Think. Pair. Share. HodgePOD 22

Think. Pair. Share. Podcast Transcript

0:00:09.5 Audrey Scott: Welcome to this modern education podcast that explores learning, from the everyday exchange of thoughts and ideas to the theories and practices behind entire systems. Think education is cool? So do we. So we pair two conversations. Learn about our guests, then learn from our guests. Share your takeaways and come back for more. You're listening to Think.Pair.Share with me, Audrey Scott. Hello and welcome to Think.Pair.Share, hodgePOD 22. This is our year-end compilation of a few fun and memorable moments from this year's conversations as we talked all things modern education with some of the best minds and honestly best hearts in the field. In this beautiful season of light as we're invited to quietly pause and reflect on the blessings and challenges of 2022. I hope you'll enjoy this sort of teaser collection of the lovely voices who informed and inspired me and I hope all of you on this Think.Pair.Share podcast. These are just simple short bites from each guest to share just a taste of what else you'll hear. Then I absolutely invite you to go and enjoy each of their full episodes. I can almost guarantee listening to these wonderful people will have us all energized and ready to embark on the new year.

0:01:33.9 AS: As always, I'm beyond grateful to our listeners, the team at the Institute for Educational Initiatives and the Alliance for Catholic Education, and of course to all of my guests, Fr. Lou DelFra, Nicole McNeil, Nikhit D'Sa, Katy Lichon, John Staud, Fr. Joe Carey or FJ as most people know him, Kate Schuenke-Lucien, Matt Kloser, Andrea Christensen, Will Newkirk, and Gina Svarovsky. So without further ado, let's get the comfort and joy started with Education Uplifted with Fr. Lou DelFra, Director of Pastoral Life for the Alliance for Catholic Education.

0:02:10.4 Fr. Lou DelFra: Catholics are often at their best when they're celebrating and celebration is always powerful evangelically, you know, it's like, why are those people so happy? So it's a chance to be proud of these amazing communities that have been built over the years on the backs of religious sisters, religious brothers, brave priests and bishops early in our church's history, and then countless heroic lay people who have just said, you know, we want to be able to raise our children and educate our children with a daily vision that faith is an important part of life. And often with no support from the broader culture have made these things work. And so just you got to celebrate that, you know, and you got to celebrate it really well and joyfully and boisterously so that other people are like, what's all that racket? 

0:03:07.6 AS: Next up is Education Multiplied with Nicole McNeil, Professor of Psychology and former Director of the Education, Schooling and Society Program.

0:03:15.4 Nicole McNeil: One thing that I think is really powerful or because I like to think about ideas a lot, education like as a thing is this weird construct in our world. And people talk about education a lot as a life changer, right? It has this power to change people's lives, right? If we help that child learn how to read C-A-T, that's going to change the trajectory of the child's life. So education at the same time, both has this life changing aspect to it. And it does that a lot of the time. But at the same time, we as a society seem to constantly structure it and create it in ways that prevent it from doing that, that we structure it in a way that makes it really, really hard for people who haven't historically accessed it or had the access to it from using it in that way that it has so much potential to do. And I think that duality about education, that it can change lives, but it also holds people back because of the way that it's structured as well is a challenging thing that I think our students grapple with.

0:04:35.2 NM: And that actually I feel every person in our world would be better if they grappled with that. A little bit more.

0:04:44.6 AS: Now let's listen to a little bit of Education Ventured with Nikhit D'Sa, Assistant Professor and Senior Associate Director for Research at the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child.

0:04:55.7 Nikhit D'Sa: Even devoid of us, there's a lot going on. So one thing that I remember is we were working to develop a measure of children's self-concept in the Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan, which was primarily for Syrian refugee children. And we were measuring self-concept, which is this idea of children's understanding of themselves, their strengths, their limitations. They know themselves. And the measure was just not working. We were trying to develop this measure to evaluate this program and the measure was just not working. And we sat down with teachers and they were like, you're measuring the wrong thing, right? They said, it's not about them knowing who they are. The struggle that these children are having is figuring out who they will be tomorrow, who they will be in five days, who they will be in a year. The struggle that they're having is about their future orientation. They really don't know where they can even go and that's affecting where they are right now. And so we changed our way of measuring self-concept in that measure based on teachers' reflections that really what we needed to be doing is looking at future orientation, is how children express their future and whether they could even envision or imagine this future self for themselves.

0:06:17.1 ND: And so really, I think it is about valuing the fact that teachers have a wealth of knowledge, but are we able and in these kind of donor cycles that we have of our programs, able to incorporate it into the work that we're doing in that way, in a way that values and looks at their lived experience as a valuable point of information for these programs or these measures that we're working on.

0:06:45.9 AS: Next we'll listen to a little bit of Education Cultivated with Katy Lichon, the director of Catholic School Advantage and the English as a New Language programs.

