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Experience Matters with Steve Shapiro
34 minutes | Jul 26, 2022
Episode 15- Teenage Takeover with Sam Levin
Teenage Takeover with Sam Levin Today Sam Levin is the 29-year-old Oxford PhD CEO of a biotech company. Thirteen years ago he was a high school junior exasperated at his friends’ disengagement and unhappiness at school. So he did something about it! Now students, teachers, and parents are taking note of his bold vision. We cover a lot of territory including: 3:11 The seeds of Sam’s discontent with school 4:28 Sam’s mom puts forth a challenge 5:11 A community garden reveals that teens can love learning and hard work 6:34 How teachers unfairly label students 8:46 Sam’s vision for a student-run school meets resistance 10:37 The teacher that shattered Sam’s illusions 12:04 The remarkable vision of the Independent Project 13:39 Parents' fears about the Independent Project 14:15 The relationship between pedagogy and tracking/ability grouping 15:40 The foundational reasons we should stop tracking kids 16:58 The remarkable design of the Independent Project 19:07 Every student creates an “individual endeavor” around a passion 19:39 Getting into college 20:29 A “collective endeavor” to promote powerful collaboration 21:32 Practicing 21st century skills 22:50 The life-changing impact of the Independent Project 25:17 De-orientation to break bad school habits 26:30 Sam’s PhD. and the creation of Melonfrost 28:04 How the Independent Project planted the seeds for Sam’s CEO success 30:02 Sam’s advice to educators 31:30 Steve poses a thought experiment Independent Project documentary (14 minutes)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RElUmGI5gLc Sam and his mom’s book about the Independent Project https://thenewpress.com/books/school-of-our-own Sam’s biotech company- Melonfrost https://www.melonfrost.com If you liked this podcast, here are some other episodes you can check out: A portrait of an exhausted, dispirited high school student: https://www.steventshapiro.com/experiencematters/a-letter-to-my-younger-self-with-emmy-huefner A mini version of the Independent Project for middle school students: https://www.steventshapiro.com/experiencematters/suzannegoldsmithhirsch Harvard thought-leader on 21st century learning Tony Wagner on why our kids need schools like the independent project: https://www.steventshapiro.com/experiencematters/tuned-in-to-the-future-with-tony-wagner NYTimes bestselling author Daniel Pink on how autonomous learning transformed his brain: https://www.steventshapiro.com/experiencematters/the-epiphany-with-daniel-pink About Experience Matters Experience Matters with Steve Shapiro invites guests to reflect on the most profound learning experiences of their youth and to consider how we can reform American schools. Each episode provides clues about how parents and educators alike can engage young people in powerful, sometimes transformational experiential learning. Education can take many forms, but whatever form it takes- experience matters.
34 minutes | Jun 1, 2022
Episode 14: "Tuned In" to the Future with Tony Wagner
“Tuned In” to the Future with Tony Wagner A surprise package arrived at 11-year-old Tony Wagner’s house that permanently impacted his understanding of learning. Decades later, after a career that included twenty years of thought leadership at Harvard University and multiple best-selling books on school reform, Wagner connects the dots to the essential 21st century skills our schools are missing. Tony Wagner is one of the nation’s leading educational reformers. His books · The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need- And What We Can Do About It · Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World · Most Likely To Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era make the case for modernizing schools to focus on innovation and creative problem-solving skills. In our conversation he shares the learning experiences that shaped him and the challenges that our schools face as they try to prepare young people for a rapidly changing world. We cover a lot of territory including: 3:15 The experience that forever changed 11-year-old Tony 6:50 Persistence creates a EUREKA moment! 8:15 Failure---Persistence---Curiosity---Learning 9:50 The genesis of Tony’s writing career 11:35 Tony’s writing teacher who wasn’t really his teacher 13:38 The piece of classic literature that provided Tony’s “a-ha moment” 15:15 The difference between Tony and Daniel Pink as students 17:10 Reflecting on Ted Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools reform movement 19:58 The destructive impact of standardized testing 20:35 The stunning insights from conversations with business and military leaders 22:25 How schools kill innovation thinking 24:38 Why innovation and creative problem solving are so essential 26:17 A simple suggestion for teachers to nurture creativity 28:18 The tremendous damage of the accountability movement 30:43 The future of schools and the need for business leaders to speak out 32:40 Play, Passion, and Purpose Tony Wagner’s Website: https://www.tonywagner.com Tony’s Books: https://www.tonywagner.com/books My favorite Tony Wagner quotes (discussed at 22:16) · "Not only are we not developing and cultivating creative geniuses in our schools, we may actually be doing the opposite." · "The culture of schooling is radically at odds with the culture of learning that creates innovators." About Experience Matters Experience Matters with Steve Shapiro invites guests to reflect on the most profound learning experiences of their youth and to consider how we can reform American schools. Each episode provides clues about how parents and educators alike can engage young people in powerful, sometimes transformational experiential learning. Education can take many forms, but whatever form it takes- experience matters.
