New View EDU Episode 46: Educating for a Globally Networked Society

Available October 24, 2023

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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 Michael Nachbar leans into every day with his work at Global Online Academy.

Michael NachbarMichael 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.

Reflecting that conversations about radically changing education over the past few years were premature and confusing because of the pandemic’s long-ranging effects, Michael and Tim come up with key questions that may help schools have more of those discussions now. Some of their ideas include:

  • “How have our students been able to deeply network with one another and with others outside of our school community?”
  • “How has everyone within our community—students, staff, parents—learned and grown, and how have we demonstrated that learning?”
  • “How have I been a good member of this community?”

Those questions, Michael and Tim agree, are part of a larger need to understand what stories we tell about our schools, what those stories demonstrate about our communities, and how we can grow and change our narratives to be more reflective of what we want for our students. The stories we tell, they say, highlight our passions—what we’re “obsessed with” as educators. Equally, they should highlight how we’re helping students find their own passions or purpose in the world, through development of curiosity and agency. And to create that agency, we must first create communities of trust and relationships. We must build networks that allow for discovery and failure. And that requires putting humanity at the center of our work.

Key Questions

Some of the key questions Tim and Michael explore in this episode include:

  • What are some of the global trends in education right now? What’s exciting, and what’s worrying?
  • What lessons can you impart on leadership and governance, in light of your work building global networks in education?
  • What big-picture questions should school leaders be asking right now, as they seek to plan for the future?
  • What are some of the lessons you took away from your time in the Seth Godin AltMBA program, and how can they be applied to schools?

Episode Highlights

  • Imagine that you are competing, but to support that person so that they can shine and do the best that they can and what that says about the other people in the room.” (8:08)
  • “We've seen an explosion over the past few years in competency-based learning, right? Thinking about mindsets and skills for students. I think we're hearing and seeing schools doing that for faculty now … thinking about what are the mindsets and skill sets that teachers need to be practicing, demonstrating and learning while they're employees at a particular school. … Imagine the conversation that you're interviewing for a job at a school, and the school is saying, teachers here practice these skills all the time, and we will help you develop those while you're employed here.” (12:09)
  • “That drives so much for me of what I hope for kids, getting kids to be passionate about something. And there's so many things that they feel like they have to do that it's part of a puzzle that they need to solve rather than taking classes and having access to courses and topics that light them up and excite them and get them interested in learning and curious.” (22:57)
  • “What's school going to look like in the future? What are we going to concentrate on? In many ways, it emphasizes that social-emotional learning aspect of school, right? The relationship piece. Understanding different perspectives, working with other people, developing a sense of empathy and care, exhibiting care for others. I think that's a huge piece of what we're going to need.” (27:56)

Resource List

Full Transcript

  • Read the full transcript here.

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About Our Guest

Michael Nachbar is the executive director of Global Online Academy, a pioneering network of schools and educators reimagining learning to empower students and educators to thrive in a globally networked society.

Nachbar is a frequent speaker and workshop facilitator at national and international conferences, and presents on such topics as educational trends impacting schools, modern teaching and learning, and global education. He is an active board member for several education organizations, including the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and Lakeside School (WA). He has also served as a board member of the Mastery Transcript Consortium, Independent School Association Network (ISAnet), Jump! Foundation, and Summer Search.

He holds bachelor’s degrees in English and psychology from Indiana University, and he earned a master’s in education leadership through the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College. He began his teaching career as a Teach For America corps member.