Don’t Teach History. Sell It! with Paul Hemphill
September 7, 2021
Don’t Teach History. Sell it! with Paul Hemphill

Do you remember what it was like to sit in a history classroom? If you’re like most Americans (88%, according to the Nation’s Report Card), you didn’t pay much attention. Facts and statistics have played such a big role in educating our youth, and that has turned so many off from even learning history.

According to this week’s guest, veteran and author Paul Hemphill, “If you don’t know what your country stands for, how will you stand up to our enemies, both foreign and domestic; you cannot defend what you cannot define.” 

Thankfully, he has a solution. Creating a change in the way we teach history–through story and encouraging an emotional connection with the content.

Listen in to this episode, where Paul talks about interrupting patterns in teaching, showcases his storytelling abilities, and shares about his free solution to today’s history education problem.

Tune in now!


About Paul Hemphill

Paul Lloyd Hemphill is the author of 5 books, the producer of over 200 videos, and is the narrator of 3 of his own books. His latest book, INSPiRATION FOR TEENS, has been a best seller for the past 12 months and shot up to the #1 position in its category when the issue of critical race theory became prominent in the news.


Jump Through the Conversation

  • 1:31] Paul’s catalyst for learner-centered schools
  • [3:12] Interrupting patterns
  • [5:30] How his program interrupts the current pattern
  • [7:07] Paul shares a story example
  • [9:43] How Paul’s free video series works
  • [13:47] How a school has used this program
  • [17:34] Formula for success
  • [19:13] Khan Academy changing education
  • [19:53] Teachers: Don’t teach history
  • [21:39] Turbo Time
  • [31:11] Paul’s Magic Wand
  • [33:27] Maureen’s Takeaways


Links and Resources:

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show.



Maureen O’Shaughnessy  0:03  

Hello fellow parents and educators. Thank you for joining me at Education Evolution, where we are disrupting the status quo in today’s learning models. We talk about present day education, what’s broken, who’s fixing it, and how. I’m Dr. Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your host and founder of education evolution, micro school coalition, and co founder of active, I consult and train with schools and leaders who are fiercely Committed to changing the narrative, reimagining the education landscape, and creating learning that serves all children and prepares them to thrive. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  0:49  

If you are new, welcome to the podcast. Please subscribe on our website to get it delivered to your inbox weekly. If you’ve been around a while, have you left a review?


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  1:08  

Paul, so good to have you here. 


Paul Hemphill  1:11  

Great to be here, Maureen. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  1:13  

And listeners. Today I’m chatting with author, speaker and decorated veteran Paul Hemphill. Paul’s mission is to elevate students self esteem with a creative new way to teach American history. Let’s hear how Paul makes this happen. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  1:31  

So Paul, before we dive into what you’ve done, we all know that our schools have to evolve to serve all learners. What was the catalyst for you to dive into helping make schools much more learner centered?


Paul Hemphill  1:46  

Well, it was because I was frustrated by my two teenage sons coming home every afternoon. And once every six months, I would ask the same what they believe was the same dumb question. That was that was, how do you guys like history? And I always get the same answer, Dad, it’s boring. It’s dumb when you stop asking the question. 


Paul Hemphill  2:11  

And so I got kind of frustrated with that and ran down to the local library and asked the librarian if there was any kind of a book that would convince teenagers that history could be really rewarding. And she looked at me like I had two heads. She said, Of course not. And that’s when I knew that I had to be the person that was going to write that book, which I ended up doing later. 


Paul Hemphill  2:34  

It took me several years to put it together. And I’ve converted that book to video because now I understand that kids are spending anywhere up to 10 hours a day on Yeah, in front of a screen. And I’m convinced they’re not going to read my book, but they will watch my videos and so 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  2:54  



Paul Hemphill  2:55  

Yeah, I have to be where they are.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  2:57  

Absolutely. And I’m with you, my daughters have been the catalyst for a lot of what I’ve done. So tuning into our kids is a really great way for us to get a pulse on things and be determined to make a difference. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  3:10  

I’d like to talk about interrupting patterns. You and I have had this conversation. Can you tell us what this means?


