense of purpose and desire to improve things. By amplifying what you stand for, and following what you believe in, work comes and people gravitate towards you because it’s authentic. She is exactly the type of leader PilotEd seeks out: one of a breed of highly networked, disruptive leaders: COVID seems like the moment that we will see an important surge of collective agency to change school and educator cultures from toxic ones. Lines in the sand are being drawn by courageous leaders like Hannah, and finding your tribe means you don’t have to be the one person in your school, or multi-academy trust (MAT) banging your drum about change, now you can connect.
WomenED is just one of those tribes, but there are many others, with different focal points: BAMEed, AIELOC, Daily Writing Challenge group on twitter, seeking out empowering conferences online to be part of, peer support circles and educator coaching sessions.
Further sources & notes:
Rebel Ideas by Matthew Said:https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/52326253-rebel-ideas
Chiltern Learning Alliance https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQjl49issw_Atd7WXH0DDhw
Values Based Education: @vbezone on twitter Rachel Thomas @math_rachel on twitter
Jill Berry Making the Leap https://www.leadershipmatters.org.uk/ambassadors/jill-berry/
Diana Osagi: https://www.leadershipmatters.org.uk/ambassadors/diana-osagie/
Viv Grant: https://www.leadershipmatters.org.uk/ambassadors/viv-grant/
Evelyn Forde: https://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/columnists/cortez-ford/
Lana Gay: https://www.bameednetwork.com/team-view/allana-gay/
Kiran Gill: https://www.the-difference.com/media-coverage-listing/2018/1/26/kiran-gill-profile-schools-week
Kevin Simpson founded The Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color (AIELOC) - an org devoted to amplifying the work of international educators and leaders of color with a focus on advocacy, learning, and research. Kevin is an entrepreneur and educator whose work came into my frame of reference earlier this year when I was introduced to the AIELOC group by a colleague and friend. Since 2008, Simpson has been focused on education in the MENA region, assisted numerous schools with accreditation, training, development, and served as a thought partner to investors on school start-up projects. Simpson is co-founder of the UAE Learning Network, has co-authored papers on American curriculum in the MENA region with a focus on Common Core State Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards, social studies, the arts, and the history of American Education in the UAE. His company, KDSL Global is an education consulting company based in the USA and in the UAE. Simpson and his team have served thousands of schools, organizations, educators, and leaders worldwide in over 20 countries.
One of the biggest takeaways from speaking to Kevin for me was his tireless commitment to the various communities he serves. Starting with the community of his 4th grade classroom, and ensuring their exposure to global reference points, and then broadening out to his AIELOC work to elevate and amplify voices of educators of colour - specifically certain groups such as female leaders of colour. AIELOC’s work is in many ways just beginning to be seen by those educators who were not already a part of the affinity group, and that is also part of the issue. If as an educator I was not taking the time to understand that this group needed to exist back in 2017, then I was also not paying attention to my own privileges. As a person of mixed heritage who “can pass” for white, has a British passport and has never been knowingly overlooked in the international school system for my ethnicity, I am aware that I have lived an entirely privileged experience within the sector. Knowing that more visible minorities experience the gamut from microagressions about well-spokeness, all the way through to blatant discrimination, I am acutely aware that those of us who don’t experience this have a duty to call it out, and support our colleagues who do have to live it. As Kevin says, it is everyone’s work to do, and it starts with the individual first.
Talking to Kevin and engaging with AIELOC has broadened my perspective and re-affirmed my commitment to the self-enquiry, learning and unlearning he spoke about. If you have been undertaking similar work, I encourage you to follow AIELOC on twitter, @globalKDSL and the AIELOC group on facebook if you identify as an educator of color. And even if you are not, then there is a fantastic list of ways in which you can lead for change in your own organisations, starting with the investigation of school or university policies, the use of mentoring and investment in professional development of staff as well as the creation of leadership pipelines
Resources: AIELOC: http://aieloc.org Black in International Schools Instagram:
Sign Joel LLaban’s Anti-Racism in International School Accreditation petition on Change.org: https://www.change.org/p/explicit-inclusion-of-anti-racism-in-international-accreditation-standards/u/27081824?recruiter=1113515413&utm_source=share_update&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=facebook
Decolonise the IB Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/decolonise_ib/
Liberate Meditation https://liberatemeditation.com
Welcome back to Episode 10 of PilotEd. Series one is drawing to a close, but this week’s guest was something of a surprise appearance. She’s an education heroine of mine. Rebecca Zeigler Mano is the founder of EdMatters Africa, the USAP Community School in Zimbabwe, and she co-founded the HALI Access Network. HALI stands for High Acheiving Low Income, and its 20+ organizations work in more than 30 countries across Africa, supporting thousands of students on their journeys to find post-secondary options with funding.