0:06:54.2 Katy Lichon: But I think the common thread is that our Catholic schools have always done a beautiful job of serving immigrant marginalized community in a way that values the gifts that they bring. And so what we're looking at today is just an increasing number of Hispanic Catholics in the US Catholic Church. And so I really look at how our church is going to respond, how our schools are going to respond, and what does this renewal of our Catholic schools look like if we are to continue this incredible tradition of serving immigrant and marginalized communities in our presence, folding into what is the future, our great legacy and our future of our Catholic schools. But we have this motto of to embrace, to educate and to empower. We believe in embracing the changing demographics of the church. And if we do that well, it means that we are absolutely called to provide the best educational opportunities for our children and for their families. So to embrace, educate and to empower. And if we do all of this correctly, then our families are empowered to share their unique gifts and talents, to renew our communities, to renew our schools and to renew our church. And so those three ideas ground us.

0:08:11.3 AS: Next up is Education Renewed with John Staud, the executive director of the Alliance for Catholic Education.

0:08:15.1 John Staud: Find what you love and do it and then contribute to the world. So that's obviously what we try to encourage people in ACE to do, both with the Teaching Fellows Program, with the Remick Program, with all our programs, just kind of honor the great joy of being an educator. Doesn't pay much, obviously, but you'll never wonder whether what you do is important, even if you don't know that you're effective at it all the time. And Lord knows I can look back at many times I've been ineffective, at least I always knew it mattered. It all comes back to the gospel, the example of Christ and the body of Catholic social teaching, which tells us that every single soul is made in the image and likeness of God. And I can't think of a more, in some ways in our own time, radical animating principle and things like preferential option for the poor, solidarity, this rich body of Catholic social teaching, I think has so much to offer our country and really the world. Want us to live in hope and constantly try to leave things in better shape than they were received.

0:09:27.0 AS: Now let's listen in to Education Treasured. This was an easy one to title because he really is one of our true treasures. Fr. Joe Carey, chaplain for the Alliance for Catholic Education.

0:09:37.2 Fr. Joe Carey: It's all about love for me. We are men and women with hope to bring. That's one of our foundations of our community life. We have to remember that, you know, we can't get into being cynical or, you know, we have to move away from that and bring the hope, share the hope, listen for the hope, point it out. You know, like John the Baptist recognized Jesus. There he is. He's the one. And so it takes us doing that to realize we need to be renewed in hope to be able to help find hope. I think it is hard for a lot of people to see it. So I think that we need to ask question, reading something and or sharing an experience. Where did you find God in that? You know, like if someone were to ask me, where'd you find God in what we've done the last couple of hours? I would say I found it in your loving, kind sharing and asking me about myself and having me be able to reflect on things that are beautiful in my life that maybe I don't always appreciate. And so that's one of the things I would take away from this. And so like I could share this experience with someone else. So I appreciate your time that you've taken with me.

0:11:07.4 AS: What a kind compliment. See now there it is. There's all that love that you're talking about. It's just sort of impossible for it not to grow when you view the world the way that you do. And you're an inspiration. You really are. I hope you know that. Oh my gosh. Thank you. Honestly. Let's listen in to Education Accompanied with Kate Schuenke-Lucien, the Director for Haiti in the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child.

0:11:37.5 Kate Schuenke-Lucien: This is a real mouthful. I'm sure communications people love us with these mouthfuls. But instead of ACE Haiti, all the Haiti work that we're doing here at IEI is now under the Global Center and it's the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child Haiti. Our goal is to create pathways out of adversity for vulnerable children. And there's multiple ways that we approach that. Listeners may or may not have heard about our L3 system. It's called La Calle L'Eglise L'Ecole, which stands for the home school and church. That's actually a phrase in Creole. It's like a proverb. If you're if you're a good parent, you're taking good care of your kids, they're going to be one of three places.

0:12:11.8 KS: They're going to be in the home, the school or the church. And we really thought about it. And we thought, you know, that is the system in Haiti because there aren't government services. There isn't a Department of Public Health or child services. The system that's really touching children's lives and has the ability to impact them and improve outcomes for them is the home, the school and the church. I tend to be a glass half full person. And you know, the reason that I'm hopeful is because I've seen it's slow. It's been incremental, but I have seen progress in the work that we're doing in Haiti. Another thing in our partners, just man, when you go into some of those communities and you see these teachers who are working so hard, they're not paid very much, but they're so committed to their communities. But when you see priests in Haiti and some of those really rural parishes, they could have opted out.

0:13:06.6 KS: They could have gone someplace else and done something different. And they're there day in and day out, just doing this really hard work. And they're very committed to it. You sort of think to yourself, well, if they're not giving up, you know, I'm not going to give up either. I know that those communities in Haiti are going to continue on in the faith and continue to do this work and continue to serve their communities. So that actually is what gives me hope is that I know they're not giving up and they're going to be there doing this work.

0:13:29.5 AS: Next up is Education Discovered with Matt Kloser, founding director of the Center for STEM Education, who always makes me laugh before getting down to brass tacks or wherever his great passion and knowledge of all things STEM is taking him.

0:13:40.7 Matt Kloser: I love this. I love this. I mean, we're going to go everywhere, right? We're going to talk about John McEnroe and my time with him. We're going to talk about playing keyboard for Bruce Springsteen, which hasn't happened yet.

0:13:54.6 AS: But yes, we are going to go everywhere because the theme today is grab bag.

