Elliot Washor is the co-founder of Big Picture Learning, co-founder of B-UnBound, and co-author of “Leaving to Learn.” I still find it hard to believe that it was released 10 years ago. Elliot is co-author with Scott Boldt in his most recent book, “Learning to Leave.” It needed to be written because it was time to go deep as well as broad on what young people are doing out there. We need these conversations for our kids and their future now more than ever.
Did you know that Elliot was selected as one of the Twelve Most Daring Educators in the World by the George Lucas Foundation?
Just listen to what he shares in the podcast and read the post below. Then you’ll know WHY Elliot was selected as a daring educator. I’m fortunate to have known Elliot for many years and am honored to have this conversation with him.
WHY real-world learning? The student is the curriculum and the entire community (their town, their city) is the school – education is everyone’s business. I have always held that the key to education is to have students and staff mingle with and muddle through problems that matter to them and their communities. If this seems simple, it’s intended to.
As co-founder of Big Picture Learning (BPL) and The Metropolitan Center, my educational philosophy—one which is embedded at the core of Big Picture’s successful design—is that practice should inform theory and that theory should inform practice, a cycle that leads to profound change.
Big Picture’s Motto is “One-Student-at-a-Time-in-a-Community” which recognizes that every student brings her/his unique abilities, interests, needs, circumstances, and context into school and into their learning. When BPL started, they focused on learning – in and out of school. They asked several questions, “What if we didn’t know what school was – how would we design one? And how can we keep the design flexible so that when we learn how to do things better, the school can change.” This led us to design the schools around what is known as The 10 Distinguishers.
Each student is part of an advisory, a learning community, with an advisor guiding them and, navigating with them, to identify their needs and explore their interests.
Learning to Leave
My newest book written with Scott Boldt, Learning to Leave How Real-World Learning Transforms Education, challenges us to develop new ways, new forms, and new measures in and outside of school. “Leaving to Learn” was written ten years ago to show how real-world learning increases student engagement.
Quote in Learning to Leave p. 109
The worldwide pandemic threatened to disrupt work-based learning on a wide scale, at a time when it’s more important than ever to find ways to engage students in learning and ensure they are future-ready.
With Covid, uncertainty, the political climate, and so many things impacting learning, it was time to go deep as well as broad on what young people are doing out there. It was important to show how to transform education. Learning to Leave presents New Forms, not RE-forms.
Get your copy at https://amzn.to/40zfi2x
Topics discussed during our talk:
- Growing up near Ebbett’s Field
- Why aren’t schools more like parks?
- New methods and initiatives.
- System of Prevention, not Intervention.
- All learning is personal, not personalized.
- Don’t try to change the systems, change the community.
- Culture is more important than the system and it’s okay to have a little bit of uncertainty.
B-UnBound offers educators and policymakers a roadmap to new ways, new forms, and new measures that can expand opportunities for every student and transform education.
B-Unbound was created to connect youth to supportive adults who share their interests and build a community of peers learning to navigate their way together. It has now evolved to build multigenerational networks of support around shared interests for both youth and adults. B-Unbound’s unique programming is supported by its proprietary technology that monitors and manages community relationships.
Read more about the B-Unbound story HERE.
Are younger people looking for alternatives to get to their dream life? | Morning in America | Video
In a world filled with uncertainty and certainty, standards and variability, only humans can collectively think and feel in rhythm and time to dynamically respond to complex environmental stimuli, draw upon previous experience, and intuitively understand what to do next. This is the work of educators, not algorithms.
We must consider a more varied set of competencies and also increase the ways students can demonstrate that they have achieved them. (Learning to Leave P. 114)
I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Elliot Washor, an inspirational leader who challenges us to consider New Forms, not Reforms. It was such an honor to have Elliot share his story and his WHY with me. Please share this podcast and the post with your friends.
|Make sure you check out more of the Rethinking Learning podcasts and each post that the guests created. Click on this link or the logo below to list by episode, alphabetical, or reflections.
|I am a co-host of a new podcast “Real Talk with Barbara and Nicole.” Check out the episodes about Authenticity in a Polarized Society around different topics. Click on RealTalkBN or the logo below.
|I’m getting wonderful feedback on how much the information and stories in “Define Your Why” has helped them. For more information about this book, go to this page or click on the book for resources, questions, and links.
My new book, “Grow Your Why…One Story at a Time” includes 23 stories from inspirational educators, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Go to this page or click on the book to go to Why Press Publishing for when details, resources, and more.