Rebecca’s own teaching career spans over two decades and has seen her in classrooms in Coastal Kenya, Northern California and Zimbabwe. Rebecca has devoted her professional life to college equity and access for talented, low-income students. She founded the United States Achievers Program, or USAP in 2000 whilst working as the Country Coordinator for EducationUSA in Zimbabwe. Primarily, the program's goal was to encourage and assist highly talented but economically disadvantaged high school graduates access scholarships and full-funding at top US colleges and universities. Starting off with 13 students, USAP has since grown into an international program. Rebecca's vision of educating the underprivileged has broken borders and through a dedicated network of Educational Advisors in countries like Mongolia, Brazil, Ecuador and the UK, USAP has significantly impacted the lives of its young people.
Rebecca is active as a presenter, trainer and leader in international education organisations such as NAFSA, IACAC, and CIS where I saw a moving keynote from her on USAP’s work last November. That speech led me to reach out directly to Rebecca. I was, as you can imagine, delighted to discover that she listens to PilotED on her morning walks, and that she could make time to be a guest.
Speaking to Rebecca was an inspiring experience in so many ways. She understands that she cannot be a voice for the whole continent, nor even for the direct experience of her Zimbabwean students, but as with any great champion or ally, she is intentional about how and where she uses her influence. She is a powerful advocate for access and inclusion in her communities in Zimbabwe, the USA and across international higher education. The HALI network’s goals are to share ideas, resources and experiences to improve their work with high-achieving, low-income students, to provide relevant and insightful information to the wider college admissions and international education community, to advocate on issues affecting high-achieving low-income international students and to increase scholarship opportunities and support for high-achieving low-income students.
If you are listening and you work for a university that strives for diversity and inclusion, there is a clear call to action here if you’re not already seeking out opportunities to work alongside organisations like HALI and USAP. There are so many others out there. To any other educator who has been profoundly moved, as I am, by what Rebecca and her team of alumni, supporters, and friends do: then you can support their work directly.
Donations for the USAP community school are gratefully received at https://usapschool.org/donate/ and http://goto.gg/47507
Education Matters - www.edmattersafrica.org
Facebook Pages - Education Matters Africa, USAP Community School
Instagram - edmatters_africa
Twitter - @edmattersafrica
This episode is an educator call to action. Given the current global protests we are seeing around the need to reform race relations and eradicate structural racism in our societies, for us as educators the most effective way to do this arguably begins with how we select our teachers and leaders in our schools and universities.
This week’s guest is Lawrence Alexander, the Director of Equity and Inclusion at Carney Sandoe & Associates - the largest educational consulting and staffing firm in the US. He facilitates in-house training on best practices around implicit bias and equitable decision making, and is responsible for finding leaders who commit to equity and inclusion in their work in education. He also develops educational opportunities for school partners and closely monitors trends and changes in the profession.
Lawrence spent a decade as a college counselor in both public and independent schools. He served as the Director of Equity and Inclusion at The White Mountain School and has established himself as an industry leader through his work in with East Woods School (NY), Brown University, the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE), and CS&A. Lawrence also serves on the editorial board for Insight Into Diversity magazine.
Initially I wanted to understand how Lawrence was balancing the increased interest and demand for his work with the very real challenges he faces as a person of colour working in education in America. Having worked largely in international education settings, it might be easy to imagine that diversity and inclusion is a given, however as Lawrence eloquently put it, we all have a tendency to microwave our global understanding by parochial experiences, which in “diverse” education settings, may make us feel like we know more people than we do authentically.
