It’s so much easier to motivate kids when you, the educator, have choices and the flexibility to teach to the students rather than the test. And when you can craft learning experiences around student passions. But in a traditional school setting, this is a much more difficult endeavor.
Though this week’s guest on the Education Evolution podcast was the founder and director of the micro-school Puget Sound Community School for 24 years. Andy Smallman is passionate about ensuring that all children have the opportunity to learn. There he was able to empower teachers and students alike and allow his students to grow to love learning.
Find out more about how Andy was able to facilitate learner-centered learning, where his efforts to promote kindness came from, and how teachers can truly engage students with one simple action every day.
About Andy Smallman
Andy Smallman is the visionary and founding director of the Puget Sound Community School, an independent school in Seattle for students in grades 6-12 that helps them build on their strengths and nurtures their intrinsic motivation. Along with the mentoring work he’s done over the years with adolescents, Andy is known for his efforts to promote kindness, has been the officiant at numerous weddings, has facilitated evening & weekend workshops for adults, and is regularly sought out for counsel. In everything he does, Andy helps people see the awe both inside and around them.
Jump Through the Conversation
[2:18] Example of engaged, interdisciplinary learning (radio/art/writing)
[4:52] How to motivate kids when you’re in a more traditional school setting
[7:07] Steps a traditional classroom teacher can take to create this agency
[8:04] How to share your experience as a teacher
[9:27] Learning to “sense and respond”
[10:43] Learning as a life process vs a checklist
[11:50] Teaching kindness
[15:22] How parents can help motivate kids
[16:48] Andy’s Magic Wand: Within themselves, students are okay. Educators need to create and maintain learning environments that don’t damage a child’s psyche! How do we help people know they are whole now?
What motivates kids? How can we help them have voices to tell us and choices to make their learning personally relevant and motivating? (That’s agency.)
Sense and respond–listening to what resonates and responding from that place instead of a pre-planned lesson
Can we honestly say our schools help kids know they are whole and don’t damage their psyches?
For show notes and more, go to https://educationevolution.org/10