If you had the opportunity to step away from your day-to-day life for six weeks, what would you do with that time? Where would you go? And what lessons would you bring back with you, when the time came to return to your daily routine? In the Season 5 finale, school leader Briel Schmitz reflects on her sabbatical journey along the Camino de Santiago in Europe, and how taking that time away from work has influenced her whole school community.
Briel talks with host Tim Fish about the unique experience they share: Each of them embarked upon a sabbatical to walk the 500-mile Camino de Santiago in the fall of 2023. Although they didn’t take the journey together, they definitely walked the same path, as Tim says. Both returned with new thoughts on lifelong learning, productive struggle, and leadership that will inform their outlook on education going forward. Understanding what it’s like to take the risks we ask of students each day, growing and learning along the path, and enduring discomfort to eventually achieve the desired result all resonated with both Briel and Tim during their Camino journeys. They also share reflections on the lessons of simplicity and community gained on the 500-mile walk, and how those ideas can both inform and transform the way we plan for the future of our schools.
In an age of educator burnout and high turnover rates, what keeps veteran teachers motivated to stay in the classroom? This episode explores how rapidly changing technologies have provided a constant source of inspiration and innovation for two educators. Howard Levin and Stacey Roshan have transformed their practice through exploring the opportunities technology provides to teachers and learners.
Howard and Stacey join host Tim Fish to talk about how, after beginning as classroom teachers in the fields of social studies and mathematics, each found a new path forward in educational technology. Levin is the director of technology at San Francisco University High School (CA). Roshan is an educator, speaker, edtech consultant, and author of Tech with Heart: Leveraging Technology to Empower Student Voice, Ease Anxiety, & Create Compassionate Classrooms.Both Howard and Stacey emphasize that their embrace of technology has come through the realization that the entire dynamic of teaching and learning is changing rapidly. And despite their continued enthusiasm for the opportunities technology presents to educators, both Howard and Stacey speak to the challenges that are holding schools back from fully embracing what tech has to offer.
We’re accustomed to thinking of anxiety as something undesirable. But what if anxiety could actually be an effective tool, teaching us how to take appropriate risks, manage setbacks, and build resilience? That’s the premise of Tracy Dennis-Tiwary’s book Future Tense: Why Anxiety is Good for You Even Though it Feels Bad.
Tracy joins host Tim Fish to discuss her research on the benefits of anxiety and the lessons it can teach us. Tracy begins by clarifying that anxiety as a feeling is separate from anxiety disorders, which are health issues and should be treated seriously. But, she cautions, in our desire to exercise caution around diagnosable mental health issues, we often go too far in trying to help students avoid any feeling of anxiety.
Reframing non-clinical anxiety as an emotion that helps us to forecast the future, Tracy explains that the uncertainty that underlies anxiety can be a powerful tool. It pushes us to envision potential scenarios, plan for different outcomes, and stay mentally and physically alert going into important events. In short, anxiety reminds us of what we care about, where we want our effort to go, and what we need to do to work toward the best possible outcomes.
In an unpredictable and fast-changing world, does designing school for future-ready minds mean embracing every technological innovation and new idea that comes our way? Or are there lessons from the past that may still be relevant? Doctor, researcher, and author Shimi Kang has the neuroscientific evidence to help educators decide.
Kang returns to New View EDU to talk with host Tim Fish about her latest areas of focus, and how understanding the wisdom contained in our bodies can help us navigate technology in the classroom. To begin with, Shimi points out that while we may believe we have one brain, our neurocognitive processes occur throughout our bodies. She introduces the concept of educating for three brains: the gut, heart, and head.
Understanding the needs of each of these unique “brains” can lead to powerful changes in the way we design schools for learning and social-emotional well-being. But, Shimi says, those changes don’t necessarily have to follow the path of the latest and greatest innovations. While she encourages educators to use technology in robust and exciting ways to advance student learning, she discourages schools from allowing technology use outside of dedicated learning time. Instead, she argues, we should be returning to practices that allow us to tune into the human experience without digital enhancements.
We have more opportunities to learn and grow as part of a global network than ever before. But in a sea of technological solutions, what stands out most as the core of building those networks? Humanity. That’s what our guest leans into every day with his work as executive director of Global Online Academy.
Michael Nachbar joins host Tim Fish for an episode about creating teams, networks, and learning environments that leverage human connections in a tech-enhanced world. Beginning with his origins in Teach for America, Michael tells the story of finding a passion and then teaming up with other passionate people whose purpose is to help others shine.
Building on the idea that the key to creating a successful team is hiring for “good people,” Michael shares his thoughts on trends in education and how returning to humanity as a core concept can strengthen educators’ work. He talks about the push for “more” in education, and how building strong networks that honor the collective can help reduce stress and strengthen student connections. Michael also digs into the topic of teacher hiring and training, envisioning practices that transform the idea of competency-based learning for students into competency-based training for teachers. Hiring the “good people” you want on your team, then helping them grow in the skills and competencies that define education in your school environment, is one possible avenue toward attracting and retaining passionate, dedicated educators.
When you think of the term “blended learning,” do you think of a hybrid or remote learning plan, perhaps in a format that became familiar during the COVID-19 pandemic? That’s the impression many educators and school leaders have of blended learning, but as our guest’s work demonstrates, blended learning is so much more than just splitting education into “onscreen” and “in person.” It may, in fact, be the solution we need to prepare our classrooms for the future.
Catlin R. Tucker joins host Tim Fish for a deep discussion of what blended learning truly is (and is not), what opportunities it provides to shift the balance of responsibility in our schools, and how to enact it in a thoughtful, nuanced, and even joyful way. From the beginning of the conversation, Catlin defines blended learning as “active, engaged learning online, combined with active, engaged learning offline, with the goal of giving students more control over the time, the place, the pace, and the path of their learning.” Within that definition, she says, there are many possible paths but all of them must involve student agency. Catlin argues that blended learning can actually improve the workload for teachers and make teaching a more enjoyable and sustainable profession.