The danger of a single story is as relevant to any minority or under-represented group - however in life, education, the criminal justice system, the workplace: the odds are stacked against black people. As educators who must continue to innovate to prepare students for the challenges that lay ahead, checking & acknowledging privilege and practising allyship is important work that all of us must do, no matter our histories, gender, skin colour or politics.
I thank Lawrence for his extensive, excellent reading list that brought to light many issues that I too, am ignorant of. It doesn’t matter how diverse your own background is: there’s always more to be learned, and many many other voices to hear from.
Anti-Racist Resources mentioned in the episode:
Rachel Engel's Open Letter to the International School Community
Tony Jack - The Privileged Poor
Michael Eric Dyson - Tears We Cannot Stop
Austin Channing Brown: I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World for Whiteness
Robin DiAngelo - White Fragility
Glenn Singleton - Courageous Conversations about Race
Debby Irving: Waking up White
Kimberlé Crenshaw - The Urgency of Intersectionality TED talk
Dr Dena Simmons - How Students of Color Confront Impostor Syndrome TED talk
Ali Michael - How Can I Have a Positive Racial Identity? I'm White! TED talk
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story
Peter Derby-Crook MBE is the Director of Education at China’s Dipont Education Group. Peter’s expansive career in international teaching and headship positions has seen him lead schools in Dubai, Jakarta, Tokyo, Oman, and Singapore as well as two headships in the United Kingdom. In October 2018 he received an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire), one of the UK’s highest honors, for his services to British communities abroad through education. He is also a passionate advocate for change in existing school systems using kindness, and he shows a deep understanding of the nature of childhood.
Peter’s caring, nurturing approach comes from an understanding of being a not-traditionally academic student himself. His refreshing honesty about his trajectory towards being such a successful educator starts with a story of his own trials at school and with exam-taking. I started out by asking him about his journey towards teaching, given his trials and tribulations with formal exams at school.
It's clear that Peter appreciates each of his students deeply, and comes across as an inclusive educator who places equal value on the subjects they are learning. Perhaps that mindset emerged from his primary school training to begin with, where subjects are often more blended and intertwined into projects. It’s also from this holistic viewpoint that Peter views each of the children in his care. Speaking of his new paradigm for schools: that of centres for "learning and growing", his goal is to create and develop children who show gratitude, non-judgement, presence, confidence, risk-taking and who feel free to stay true to the non academic passions and interests they have. Similarly to Corey Johnson of Imagine Scholar in Ep6, Peter is concerned most with developing healthy, happy individuals who flourish and continue to flourish beyond their success measured at school, or at university. He mentions Simon Sinek’s "Find Your Why" as an inspiration; another overlap for recommended reading that some listeners may already be familiar with.
He’s not content with producing “really nice children who are largely unmotivated to help others” but speaks of lifelong learning and growing, celebrating the stories of success of non-traditional achievers and those who made a difference in the world despite having a non-linear trajectory. Peter is one of a rare breed of senior leaders in education who can admit that he failed something at school, and yet, here he is, helping others to appreciate the breadth and diversity of skills and achievements that we manage in life. The gauntlet he has thrown down for any of us working in education is an important one: to start with “why” - this simple question has been instrumental for change since time immemorial.
Read more about Peter's work at: https://www.dipont.com/
You can watch a 2018 TEDX talk from Peter at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYRCEZsPtHU
This week I meet Nell Byron and Edith Johnson, former teachers who co-founded the organisation Be Her Lead. Their mission aims to empower women in teaching to build resilience and raise the aspirations of girls in their schools. They have run support and enrichment programmes that train other classroom teachers to lead bespoke programmes targeted at teenage girls. Nell and Edith began to champion the needs of the young women they had in their care, and saw themes that worried them in their context. I wanted to ask them about their journey to this point, and to understand what they had experienced that now made this equity-focused organisation their urgent mission.
