#17 (6/11/20) Special Episode: 5 Things I Learned from Upstream by Dan Heath Laurie & Matt share 5 things they learned from reading Dan Heath's spectacular new book, Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen. Noting that teachers and parents are naturally upstream workers, strategies and tips for heading off issues before they can negatively impact our teens are shared. Here's what was learned:
1. Upstream work is often unappreciated
2. We need to be systems analysts AND systems architects
4. We can’t wait for the perfect solution
5. Assembling the right team matters
#18 (6/15/20) "What Are the Habits of the Most Successful Students?" Laurie & Matt discuss those reflexive actions that separate the highest achievers from the pack in high school with the essential question, "What Are the Habits of the Most Successful Students?" Laurie kicks off this episode arguing that a healthy social media presence is a must for schools in the modern world in "If I Was Principal," and Matt closes it out reflecting on a high school moment that sparked a lifelong pursuit in "That's the Beauty of it All."
#19 (6/22/20) "What Are the Most Important Teacher Qualities?" Laurie & Matt discuss those teacher qualities that have the greatest impact on student outcomes with the essential question, "What Are the Most Important Teacher Qualities?" Matt starts the episode by extolling the virtues of a school staff socializing off campus in "If I Was Principal," and Laurie ends the show by sharing a tale of a musty classroom and a stubborn gate in "That's the Beauty of it All."
#20 (6/25/20) Commonplace Episode: Quiet by Susan Cain Laurie & Matt pull a quote from a book they've read and discuss its implications on the teaching and parenting of teenagers. Today's quote comes from Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.
...Top performers overwhelmingly worked for companies that gave their workers the most privacy, personal space, control over their physical environments, and freedom from interruption...open-plan offices have been found to reduce productivity and impair memory.”
#21 (6/29/20) "Should There Be Homework?" Laurie & Matt tackle one of the most persistent issues in education with this episode's essential question, "Should There Be Homework?" Laurie gets the show started with a wardrobe suggestion in "If I Was Principal," and Matt closes it out by pondering whether to wonder widely or deeply is better in "That's the Beauty of it All."
#22 (7/6/20) "Will COVID-19 Change High School Forever?" Laurie & Matt summon their powers of prognostication with this episode's essential question, "Will COVID-19 Change High School Forever?" Matt gets the show going by calling for a message amplification in "If I Was Principal," and Laurie closes it out with a lovefest for her colleagues in "That's the Beauty of it All."
#23 (7/9/20) Special Episode: Top 5 Concerns with Hybrid School Schedules Laurie & Matt share their Top 5 Concerns with Hybrid School Schedules, from a list they generated that had closer to 75 items. Hybrid school schedules are being widely discussed as a compromise to the battle being waged over whether to reopen fully or to continue with distance learning. This very difficult decision being considered by school districts worldwide, is trying to take into account both public health concerns surrounding the continued presence and spread of COVID-19, and the less talked about but likely greater threat to the health, wellness, and development of our teenagers if schools fail to resume. Our economy is holding its breath too, as children in school is an important piece of its recovery.
Laurie and Matt explored this topic from the perspective of hybrid schedule's impact on students, as well as teachers and parents. Education, health and wellness, and social justice were all filters used for their discussion. Creating a Top 5 list wasn't easy, and like everything else in the world these days it will likely evolve, daily, but here's where we stand at the moment:
1. Academic inequalities will be amplified
2. Stress on teachers to maximize limited in-person instruction while simultaneously servicing students through distance learning
3. High school becoming academics only, leading to severe drop in motivation
4. Stress on parents leaving teenagers home alone on a regular basis while they go back to work
5. Continuing decline of teenagers' health and wellness because of increased screen time, reduced activity levels, and lack of structured time
#24 (7/13/20) "What is Stereotype Threat?" Laurie & Matt center this episode around the essential question, "What is Stereotype Threat?" Pulling from Claude M. Steele's book Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do, the very real and damaging cancer that is stereotype threat is discussed. Described as a diffuse threat, like a snake loose in the room, stereotype threat menaces any member of a minority when they are in a position to potentially confirm a negative stereotype through one false move or misstep. Originally observed and studied in minority groups' under performance in school, stereotype threat is found to reach into every corner of society.
As is always their aim, Laurie & Matt want to make sure that discussions turn into action. To that end, they offer evidence-based solutions for mitigating the affects of stereotype threat in schools, including:
1. Growth mindset lessons- helping minority students understand that intelligence is malleable
2. Self-affirmation exercises- brief writing assignments about personally held values
3. Increasing minority group representation
4. Valuing diversity
5. Being a "warm demander," increasing teacher credibility, and adopting an autonomy supportive teaching style
Episode #19 of Teacher Saves World!, titled "What Are the Most Important Teacher Qualities?" goes into greater detail with #5 in the list of interventions above.
The essential question conversation is book ended by Laurie's idea for lots of murals in the "If I Were Principal" opening segment, and Matt's admiration for the new generation of gadflys in the closing "That's the Beauty of it All."