“Centering Teaching by Design”: A Conversation with Michael Nachbar

This week’s Inspire & Innovate Podcast features guest, Michael Nachbar, 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.  If you’ve ever wanted to get inside the brain of a teacher planning learning experiences, you are going to seriously enjoy this episode.

Enjoy this video excerpt to get a sense of the themes Michael introduces in the full podcast.

During our conversation, we discussed: 

  • How Michael’s background and experiences in curriculum led him to the work he does now…and how incredible teachers re-thinking their craft helped GOA get its start ( 2:30-12:04)
  • GOA’s “northstar” mission and approach to coaching educators, helping leaders in the Design Lab,  and providing deep learning of the skills students need to be successful in college, career, and life ( 14:00-18:51)
  • The mindshift of being deliberate in the outcomes you want to see and designing intentional learning experiences for students (18:52-22:00)
  • Teacher wellness and how it applies to having a varied approach to providing student feedback (22:10-25:10)
  • Keeping relationships and communication at the center of student experiences during asynchronous learning (25:12-29:49)
  • Challenges teachers faced this last school year due to constraints they had to navigate and how “necessity can drive innovation in a big way” (29:50-33:25)
  • Articulating your northstar and designing learning experiences to match that (33:26-35:00)
  • Focusing on equity and justice, and as teachers, being aware of students’ unique experiences with empathy and compassion…and rethinking what we teach and how we assess to be more culturally relevant (36:15-39:18)
  • Helping parents and guardians understand the how and the why behind what we do (39:20-40:30)
  • Michael’s predictions he made a year and a half ago about educator competencies and the need to continue “upscaling”…and a focus on supporting teachers’ health and wellbeing (40:30-45:30)
  • Aspects of teachers’ work that are rejuvenating and reenergizing and lowering the cognitive load (45:30-49:50)
  • What “getting back to normal” looks like and how we will navigate the return to “normal” with virtual components moving forward (50:25-55:08)
  • Michael discusses his favorite teacher (55:18-57:20)
  • The book that Michael Nachbar thinks all educators should read (57:25-58:35)

Want some help digesting the important themes Michael raises?  Remember that our companion podcast, Teacher Talks, is always there to help!  This week I interview four inspiring  upper school faculty members: Nancy Rivas (Spanish teacher), Wesley Saylor (French teacher), and Gracie Bellnap (science teacher ).  They keep it real about this challenging past year while also laying down some serious wisdom. 

Feeling ready for summer? Next Tuesday we feature our final podcast of the season with Tim Fish. It’s a finale that is pretty grand, so don’t miss it.

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