Detractors may say that the focus needs to be on boys’ achievements as we nudge closer to gender pay equality and the achievement gap (measured in grades alone), but as Edith rightly points out, the mission for Be Her Lead is about raising confidence and raising aspirations, and increasing the breadth of aspiration. Just as boys can, and should be encouraged to pursue career paths if they wish, in areas that are seen as female-dominated, such as early years teaching and the arts, girls should be equally encouraged to join sectors that have been traditionally male-dominated such as technology and politics. In this way, both genders benefit from spaces being held for the goals and aspirations of each individual, whether male, female, or non-binary. No child should feel limited by their gender.
Noticing and naming the trend is a relatively recent development:
In 2015, the OECD published the ABC of Gender Equality in Education: Aptitude, Behaviour, Confidence. The report speaks of the growing attainment gap between girls and boys. Source: OECD (2015), The ABC of Gender Equality in Education: Aptitude, Behaviour, Confidence, PISA, OECD Publishing.
I wonder if programmes like Be Her Lead that offer camaraderie, support and networking opportunities for the participants and teachers delivering the program will help not just with confidence raising and aspirations of the girls, but also of the teachers themselves. If so, then they are desperately needed. Figures published last year by the UK’s national education union (source: https://neu.org.uk/policy/teacher-recruitment-and-retention) showed that one in 5 teachers wanted to leave the profession within two years. In other episodes on this podcast, voices like Claire and David Price and Tim Milner have all commented on a need to restore trust in teachers and pay attention to the scrutiny of the profession, as it drives young talent away soon after they are trained, as was the case for Nell and Edith. And we have to wonder, as we prepare to return to our post-COVID classrooms, what that means for the young teachers out there who are desperate for change to come.
Imagine Scholar, set up by Corey 10 years ago, is a not for profit programme, somewhere between a community based organisation, an after school programme and a university access programme. It serves a unique and personalised education to promising and motivated young people from disadvantaged communities in the Nkomazi district of South Africa.
Imagine Scholar has seen hundreds of talented young South Africans join universities at home and abroad, and go on to selective educational programmes around the world on full scholarships, but success at Imagine Scholar is celebrated in many forms and focuses on the individual's kindness to others, happiness and service in their community, rather than any traditional metrics: Corey is happy if his students leave the program making the best use of their "dynamic kindness".
Producing "dynamically kind" students is a claim many schools would like to make, but few programmes would celebrate success in so many forms. Imagine Scholar's metrics for their students' success is not only refreshing, it is radically needed. By allowing their students to escape the ritual sorting of skills and achievements that "regular" school can be for them, and by giving them the space and support to celebrate even the small successes, we see examples of his students extending kindness and exemplifying servant leadership with much further reaching impact.
Corey is a natural educator, yet someone who never trained in teaching, and perhaps that is why he also feels less constrained by traditional models to take leaps of faith. When talking to him I was reminded of the work of the legendary educator Ron Berger, one of the leading proponents of project based learning in the 1970s whose work continues today. Berger’s calm, encouraging manner in the classroom leads his students to take risks, extend themselves and be vulnerable, resulting in what he called “ world-class work”. Berger’s theory is that work class work is produced in settings where 1) there is a culture of respect and belonging, where students can be their true selves, 2) where work is meaningful and will make impact in the world, and where there is a real genuine audience. Berger lived in one small Massachusetts town and for 25 years taught at the same school, meaning that he taught almost everyone under the age of 50 in his town at some point. His nurse, his firefighter and his accountant are all former students. He says that he could care less about what their third grade scores were like, but what matters is did they learn the values of doing high-quality work with an ethical mindset?
Imagine Scholar has understood these simple values, and is proud of each of their students, whether they have travelled far and wide or stayed close to home, because the seeds of change they planted in their students have a knock-on effect in every community they join. And I’m reminded again, of Ron Berger’s little Massachusetts community of nurses, firefighters and plumbers who now could save his life one day, and the higher meaning of what education can be: helping those around us to do good work that you could trust with your life.
You can read more about the work of Imagine Scholar, or donate to support their program, by visiting imaginescholar.org/
This episode features Ben Fugill and Tim Milner: two educators who are friends, who are both working in atypical teaching and learning contexts, and who are both part of a group working to develop Auseras, a new kind of school that has pared everything back to two essential questions: what is school, and what should school be for?
