The i2 (Inspire & Innovate) blog has highlighted the ideas and experiences of faculty at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School ideas since August 2019. Today we are excited to launch Inspire & Innovate: A Podcast for Educators. In our first twelve episode series, we explore the nuances of teaching and learning during this challenging past year of teaching during a global pandemic, asking tough questions about what we have learned and how we are healing. We speak to six thought leaders across the globe as well as educators across our hallways to get a sense of what is next in education. While our podcast title indicates that the podcast is for teachers, we believe that anyone that values education would find much of interest in our featured conversations.
This week, we release our first interview, “Centering Students” with John Spencer, best-selling author of Launch and Vintage Innovation which features cutting edge ideas around fostering active learning experiences for students of all ages.
Highlights from our conversation with John Spencer include:
- How working in the nonprofit sector unexpectedly led John Spencer into the field of education (2:50-4:55)
- The “deeply human drive to learn and to create, to make . . . whether it’s kindergarteners or graduate students and . . the common fears we all experience.” (5:20- 5:50)
- What “failing forward” has looked and felt like for those teaching during a pandemic . . . and how relevant the “hero’s journey” might be for all of us right now. (6:01-8:35)
- How important it is that a school’s culture, systems, and leadership allow for growth via mistakes; “you’ve got to provide slack to develop grit.” ; try out “the daily epic fail” in your classroom! (8:35-14:30)
- Why grace matters this year, not just for students but also for faculty. Try this: make a t-chart of all of the permissions you’ve given to students and then do the same thing for yourself . . . and think back to how far you’ve come since March 2020. (18:20-22:40)
- How teaching is like weight training, and how to determine whether we need more reps or a season of rest/healing as we move into the 2021-2022 school year. (23:00-24:30)
- What have our students lost . . . and gained this past year (24:30 -25:52)
- How it has been simultaneously more challenging and easier to incorporate design-based thinking, project-based, LAUNCH processes in virtual or hybrid classes this past year (26:35-29:52)
- For those new to more student-centered approaches, how to incorporate some of these principles into our more traditional pedagogies in a low-risk gradual way. . . and why this is the perfect time to try them out! (30:20-32:35)
- What will “come back” in our teaching practice as we return to more in-person experiences . . . gardens, socratic seminars, cardboard prototyping, all mashed up with digital tools as well! (e.g. Vintage Innovation) (32:55- 34:32)
- Why we should all be asking ourselves: “What are the things that we did differently this past year that we will continue to incorporate?” (37:12-37:37)
- What book(s) John Spencer would recommend all teachers read (40:40- 41:16)
We also release a companion podcast, “Teacher Talks,” in which teachers in our St. Andrew’s community (this week fourth grade teacher Anna Frame and upper school English teacher Matt Luter) discuss how their teaching mirrors the themes that came up in Spencer’s interview: making space for experimentation and centering students.
Both podcasts feature real talk about how the pandemic has impacted our daily lives as well as real inspiration about how to emerge out of this moment with tools to up our game in the classroom.
You know you are excited about this series. Make sure you don’t miss a beat by subscribing . . . . And make sure you stay tuned, because next week, we will share our conversation with Ian Symmonds: author, speaker, ed-activist, and strategist.