34 minutes | Feb 27, 2022
Episode 13: The Secret to College Admissions with Julie Kim
Julie Kim is an L.A.-based college admissions counselor who helps young people gain entrance into America’s most selective colleges. In this conversation Julie pulls back the curtain on the college admissions process and shows young people how they can not only get into selective colleges, but how they can be happier and more excited as they do it.Julie Kim is the founder of Julie Kim Consulting. She has helped her clients gain admissions to the nation’s most competitive colleges, from Stanford to Yale, using her foundational strategy: the Passion Project. Julie developed the idea as a burned-out high school student and used it to gain admission to USC and later Harvard. In this conversation she turns the conventional wisdom about college admission on its head and shows how doing it the right way not only works, but also yields happiness and positive mental health. We cover a lot of territory including: 1:50: Steve offers two important disclaimers (Here's the episode about achievement culture stress described in the disclaimer.) 4:51: How social media around college admissions harms students’ mental health 7:13: The great misconception about being a “well-rounded student” 9:42: How to identify your “passion” (interest + action) 10:26: Julie’s personal journey as a student 12:05: Selling out your childhood for a fallacy 12:39: An example of a student’s passion project 14:23: The story of a friend’s son who didn’t get into his top choice college 16:07: How to figure out your passion (or how schools need to change) 17:49 Why project-based learning is so powerful 18:59: The enormous power of connecting with adults 24:17: The view from a college admissions officer’s seat 27:07 How colleges look for intellectual curiosity. Hint: experience matters 29:42: Julie and Steve reimagine what’s possible in schools 31:52: Julie’s surprising advice to teenagers My favorite quote from this episode: “(When students work on a passion project) I think they feel refreshed that there’s another way to navigate life as an adolescent… A lot of my students tell me…no one told me that this was possible for me. So I think they feel like this is refreshing, and a little hopeful as well .” (21:50) Julie Kim’s website: https://juliekimconsulting.com About Experience Matters Experience Matters with Steve Shapiro invites guests to reflect on the most profound learning experiences of their youth and to consider how we can reform American schools. Each episode provides clues about how parents and educators alike can engage young people in powerful, sometimes transformational experiential learning. Education can take many forms, but whatever form it takes- experience matters.
34 minutes | Oct 4, 2021
Episode 12- The Epiphany with Daniel Pink
Episode 12: The Epiphany with Daniel Pink Daniel Pink’s book A Whole New Mind makes the case for why experiential learning is necessary in the 21st century. His book Drive explains why it is also so much more motivating for young people. The epiphany that led Dan to these ideas may have occurred when, as a 14-year-old freshman, he wrote his first story for his high school newspaper, The Bexley Torch. In this interview Dan digs up long-buried memories and relives the moment that experiential learning produced what he describes as a physiological change in his brain. We cover a lot of territory including: 3:37 Dan as a regrettably compliant student 4:30 Performance goals vs. learning goals (or why Dan can’t speak French) 5:59 How performance goals harm mental health 8:49 Dan’s first Torch story assignment produces a major epiphany 14:07 How extra-curricular experiences differ from traditional school learning 15:11 The link between motivation and human nature 17:51 How the world has changed yet schools stay largely the same 19:37 The skills young people need to avoid having their future jobs outsourced 22:12 Why traditional academic skills are still important, but they’re no longer sufficient 24:04 How Dan’s children engaged in experiential learning outside of school 26:21 What about kids without well-resourced parents? 27:41 Can schools change when we’re so deeply rooted in “bygone era” traditions? 29:00 Dan’s simple and practical suggestion to educators 29:45 An outrageous visual picture of traditional education 30:43 Standardization vs. extreme customization 31:42 A passage from Drive that epitomizes the value of experiential learning My favorite quote from Drive: “We know that human beings are not merely smaller, slower, better-smelling horses galloping after that day’s carrot. We know- if we’ve spent time with young children or remember ourselves at our best- that we’re not destined to be passive or compliant; we’re designed to be active and engaged. And we know that the richest experiences in our lives aren’t when we’re clamoring for validation from others, but when we’re listening to our own voice- doing something that matters, doing it well, and doing it in the service of a cause larger than ourselves.” Daniel Pink’s website: https://www.danpink.com A Whole New Mind: https://www.danpink.com/books/whole-new-mind/ Drive: https://www.danpink.com/books/drive/ Sign up for Daniel Pink’s newsletter: https://www.danpink.com/subscribe/ Steve Shapiro’s website: https://www.steventshapiro.com About Experience Matters Experience Matters with Steve Shapiro invites guests to reflect on the most profound learning experiences of their youth and to consider how we can reform American schools. Each episode provides clues about how parents and educators alike can engage young people in powerful, sometimes transformational experiential learning. Education can take many forms, but whatever form it takes- experience matters.