0:13:58.2 MK: It's not a grab bag when we're going to do all of them. It's going to be the longest podcast you've ever had taped, at least. And then you'll edit it down to four minutes. But that's fine.

0:14:11.8 AS: It's going to be great.

0:14:19.7 MK: So taking off like the center hat, Matt, recently we've been thinking about narrative, how are texts used in classrooms. We're primed as young people, as young as three, four or five to understand narrative arcs and story. And there's a great scientist who turned movie producer who talks about how we shouldn't be homo sapiens, we should be homo narrans. We live and make meaning of our life through stories and narratives. And yet we don't often think about the story of science. Each time we build new knowledge in science, there's a story behind. How did that scientist, how did she come to ask that question? 

0:14:51.0 AS: Now a bit from Education Motivated with Andrea Christensen, the director of Education, Schooling and Society.

0:14:58.8 Andrea Christensen: The Education, Schooling and Society program, or ESS as we call it, is not a teacher prep program. It's more of an educational studies program where we are concerned with what are the big questions facing education in the US today. Our hope is that our students become aware of the landscape of education in the US. They become aware of some of the challenges and some of the strengths of US education and that they each find their place or their path to work, to change what needs to be changed and to enhance what is already a strength. Perhaps the message is that we all have a role to play in what happens in the US and US schools, whether that's from a parenting standpoint or a teacher or a policymaker or a school board member. We all have a role to play and we can all affect some sort of positive change, even if it's small scale in our community. And I think that students become more and more aware of the need for change and the need that exists right outside their doors or down their streets, but also broadly.

0:16:19.2 AC: And I think one of my primary motivations for being a part of ESS is our students. They're the most incredible people. The students who self-select into our minor and our supplementary major tend to be students who care very deeply about other people and about the world and about making the world a better place. And so getting to spend my time with them is such a gift. So if I can just impart that to them, that you are a gift and that your desire to learn about all of these issues and to engage in all of these issues and go out and do something about these issues, that in and of itself is the best part of what I do. I mean, it's just, I feel like it's the privilege of my life to be able to be here and working with ESS students. I really do. I really do.

0:17:21.0 AS: Next up is Education Affirmed with Will Newkirk, the director of the American Indian Catholic Schools Network.

0:17:26.8 Will Newkirk: And then have been working at ACE and the Institute for Educational Initiatives for about seven years in a few different roles. But for the last number of years, working with the American Indian Catholic Schools Network, which I think so much of that path is deeply connected to this current work and work that I just love so much. When the original position opened up, I emailed my family and I shared the position description. I said, I think this is my dream job. And it really has been since day one. I think to some great mentorship and just amazing schools and educators and teachers, leaders, students who have given me the immense privilege just to witness their heroic work. All things considered, this is a pretty new idea and a new experiment in a new community. A Native American Catholic school we consider is a Catholic school in Indian country on reservations around the border of a reservation or sovereign indigenous nation, more appropriately, that serves predominantly Native American students. There are probably 23 of these schools left in the country. There were many more at one point. The ones that have remained open in many cases are the ones who have modeled culturally responsive pedagogy, who have teachers and leaders representing the community they're from, where the indigenous spirituality and tradition and language is celebrated.

0:18:43.5 WN: So all of those pieces make up a distinctly indigenous and distinctly Catholic school. So we're really proud that these are the schools that have been able to persist. And it's no coincidence that they are the ones who have persisted because they are deeply rooted in their local community and celebrate that local community.

0:19:00.6 WN: And I love that there's such a spirit of inclusion because the more schools that are in the network, which means the more students, the more teachers, the more principals who can share their experiences and walk together in solidarity.

0:19:13.6 AS: And last but certainly not least is Education Broadened with Gina Svarovsky, the founding faculty director of the Center for Broader Impacts and associate professor in Notre Dame's Center for STEM Education.

0:19:25.5 Gina Svarovsky: I'm excited to be helping the Institute kind of embark on, you know, kind of a new era here. And I am the faculty director of a newly founded center called the Center for Broader Impacts. And it's actually housed in Notre Dame Research. So that's Notre Dame's Office of Research. It provides the significant infrastructure for the whole university in terms of supporting faculty and other researchers and kind of all of their research endeavors. One of the things that we hope to do is really try to understand different points of the faculty's trajectory. So as an assistant professor, what are the things that they need? And then even later when they're co-professors, so how can we help support them in that? And so really just excited about the directions that the CBI can go and like the ways it can help faculty and more importantly help our community and our society.

0:20:15.3 GS: You know, one of my favorite words is empowerment. And I really do feel a lot of hope that a lot of the work that we do here, it is a tool for empowerment for young people and the adults who are around them, whether they be caregivers, parents or educators, and just really helping people see they have agency and they can make a difference. And perhaps STEM and engineering can be a pathway to help them do that.

0:20:44.8 AS: Well I hope you enjoyed those little teaser bites, but I sure hope that you'll listen to full episodes from each of these wonderful, wonderful people. And thank you again for listening and for all your support of this Think.Pair.Share podcast. Happy Christmas, Happy New Year, and we look forward to talking with you in 2023.