I worked with Ben for two years at the residential United World College in San José, Costa Rica - he's the IB Coordinator and teaches Global Politics - and we became firm friends as we worked alongside one another and students from over 75 countries in a two year programme that went far beyond the usual academic profile of a school in favour of a holistic education that offers three pillars: academic, co-curricular and residential threads. My first introduction to Tim and the Auseras project therefore, came from Ben: and he was right in that the manifesto was something that instantly filled me with both a joy a curiosity about the project that made me want to know more. Auseras is a vision for a school that will challenge conventional thinking, facilitating self-directed learning, encouraging individual creativity and nurturing the development of the whole person.
This episode takes in so many different ideas that it’s hard to sum up with a nice soundbite, but the main themes are:
Things can (and must) be done with students at the heart of the design
Teachers need to be trusted to decide what their students need, and be given time to ask
The right learning environment will serve each student individually. This is an urgent need in post-COVID context.
Things need never go back to the way they were if they weren’t working for the teachers or the students. It’s up to all of us to decide what comes forward with us to the new normality.
It’s up to us as educators to align and join with others who share our values. Auseras is one group of motivated people working to make change, but there are many others, and if we consider ourselves lifelong learners then it’s up to us to start making enquiries. You can begin with learning more about Auseras at www.auseras.com, or by following Tim on twitter @auseras. You can read more from Ben at glopoib.wordpress.com or follow him on twitter @crproj3ct.
As a primary teacher Shira focused one week per year on learning about the brain. All “regular” learning stopped. No math, spelling, reading, etc. Students learned about the nervous system and its amazing capacity for change (Neuroplasticity). They also had daily speakers who had diverse brains. Shira wanted to build inclusion for her students with visible and invisible disabilities, and eventually saw kids with all sorts of exceptionalities become understood, and then invited to play. Little did she know that some years later she would have a daughter with an incredibly rare and severe neurological disorder. Now, with Grey Matters, she is expanding this program into as many schools as possible.
The idea of a curriculum that speaks to brain-based learning, based on research on neuroplasticity has been around for a few years already. We are seeing the advent of “Neuroeducation” - an interdisciplinary branch of neuroscience and pedagogy that will play a key role in the future of education, with curricula based not just on teaching subjects but on actually preparing brains for learning. This also supports research about bilingual learning, the role of music on cognitive function and Cognitive behavioural science that shows how emotions can change brain structure.
Shira, like many other educators I have met so far on this podcast, clearly saw a need for a piece that was missing from her educational context, and so she created it. I applaud her initiative, not just because she may well create a programme that will drive the Ontario curriculum forward by exposing a gap, but also because she is working to create a more equitable world for children like her own daughter, for whom their neurological differences makes it hard to have friends who understand their challenges.
Thinking about what Shira and I talked about with labels and diagnoses, I spoke to Sara Klingstedt of Relax Your Mind (https://relaxyourmind.co/), a Finnish clinical psychologist specialized in contextual behavioural science. Sara works with psychology in educational settings with a specialisation in higher ed, but also worked as a primary school psychologist in Finland. I asked her about what teachers can learn from her practices in “psychological flexibility”, or having a curious open and warm mindset- something that all of the educators I have met so far share.
If we start with that it seems, even in a place of uncertainty, we allow each child the space and care they deserve, special educational needs or not.
For more information on Grey Matters and the workshops Shira has created, or to reach out for collaboration, you can visit https://www.greymattersworkshops.com/
or on instagram @greymattersworkshops
This week I meet Mia Eskelund Pedersen, Co-Founder of Amala, formerly called Sky School - which has developed the first high school diploma for refugees and young persons who are displaced. In this episode, we learn about her inspiring journey to create a much-needed solution to one of the world’s problems using education as a force for unmistakeable change and opportunity.
Mia and Co-Founder Polly Akhurst conceived of Amala, a blended learning model working to provide high school diplomas and short courses in leadership and conflict resolution to displaced persons, whilst working for the International Office of the United World Colleges in London. If you’re as yet not familiar with the mission statement of the United World Colleges, they are a global education movement that makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.
