Podcast Drop: “Centering Relationships,” Featuring Ian Symmonds

Inspire & Innovate: A Podcast for Educators is excited to release our second set of episodes about this unique moment in the education landscape featuring the ideas and expertise of consultant, author, and ed-activist, Ian Symmonds. Ian’s experience in senior positions such as executive director and dean spans over 30 years, and he has worked in independent schools, boarding schools, traditional undergraduate colleges, graduate schools, and adult learning programs.  Ian is committed to education’s role in building communities, transforming people, and solving social issues.  See below for the full podcast.

Highlights from our conversation with Ian Symmonds include:

  • Why would we hang on to a model of education that is so stuck in the past? (5:15-6:05)
  • Three characteristics of schools who’ve positioned themselves to be innovative and forward-thinking, meeting the ever-changing needs of society. (6:45-10:43)
  • Schools working together for change collaboratively rather than competitively (10:45-11:42)
  • Three seasons or trimesters of the pandemic (13:20-16:40)
  • Key components classroom teachers should carry forward as we emerge from this pandemic: relational learning and using technology to personalize education rather than access education (16:40-19:36)
  • Building authentic connection with community around schools that expands past families we serve; how Sesame Street got a lot right (20:15-24:50)
  • Redefining what community means (24:55-25:54)
  • Ian’s Just Cause campaign and wisdom from Bono: “Helping someone reach their potential is the biggest act of love.”  (25:55-29:30)
  • Reimagining highschool graduation requirements and changes in college and university admissions; “We are in the business of helping kids discern their future.” (31:30-35:50)  
  • Examples of innovative ideas in schools and the classroom: institutionalizing the use of outdoor spaces & increased parental involvement via community events (36:30-39:20)
  • Why teachers are better aware of the “kitchen table conversations” these days and how this relates to game changers in student wellness  (39:20- 40:55)
  • “Transparency is the best thing”: How virtual learning counterintuitively has given us more transparency, making things more natural between one another and promoting our awareness for student wellness (42:25-43:55) 
  • Ian shares who his favorite teacher (K-12) was and why. (44:10-46:10)
  • What book(s) Ian Symmonds would recommend all teachers read (46:18-48:20)

Don’t forget to also tune in to our Teacher Talks companion podcast in which Toby Lowe interviews Virginia Buchanan, Emmi Sprayberry, and Nicole Robinson about how these themes of relational learning, creative classroom spaces, and community outreach show up in their classrooms!  

Also- you might as well start getting excited for next week’s release of our inspiring interview with visionary leader (and somehow also full-time teacher!)  at Slate School . . . Julie Mountcastle.  See you in a week!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: