Time for Teachership

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86. A Personal Journey of Discovery with Collin Jewett

by Lindsay Lyons
September 20th 2022
In today's episode, we are talking with engineer, coach, author, and adventurer Collin Jewett about current educationa... More
Today I'm talking to Collins former miserable student now. Engineer, author coach and adventurer Colin Loves helping others rediscover the joy of learning and partner with their brains to unlock limitless memory, boundless creativity and unshakeable focus for reference. This conversation was recorded November 9, 2021 Let's dive in and hear from Colin educational justice coach, lindsey Lyons and here on the time for Teacher ship podcast we learn how to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice design curricula grounded in student voice and build capacity for shared leadership. I'm a former teacher leader turned instructional coach. I'm striving to live a life full of learning, running, baking, traveling and parenting because we can be rockstar educators and be full human beings if you're a principal assistant superintendent curriculum director instructional coach or teacher who enjoys nursing out about co creating curriculum with students. I made this show for you. Here we go, Call and do it.

Welcome to the time for Teacher ship podcast. What's up? I'm so happy to have you and I'm so excited to just dive right in. So I think the first big question that I usually ask us is of this idea that dr Bettina love talks about in terms of freedom dreaming. She describes it as dreams grounded in the critique of injustice. And so I always love starting with guests are just gonna get a picture of knowing that and having that frame in mind. What is the big dream that you hold for the field of education. Yeah, so I'll provide like a little bit of background on why I hold the perspective that I do might be helpful to listeners. Um so I'm an accelerated learning and memory coach. It's kind of a weird thing that many to many of us out there. Um, but I every day I get to work with people on figuring out how they learn best and some of the universal principles of how people learn in general, and then also like how do you, you know, partner with your unique brain, because everyone is a little different. Um and so that's kind of the perspective I take when I when I think about education and what should be about and where it should go.

And so the critical view I take of education and looking at that and thinking about what's this big dream for what it could be, I'm just looking about, like, what is the purpose of education and is it playing that purpose? Is it playing a different purposes? It being counterproductive, and especially from the angle of, of learning, like, is this actually how people learn or not, because if it's not, then we need to re examine what school is actually doing instead of helping people learn. Um, so to answer your question more directly, like my my big dream for education is, it's one that's it's flexible because I think the education system as a system needs to be able to change and respond as people change and respond. And so what I see it as is I think it should be something that serves the students or the people inside of it. And I actually think that the students should be the education system, not just be what they are right now, which is more of a product of the education system.

I love so much of what you said. That makes so much sense to really make sure that we're not like Product Izing students, I don't know if that's a word, but yeah, like it's absolutely how we're, how we're treating students right? We look at these outcomes in these quantitative data points and and thinking about, um, you know, students in this way that's very commodified and, and it's really interesting that you, you name that so I think that's really powerful to, to think about. And, and also I think you're speaking to a larger my that shift here around like we've done education in this very traditional way for so long. And so how do we wrap our minds around doing it a different way? Right. And so what are those shifts mentally that we need to make that will, you know, get educators or family members or leaders, you know, whoever it is to actually buy into that dream of not product Izing. I'm just totally making up this word. But yeah, and we were talking about this before we started recording the episode, I referenced the book for you to learn by Peter Gray, who I highly recommend all of his work, especially that book to to anybody who hasn't read it, but I think it shines a little bit of light on something you just said, we have this perspective now that the way that we do education is something that we've been doing for a really long time.

That's actually not really true in the context of like human history, it's actually been a very, very short amount of time that we've, we've done education like kind of like a factory, that's how it is designed and there's a reason for that. Like it actually comes from more of that industrial era and prior to that, but kind of the same kind of thinking of, we need people to fill certain roles in society and so we craft a system that can essentially mold them to fit those roles. We we were looking society is looking for a specific product, and school is tasked with the job of producing that product and it's played that role pretty pretty well from if you if you consider that to be a good goal for the past couple 100 years, but I would argue that at least in this point and probably earlier, but definitely at this point like that might not be our actual goal. And I think a lot of people, if they thought more critically about like what are we actually trying to accomplish with the education system, would realize that what we're doing right now is is probably not really aligned with that anymore.

I love that push to think more broadly beyond, you know, the last century or so of education, that is not how learning has happened. And I love that you you sent her a lot of of your work on learning specifically um beyond like this, you know, structured educational system, right? Like how do we learn is such a positive and and really like, curiosity inducing question, I think for me around, you know, what could this look like if we thought about learning and prioritize learning as opposed to cramming things into this particular system that we've had for, you know, a while, but like you said, not in the span of human history when we contextualize it in that way. So I love that that point that you made and I I appreciate making it as we think about what that actually looks like in practice. So, you know, people who are listening and are like, alright, yes, like let's do that, let's make this happen. What are the steps that you would recommend people taking around, you know, strategies or or practices that they can do with students or curriculum design or you know, what does that even look like in an educational space?

Yeah, so I'll take it from the angle which I have the the most clout on, which is like how do people actually learn? So, learning is I like to describe it as a personal journey of discovery. Uh and there's there's other ways to describe it that I think are also valid, but that's that's what I like, because I think it reflects really well on, okay, what what are we doing in school that is allowing people to have a personal journey of discovery and what are we doing that's actually preventing that, Because if we take that angle, we can start to see, okay, what are some actual practical changes we might think about making. Um So, for example, in school, uh, I like to use the term outsource because I think the way that school designed right now is very much, like I said, it's kind of like business or factory oriented, so kind of using that language makes sense. Um but if you look at the student and what they're trying to do, if they're trying to go on a personal journey of discovery, like what's standing in their way? Well, the way that schools are structured is pretty authoritarian. I mean, that's, that's not really might sound like a controversial thing to say, but it's really like, just from a technical aspect, like that's really how it's structured.

You have a very top down, um like command structure, hierarchy, and students are at the bottom of that hierarchy and they don't really have a voice, you might give, you might give them a student council position, but what do those really mean most of the time? Nothing really except for maybe what soda is stocked in the vending machine. Um and so I, I like to think of it like that way, like if I'm trying to go on a personal journey of Discovery and I'm in an authoritarian system that is really, really, really hard to do because a personal journey of discovery requires a lot of freedom of choice and that's not something that we get in the education system. Now, especially in the lower grades, you are told exactly what classes you're gonna take when you're gonna take them, how long you can spend on a certain subject each day, when you can talk, when you can go to the bathroom, like everything is decided for you and you don't get to have a voice in deciding the rules or how the system is structured. And so from a practical standpoint you can just think, alright well especially like within the context of America, I think this is especially surprising because you know, America is built on at least the idea that all people are created equal and we have this democratic society.

Okay, well how do you prepare people to live in a democratic society? I would argue that an authoritarian like upbringing is not the best way to prepare to be thriving citizen in a democratic society. Right. Um so yeah, I would, I would argue that if you really want to prepare people for that life or you want to give them the opportunity to learn, which means a personal journey of discovery, then you have to give them freedom of choice. They need to have a voice over what's what's going on. And if you're thinking like political terms, that would be called consent of the governed um which is something that people on both sides of the political aisle, even in America where it's so divided, tend to agree on consent of the governed. I mean that's kind of how this whole nation started. Um, so yeah, that's a that's a start. Where do you want to go from there? Such a good start. Oh my gosh, there's so many things I want to, I want to just highlight and lift up of what you said. So I love this idea of you know, learning being that personal journey of discovery and I think about this with you know, really young kids who haven't been indoctrinated into like the authoritarian system of school yet, right?

Where you're told what to do and I just I love this this speaking that you're doing to student voice and just kind of anecdotally, I've shared this on the podcast before, but you know, anecdotally from my own teaching experience in high school when I decided to do more student voice projects and one time I came in and I was like, all right, the rest of the semester, it was like like multiple months to go. We are learning whatever you want. You are designing your own unit. I called it to make it your own Unit unit. And they like students, I had like 90 something students. There were 90 something units going on. And it was a bit chaotic, but like a really interesting experiment because what I found is that many students, not all students, but many students were like, no miss, I know how school goes. You tell me what to do when I do it. What do you mean? I'll tell you what I want to learn about. I don't know how to do that. I've never been asked to do that. And it's really telling that in childhood and early childhood that is not a problem, right? Kids ask questions all the time. They're curious.

They have that that personal journey of discovery, as you said, no problem, part of just who they are and then it's kind of erased and eroded over time as they're in the authoritarian system. And so I just I really appreciate that that you're kind of naming and speaking to that phenomenon that I just like witnessed as a teacher. And then also I love that you're talking about on the student governance level. This idea of I was in high school and even in college, I was a student government like person, like I was like president of the student body and I was like, yeah, this is great. And and when I look as a teacher back on this, I'm like, I had no power, right? I had no power. I like designed prom like really, what is that like? And so I think it's really important that leaders and educators and family members and students themselves come to the table and are like, all right, these are the things that impact my learning. This is the way we grade at the school, this is the way we get to determine or co create what we're learning on a day to day basis. This is the way that I get to interact with my peers or my my colleagues and teachers and partners and learning and, and that's what matters, right?

Not some social event, which social events are great socialization is important, but I think that's really important that you're naming that, that we really need to be thoughtful about, what does it mean to share power with students and to what degree are we actually willing to do that beyond just paying it lip service. Um, I think that's a really important piece. Uh, and also, finally, I just want to name again that democratic society. I love what you I said, I just scribbled down notes. So just this idea of an authoritarian upbringing is not the best way to prepare for a democratic society. When we think about a lot of educational, like writers and scholars and theories that they're talking about the purpose of education as you spoke to at the start being that preparation to engage in civic society in a democratic society and when we take a step back and just dream big beyond what education has been like, I'm sure we would come up with a list of skills that we are not actively developing in students that are necessary for the broader world. We can see that in like the failures of our society at large right now to make productive decisions and and work together.

So I think just so much of what you just described is so beautiful. I'm curious to know this, this is a lot of times often very aspirational in our in our talking about it and so does it feel like this is doable? Like, you know what I mean? Like does it, does it feel like this is a doable thing, what might that look like in terms of, you know, like what roles does each individual play in terms of their connection to the education system and like where does, where do we start? We start with the curriculum? Do we start with student governance? Like is it doable? Is it just kind of aspirational dreaming, what are your thoughts on that? Yeah, that's a good question and I appreciate that you ask because it's easy to just to talk about like what IFs and fun stuff without actually doing anything. So I would say is it doable, Yes and no. Um I wish I could just say yes, but there's reasons, I would also say no, and I'd say it's, it's, I don't, I don't think it's practical to expect it in the current system.

So in other words, like this is one of the struggles I really have. Whenever I speak to teachers, I've been on some other podcasts and stuff. Whenever I'm speaking to teachers, it's painful because a lot of times the teachers are completely like, yes, like that's exactly what we want. The teachers are often like, some of the greatest advocates for the students, um, and they are teaching within a system that is not really supporting them in the way that they want to be supported. And so, you know, sometimes I feel like I'm preaching to the choir, but it's like, okay, what do we do about it? Like, where, where am I, where is, where is my voice in this whole system? Um and that's one of the reasons I'd say, like, since it is very authoritarian in the way it's structured and has been for the past couple 100 years and there's a lot of reasons why it's that way, I think it'd be really, really difficult um, to go within the system as it exists right now and to just transform it this way, because a lot of people have tried that before. It has, it's not like I'm presenting something that's totally new, It's been, it's been tried in different places, different times um, at a public school level, like, you can look back at new york, man, I'm going to get the history wrong on this, but um, they tried to implement like a lot more project based learning for a while and it was going really well until it wasn't, and like Gary indiana, there was, there was a push for that at one point and it was going really well until it wasn't.

Um, and so yeah, all that to say like, within the current system, I think it's very difficult. However, I can say yes. And the reason I can say yes is because it actually does exist already and it has existed for a while in a way that's really, really promising. Have you heard of the Sudbury Valley School? It's close to you, you're in massachusetts, right? Yeah, I know about Sudbury, but I don't know about the school. Tell me more. Okay. Um, yes, this is really exciting. I didn't know about this until I want to say a year, a year, year and a half ago and it totally blew my mind and You're in Boston, so you should go check this out. So Sudbury Sudbury Valley School has actually been around since I believe, 1968. It's been around for a while. So there have been people who have gone from, you know, that was their only school experience. And now there have been copycats all over the, all over the world, like there are there, they're small, but they exist. Um, and this school is democratic. So the Children from ages for, I guess not just Children, it goes all the way up to like age 20 or 22 or whatever.

All of them have a vote in everything. So who's teaching this year? Who are they, Who are the, who are the staff members? What do they get paid? Literally every decision that's made by the school, every student and every staff member has an equal vote. They can choose not to use it. I mean that's part of being in a democracy. You don't have to vote on issues. You don't care about. That's fine. But everybody has that opportunity. Um, the entire judicial system is decided by the students there. They run it. It's a completely democratic model. Um, and it works. That's the, that's the cool thing. That's why I can say yes. It's because it's been around for long enough. There's data on this. Um, so we have, there's a lot of students that have graduated and they've gone to the college of their choice ivy League schools become doctors. Um, there are a lot of students who become entrepreneurs artists and so these students are just going out in society and immediately failing. Like I think a lot of people expect that if you don't just do things the way we've done things for the past couple 100 years, people will fail. And that has just been shown by the data that it's just not true, there's, there is plenty of evidence now that you can run a school this way.

Oh, and by the way, I'll just throw this out there. There are no classes, There are no classes at the school. Um, the students show up and they can do whatever they want all day every day. Um, so that model, a lot of people like here that it just blows their mind. There's like no way that could work, there's no way people could function going to a school like that and become like functional members of society, but, and I would have sympathized with that perspective if this didn't exist, but it does and it has for a while and it's worked in many places in the world. So yeah, look it up. Sudbury Valley School. Super cool. That's my plug for it. That's amazing. Oh my gosh, I love a good, a good case study of a school that, that is, is really effective. But yeah, in my research on student ways, when I was in my PhD program, like I was just overwhelmed by the degree like degree of variance of types of schools and so yeah, the democrat, I had not heard about this one, but like the democratic schools as a type of school is for fascinating. The idea of no, no classes and the idea of like decision making being equitable and, and, and, and equal to an extent and then also equitable when we pull in an equity lens as well.

And I think it's so powerful to think about these case studies because if we don't have them, if we don't have this picture of what could potentially look like and oh wow, it was successful. So like, yeah, Really, what? Yeah, then we then we can't really get to this point of like, okay, what are the action steps? Like, let's get some momentum going because we do think it is just aspirational, oh, this is nice in theory, but, and so I really appreciate you naming that like this does work. It has, there are case studies we can look at. Um, and I also just really appreciate, I mean, my twin passions are really around student governance and like shared leadership and how do you make shared decisions at the school level? Perfect example that you just gave of having every student have a vote around the staffing and the pay and all these things and then also curriculum. So like, what are we literally learning and to have it really be student led to say that courses are not, you know, we don't do courses right? We have, I mean, I'm guessing here, but just from looking at other other schools who do something similar to know, courses. You know, we might have like these projects or these, um, you know, whatever they call them.

They call them different things in different schools, but like, it's actually not that way. Oh really? Okay. Can you tell me more about this then? Yeah, I can. So yeah, the students, they show up every day and they can do whatever they want. There aren't um there are no top down structured anything. So they don't say, hey, like we're going to offer this class, anyone who wants to sign up and sign up. Like that would be, I've heard of models like that. It's not that. So the staff members are not teachers per se. They keep the school running, they're there to just kind of make sure the lights stay on that kind of thing and keep it clean. Um No, but if a student wants to learn something, it's completely self directed. So they can ask one of the staff members, hey, I'd love to get like a more structured class on this and then they would form a contract between the staff member and the student. Anyone else who wants to be there, like, hey, all right, on this day, each week I'm going to share some stuff If you guys want to do homework, you figure out what the homework is or I can give you homework, there's no grades or anything.

Um But it's completely self directed at any point. If they're like, yeah, I don't really care about this anymore. I want to go and learn something else. Great, go do that. Um And so a lot of times what's happening, I visited one of these schools by the way, like I went in there and interviewed and like because I really wanted to dig into it and and yeah, I think the thing that the misconception that people have that makes this kind of model so difficult for people to wrap their heads around, like just this won't work. People are just gonna be sitting around doing nothing or playing video games all day, which they have the option to, they can do that if they want to. Um the misconception is that like, people don't want to learn that they actually want to just, you know, stay in their lane, don't learn anything new, just be comfortable and that's just not true. That's not how people operate. And in fact when you give like think about it this way, like when you let let kids play with a toy or or practice a specific sport or something, once they reach a certain skill level, they don't want to keep doing it the way they've always been doing it.

They instead they pursue the hardest path, not the easiest path. They pursue the hardest path. So like, well I can beat everyone around me at this game. Do they just want to stay there and keep beating people at the game forever. No, they want to go challenge themselves and play against who's the best person who's ever played this game. I want to go play them and see if I can win and that's how humans are wired, We're curious and we always, we want to grow, we desire growth and so we actually pursue the path of most resistance in things that we care about. Not the path the path of least resistance. And that's that misconception. That's why people think, I've heard the question multiple times like okay, what do you do in the case of unmotivated learners? Okay, there's a lot of assumptions under that. What do you mean by unmotivated learner? Well, somebody who doesn't want to learn what you're forcing them to learn, Well you're not forcing them to learn anything, so that's not the issue. They'll go pursue the things that they want to pursue and the evidence is in, I mean that's what people do, that there's so not just the school, but there's so much research to support this. Like people don't like just sitting and doing nothing all day. They will shock themselves if you put them in a room and give them nothing to do and there's like a device that will allow them to shock themselves even it's painful, they will shock themselves rather than sit there and do nothing.

So why do you expect them to do nothing if they have the opportunity to do whatever they want. Yeah, so well said and I think about, you know, this, this misconception really underlying a lot of things and we we have like these code words and education right? For for things like unmotivated or you know whatever it is, but really what we're talking about is like if we if we reframed that right? It's like an a motivational context, right? We are not creating a context with which it is easy to be excited about something right? When we're not giving those options. So I love that you framed it as like, right? Of course you're forcing them to learn something like, right? How do we question like you don't want to learn this exactly, like I'm telling you to learn it and exactly how you know, of course. Um so I think that's really important and I also, I love this idea. I would, I would love to um you know, teach into school where there were absolutely no grades. I think the compromise and just and for people listening who are like, I would love to teach at the Sudbury school and I just can't at this moment, I think there are a lot of things that in a perfect world like yeah, we we we go the Sudbury model right?

And we do that for the kids who are in front of you in this moment, given the context that you're, you're in. Um you know, I think there's so many things that are good stepping stones not come complete, not all the way there, but we could do tomorrow or you know in the next school year or something. Um personalized learning plans or P. L. P. S. Or something that I think like Vermont and maine and like a few different states have adopted statewide. Some schools are doing them. Um Thinking about like the ways that you can try to get rid of grades like by school when I was teaching we only graded the final assessments which were often co created with students and so it was still top down in the sense that we determined as to get credit for like new york state. Like giving us credit for the credit. You know we were like all right let's come up with these standards and let's come up with a rubric of like what does it look like to be proficient at? You know constructing an argument or something like this is a life skill like here's here's what the rubric is gonna be.

We're gonna have a panel of maybe teachers and maybe outside folks come in and actually like here the student present in whatever way they want. Um give them some feedback and like see how they do in A. Q. And A. Around this topic that they've chosen, pursued. So like there are some some ways that we can do that. I just don't want anyone to feel like exasperated by like I want to go work in the school and I can't so I'm going to stop listening now or I'm going to do nothing like there are so many ways that we can push the boundaries of like how do we do fewer grades? Like okay, like all of those like grades for class work and effort and attendance. Can we get rid of those? We can, we absolutely can. And I think that's often a larger whole school conversation and one that I encourage folks to have. Um but I love the kind of dreaming that you're encouraging us to to think about and do. Um and then as as people are kind of like wrapping up listening and thinking about the action they're gonna take. I'd love if you could give us like one next step, you know, like one thing that someone can go do tomorrow to really live in alignment with all these values that we're talking about right existing in a democratic society offering student voice and and really partnering with students in the learning process versus this authoritarian way of doing things, where would you say people should start?

It's such a hard question. It's a hard question to say. Like, how do you make a democracy breakout in an authoritarian structure like that. That's a really difficult question to ask. Um I would say. So this is something I actually learned from another podcast. I was on the the host told me this was like, oh, that's such a great fact, which is that when when polled students say that their favorite class was the class in which their favorite like with their favorite teacher. So it had nothing to do with the subject. It wasn't like math was consistent or anything. Like it was like that, it's the class with my favorite teacher. And so like think about that. It's if you're just trying to get kids to learn a specific, like chunk of information or specific skill, um you can try that doesn't work very well. Uh I could go on and on about why that doesn't work from like an actual um like learning and how the brain works, perspective.

But if you like form real bonds with your students and you ask them what they want and you listen to them and don't listen, trying to push them in a certain direction, but actually listen, that will go a long way because honestly, if, if they, if you're their favorite teacher, they will learn more in your class than any other class. Even if the subject originally wasn't interesting to them just because they like you and you have a relationship. So that's a start. And this is something I brought up on that show where actually learned that fact, which I loved. Um but a lot of times when we talk, when we talk to students and I remember this from when I was in school, it always felt like they were always telling me, hey, we're helping you to prepare for sometime in the future and the future was always super fuzzy. It was nebulous. I didn't even know what it was and they were telling me we're gonna help you prepare for it, we're gonna help you prepare for it. Just trust us, we're gonna help you prepare for it. It's like, okay, well you're helping me prepare for some future that may or may not exist that somebody else might have come up with, and I don't understand how what I'm doing right now helps me in the future that I want.

And so it's not just about asking a student like what do you want your future to look like way out there? Because that can be really hard, really hard question to answer, especially if you don't know yourself very well, which most people don't, especially when they're younger, but ask them what like, what do you want to do right now, what are you interested in right now today? Because today matters, it's not, you know, your whole life isn't just about tomorrow and if it is then you're never gonna get there like what matters today to you. Um and that's just a question we need to be asking more in general, and kids need the opportunity and the encouragement to think about because if man, it's just being a student and always thinking about this distant tomorrow and never knowing what it looks like. Makes it really hard to care about anything right now in the moment. Um so that's my encouragement. Hopefully that's not repeat advice from a bunch of other people. Um but at the same time, I kind of hope that's out there a lot too. Absolutely. It makes me think of a recent episode with students who they're like final answers to that question where like, you talk to your students, like ask your students, get to know your students and and and film form these relationships.

It's so important. And so I I appreciate, yeah, that it's all too rare, but also it is it is this growing trend, especially from students, but this is what they're looking for. Those deeper relationships. I think about like my first, I changed my major several times in college. My first major was totally a result of just a teacher that I liked, I went into business and marketing and I hated business and marketing. Like I just really like the high school teacher I had and so I think that speaks to, you know? Yeah, you can hate the subject to like as a teacher also encourage students like, hey, I know you really like this class. Um because we have fun in here, but also like think about what you're actually interested in from, like, what are you passionate about? What do you, what do you have fun doing? Not just who do you have fun talking to? Um Because yeah, like what you just said, you can just pursue something because it's like this was super fun, that one class I had with that one teacher who I really liked and maybe it's not actually a life calling. That's another reason to ask them like what is important to you today right now and get them to try it out.

And I know we're kind of running over time here, but 11 extra thing with that is like if you don't challenge students or you don't give them the opportunity to think about that, they will have, will have some idea of it that will never get tested. So they'll have this hypothesis that will never get tested. And that's, that's the situation you see all the time with people like yourself changing majors. They have this hypothesis hypothesis of like here's something I kind of think I'd like to do and they never get to test it until they get to college and then they pick that as their major and they realize I actually hate this. And because they never had the opportunity to ask that question and test the hypothesis, they didn't figure it out when it would have been a lot easier to make a bigger, you know, change and try some other things out first rather than switching majors seven times and spending a whole bunch of money on a, on a college career that doesn't really help them in the life that they want such powerful advice. I love the idea of testing and that could be like, I just think about what a lot of students actually chose to do for my make your own unit was like, oh I'm really interested in interior design and so I'm gonna interview some interior designers and learn and came away being like I hate interior design.

Like there are all these pieces that I didn't realize was like most of your job and I don't like those. I just like you know, matching colors together, something like okay well where else can you play with color and and do that and like there's so much learning to be had there. I also really appreciate that you're naming this future thing. So my biggest frustration with student leadership the way we talk about it historically and traditionally is definitely like we're preparing student leaders because they're going to be the leaders of the future and it's like well they could lead right now. They are leaders in their, in their spaces and they can be even more leaders more like leaders if we enable them to be and we create spaces where we're sharing decision making about really important things. Um I also think on a curriculum level, right, current events are happening all around us and there are moments where we can't be expected to carry on as you, this is the curriculum I wrote today when this major thing is happening and all my kids are you know crying or angry or whatever and it's like we gotta, we gotta ask what matters to kids in this moment like you said for a variety of reasons and one just being like, we're never going to get anywhere if we ignore like their passions and desires and all of these things.

So so many good things that you said as we wrap up, one of the final questions I just really love asking is something that you have been learning about lately. So everyone who's on the podcast, I feel like is like a self described lifelong learner, they're passionate about their personal growth and I'm curious to know what has been something you've been learning about. Uh, that's a lot of stuff. Um, I mean like on just a really granular level, I recently got licensed as a financial advisor, so I've been learning about that stuff. Uh, I'm constantly learning. So like I mentioned that book free to Learn. Um I also mentioned the Sudbury Valley School. The Sudbury Valley School has its own publishing, little branch and so they have a ton of books, which is where I got some of this information, like the studies that have been and they've done studies on their alumni because they know how controversial and crazy what they're doing is even though it shouldn't be. So I've been reading through those books like crazy. Um, one of the books I read recently, another one that I highly recommend, I think it outlines the problem and like actual solutions really, really well on the education system is it's called turning learning right side up one of the authors is the founder of that school, and the other one was another professor and somebody who speaks on education a lot.

Um that book was fantastic. There's a couple things in there I kind of disagreed with, that's totally okay. I mean there was a lot of really good stuff, so I would encourage people to check that out and uh I've also been teaching guitar lessons lately, which has been super fun, so I get to jump back into music theory, which I haven't like thought about in a while. But yeah, there's some random stuff I've been thinking about that is amazing. Oh my gosh, so many such diversity of learning right from music to education theory, like all these things, awesome. Um I want to make sure that you you have a space to to kind of close out with anything that that you want to say, and then I'll ask you to end with just, you know, where can people learn more about you and connect with you? But are there anything is there anything that you wanted to say that you didn't get a chance to say in the podcast already. So, I bring this up a lot when I, this is kind of a different venue than I usually audience, I usually speak to, which is great. I'm usually talking more about like how you learn faster and like learning techniques and that kind of thing. Um but something I can bring over from that side to think about is that uh learning starts with curiosity and people hear that and they're like, okay, great, it starts with curiosity whatever, but they don't realize the practical, tangible meaning of that, which is that if you're not asking questions, you are not learning and you won't learn or you're learning will be inhibited or it will be slow or you'll go the wrong direction.

Like people, especially adults and I know this because I work with people one on one all the time, they forget to ask questions, they just stop doing it and they don't realize it's happened until you like, bring it up. Like what questions have you asked or thought about today? Like what I haven't thought of any questions, like should I be asking questions like yes, yes, you should. That's how learning works. And I think that also goes to our conversation about students. Like a lot of times students have been taught not to ask questions and it's no wonder that they're learning suffers as a result. It's like if you don't have questions, this no reason to seek out any new information about the world, what for what's the purpose? So ask relentlessly. I love that advice. That is so good. I'm glad that you got that in there, because I think that's such an important thing for us as leaders and and adults as well to make sure that we're asking regularly is what questions that I have today. Such a good question. Um, and where can people learn more about you if they're interested in connecting or following you on social media or something?

Like where do they go? Okay, so I have stuff everywhere and I'm always like nervous about just spraying a bunch of links out there because I don't think like if people are listening, they're not going to click on something. Um, but if you just type in my name, calling, do it online, you'll find me on a bunch of podcasts, you'll see my books, you'll see the course I teach. There's a bunch of other stuff if you're interested specifically in leveling up your own learning, especially as a teacher, if you want to like get other ways you can help your students learn and understand how learning really works, which is something that's just not well understood by most people, even teachers I know, I know because I've worked with teachers a lot on this kind of thing. Um, I teach a course on maven dot com, It's called discover your inner super learner. You can go to that landing page, you can see what it's all about. And um yeah, it's just digging into, okay, like how do people's brains work and how are they different from each other and how can we take advantage of of those differences and how does learning work generally and how can we take advantage of that. So it's really deep dive on that stuff and honestly, I don't, I don't want to put my own horn too much.

But like I don't know that there's another course out there that I've been able to find that that digs into this on the level that we do. So it's pretty unique. It's cohort based, it's alive. So we like actually interact. It's not just like some videos that you watch. Um, it's super fun. You get to interact with super cool people and learn some really good stuff. That is fantastic. I'm so glad that you named that. And so we'll drop those links if you're driving or something or going for a rent and listening to this will drive those links in the show notes. You can always come back and then click on to them later, Colin Thank you so much for this conversation. Today has been really not only educational for me. Just inspiring as well. Thanks. It's been super fun Lindsay. Thanks for having me. If you're leaving this episode, wanting more, you're going to love my live coaching intensive curriculum bootcamp. I help one department or grade team create feminist anti racist curricula that challenges affirms and inspires all students. We leave current events into course content and amplify student voices, which skyrockets engagement and academic achievement. It energizes educators feeling burns out and it's just two days plus you can reuse the same process any time you create a new unit, which saves time and money.

If you can't wait to bring this to your staff, I'm inviting you to sign up for a 20 minute call with me, grab a spot on my calendar at www dot lindsey beth Lyons dot com slash contact. Until next time leaders continue to think big act brave and be your best self. This podcast is a proud member of the Teach Better podcast network, better today, better tomorrow and the podcast to get you there, explore more podcasts at teach better dot com slash podcasts and we'll see you at the next episode.

86. A Personal Journey of Discovery with Collin Jewett
86. A Personal Journey of Discovery with Collin Jewett
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