Transformational education experiences create people who work to create change. As someone who worked within the United World Colleges movement, I seem to be drawn to changemakers who themselves have spent time within that system. Mia is one of those people. In this episode she explains how Amala took shape and its impact on the students who have undertaken courses with the organisation, as well as paying tribute to educators and organisations who have lent their support along the way.
In Part One of this podcast we met Clare and David Price OBE, as they delivered an educator workshop on Project-Based Learning at Hilltop Road primary school in Sydney. This bonus episode follows up in a more personal conversation with Clare and David, asking them about their favourite projects, what they have learned over the years about how to encourage collaboration and engage school communities for social good - and they leave us with some key advice for educators who want to try out more inquiry-based methods.
This Episode took me to Australia, where I met and interviewed husband and wife team David And Claire Price, whose organisation, Educational Arts, works with schools globally to transform engagement in learning, for students and teachers. Through leadership of the radical ‘ Learning Futures’ project, David and Clare have developed innovative approaches to transform engagement. Building on what works in schools in the UK, USA and Australia, they offer practical ‘how-to’ training programmes for school leaders and teachers. I was lucky enough to attend one at Hilltop Road Primary, a public school in Parramatta, Sydney, at the beginning of March this year.
I met David after reading his book, Open, and became obsessed with his idea that anyone with access to technology who is community-minded can change the world. He is known as a “Learning Futurist”, and he and Clare are uniquely committed to making sure that the future of education becomes a reality now.
Project Based Learning, when you start to talk about it , seems simple enough. It supposes that students who engage in a project that is personal to them that is shown to connect with real-world meaning, can be an immersive learning experience that builds student agency.
Audio credit: The introductory concepts of the 5 keys to Project Based Learning, was sourced from Edutopia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnzCGNnU_WM&list=PL10g2YT_ln2iMSdZgmrOMkvZ6xtSh8LBa&index=2&t=0s
This Episode took me to the newest member of the Green School, the second school of a growing group guided by sustainable practices, whose first site is in Bali. Private environmentally-conscious school groups such as Green School International are growing fast. Green School New Zealand opened in February, and there are two more planned to open in 2021 in South Africa and Mexico. An average day at these schools might include developing a renewable energy system to learning water safety skills while surfing. Traditional subjects are blended with enterprise and environmental studies.
The school’s futuristic looking teaching pods, or wakas sit on a idyllic 120-acre site the west coast of the north island of New Zealand.
It was here, in a café converted from a barn, where I met Chris Edwards, CEO, and Principal, Stuart MacAlpine. This was week two of the school being open, so I started out by asking Chris and Stuart how they’d found themselves here after several years of working together at the United World College in Singapore, and why they had chosen this particular kind of project to get stuck into.
The idea of trying to "do childhood properly" really stuck with me after this interview. Editing this during coronavirus lockdown in Spain, it seems utterly fitting that Stuart focused in on the phrase “you don’t know you’re ill until until you’re well”. Schools are having to undergo unprecedented change as we speak right now, with online learning now a necessity, major examinations cancelled and teachers and learners in real anxious flux.
However, those schools like Green School that have an eye on the well-being of students not only seem to be thinking about preparing young people better for the changing nature of the external environment and the world of work, they are going to be able to build resilience and adaptability in their learners. After all, if your school has co-created your learning with you, you might just end up better prepared for the slings and arrows of life.
I’m Kyra Kellawan, an international careers educator who over the past 15 years has worked in schools and universities in four countries. This is the PilotEd podcast: a series about how education is currently being rebooted.
All of the educators I meet on this podcast are “piloting” something – whether through innovation in teaching, creating new schools, assessing university applications differently, or driving technological changes in how learners and educators interact. I’ll be speaking throughout this series to trailblazers who have already shifted the concept of what education is, where it takes place, and who it is for, in their daily lives, in the hope that we can all learn a little from best practices across the sector.
For updates, please follow us on facebook or instagram @thepilotedpodcast, and get in touch with any ideas for future guests, questions or episodes that you'd like to hear. You can also reach us on twitter @thepiloted.