29 minutes | Sep 2, 2021
Episode 11: Crossing Cultures with Gavin Levine
Gavin Levine spent his junior year of high school as a Rotary Youth Exchange student in Taoyuan, Taiwan. This engaging conversation reveals the enormous growth young people can experience when they leave their comfort zones to enter new cultures, whether across the globe or close to home.
27 minutes | Jul 20, 2021
Episode 10: Talking to Strangers with Bryan Drewry
Bryan Drewry is a community leader and a serial connector. He developed his talent for engaging with people through a series of high school experiences that served as a “hidden curriculum” of his education.
33 minutes | May 26, 2021
Episode 9: Game-Changing Internship with Duncan Johnson
Duncan Johnson is a high school junior who runs a coding camp, is working in his second internship, and is filled with excitement for learning. It’s like he listened to the Episode 8 interview with Emmy Huefner and took her advice to heart. Duncan has identified his deepest interest, computer coding for immersive reality gaming, and is pursuing it with passion. Our conversation is a blueprint for every young person who is looking to make their high school years meaningful, productive, and exciting. Duncan will show you how happiness and preparation for life after high school can go hand in hand.
29 minutes | May 26, 2021
Episode 8: A Letter to My Younger Self with Emmy Huefner
Emmy Huefner spent her high school years doing everything others expected of her. She took lots of honors and AP classes, played sports and music, sought leadership positions in school clubs, and did volunteer work. She was driven by the goal of getting into a “good college.” By time she graduated, Emmy was burned out and had lost her love for learning. A gap year of global service allowed her to, for the first time in her life, deeply reflect on who she is and what she wants her life to be about. This conversation is essential listening for every young person trying to figure out how to make their way in the world.
24 minutes | Apr 14, 2021
Episode 7: From Troublemaker to Ringmaster with Chad Hemmelgarn
Chad Hemmelgarn was an energetic kid for whom school just didn't work, until some visionary teachers found a way to identify and develop his creative gifts. Their utilization of experiential learning helped Chad develop into a beloved high school teacher who provides similar opportunity and inspiration to his students.
22 minutes | Mar 25, 2021
Episode 6: An Unlikely Teacher with Eric Acton
Eric Acton has been a beloved teacher and coach for more than three decades. As an 18-year-old custodian at the Columbus science center, he could never have dreamed of the life he was about to lead. That all changed because of the Girl Scouts and a guy named Jarvis. Eric's story is an inspiring reminder of the immense potential locked inside every child.
22 minutes | Mar 3, 2021
Episode 5: Owl Pellets with Stacy Bell
Stacy Bell was preparing to become a teacher when an experiential lesson in one of her education classes transformed her approach to teaching and learning. Her encounter with owl pellets has impacted countless elementary and middle school students during her nearly three-decade teaching career.
27 minutes | Dec 13, 2020
Episode 4- Anti-Racist Activism with Kaia Woodford
In the wake of George Floyd's murder, then 19-year-old Kaia Woodford headed to the Ohio Statehouse to join the protests. She began speaking at rallies, leading her to join other Bexley alumni in founding the Bexley Anti-Racism Project (BARP). She reflects on her journey to becoming a powerful voice in the fight against racism in her community.
25 minutes | Nov 11, 2020
Episode 3- CEO at age 20 with Olivia Weinstock
At age 10, Olivia Weinstock started a babysitting "camp" for her kid sister's friends. By 18 it was a thriving business with strong brand recognition. Two years later she expanded the service and became the Founder and CEO of a venture capital-funded business.
24 minutes | Oct 6, 2020
Episode 2- 8th Graders Take Charge with Suzanne Goldsmith-Hirsch
What happens when you unleash a band of 8th graders in a major city and tell them to design their own learning? Author & journalist Suzanne Goldsmith-Hirsch describes a groundbreaking middle school program where she and her classmates did just that. The results were remarkable!
24 minutes | Oct 5, 2020
Episode 1- Global Gap Year with Zach Shapiro
After graduating high school Zach Shapiro embarked on a global gap year with Thinking Beyond Borders. He studied sustainability in Guatemala, education in Thailand, and public health in Ghana. Learn about the indelible impact that his gap year made on Zach and see how it impacted not only his studies at The Ohio State University, but also his whole approach to living.
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