Paul Hemphill  3:20  

Sure. And I like to call it the pattern interrupt, which means it’s a interruption of a long established pattern for the purpose of making things better. The burning candle is a pattern of life for centuries until the pattern was interrupted by the light bulb in our lives became better. The horse was a pattern of transportation for centuries until the pattern was interrupted by the locomotive which in turn was interrupted by the automobile which made our lives easier. And the printing press provided the pattern of learning and news I believe for over 600 years until it was interrupted by the home computer which made our lives easier. 


Paul Hemphill  4:01  

Now the current pattern of teaching history for years continues and the results are so bad. That history illiteracy in this country affects our national security. Now, what do I mean by that? There’s a national education group out there marine that does a survey each year called the Nation’s Report Card. Okay, and the last, and the last report indicated that 88% of all high school seniors have no proficiency in American history, which means they don’t know what to do with the information they studied for the last quiz. Or put another way, if you don’t know what your country stands for, how will you stand up to our enemies, both foreign and domestic? You cannot defend what you cannot define. 


Paul Hemphill  4:50  

My program interrupts this pattern, which continues in our schools to this day. So that patterns got to change soon and I believe it’s really urgent. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  4:59  

You know, Paul, I think that you would have kids champion what you’re saying, because so many of them, when will I ever use this? What’s this about? And if we’re not approaching studies in a way that are relevant and real world, how in the world can kids apply this learning battlefields or war dates? How do I even make sense of what that means in my life? So I think students want what you’re saying they want it to make sense. They want to be able to apply it. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  5:27  

So can you talk about how your program interrupts American history the way it’s taught right now?


Paul Hemphill  5:35  

Sure, the current pattern that’s being used now is what I call a facts and stats, you know, memorizing dates, and battles, and all that sort of thing. These are things that students have no emotional connection to. By contrast, I use stories because we humans love stories. And they make an emotional connection. 


Paul Hemphill  5:55  

There’s a psychologist at the University of Southern California, I believe his name is Antonio Damasio. And some time ago, he said that stories make an emotional connection, that emotion is not the opposite of reason. But a common reason. Storytelling tell us what’s important, what we should value, or what we need to pay attention to. And to remember facts better, you have to present information in a whole new way. And if a teacher does that, they actually affect a chemical in the brain of our students known as dopamine. 


Paul Hemphill  6:33  

So to remember facts better, you have to raise dopamine levels in it. And to do that you’ve got to present American history in a whole new way. Which is what my program does.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  6:44  

I love that and and kids get a lot of dopamine hits from being on their screens and getting likes and stuff. So we know that when we get dopamine hits, we do more of the same and don’t we want kids to have that same feel good about what’s going on in the classroom. Could you give us an example of a story and the life lesson that a student could gravitate to?


Paul Hemphill  7:08  

Okay, Maureen prepare to have your dopamine levels increase? 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  7:13  

All right. 


Paul Hemphill  7:15  

There was a young woman during the Battle of Gettysburg, who was asked to attend to the needs of the wounded and dying men. She went around offering cups of water to these men, not knowing what to say, to relieve their pain and suffering. And all she could do was listen. And it was that act of listening that led some of these men across what I like to call an emotional bridge of hope. Over which few of us adults can cross alone. And some of these men survived because of her just being there to listen. This young woman, by the way, was only 15 years old. 


Paul Hemphill  7:53  

So what’s the lesson we learned from this story? Even a child can save a life, even a child can keep hope alive when there is not? You know, listening is so easy, Maureen. And that’s the story of this young woman by the name of Tilly peers at Gettysburg. 


Paul Hemphill  8:10  

And by the way, it’s it’s not uncommon. I’ve seen past where a story like 2020, or one run a story about teenage suicide. And I always remember this one story of this 14 year old girl who decided that she was not going to commit suicide. And when the interviewer asked her why she said, because my friend basically convinced me not to do it. So the interviewer was very curious as to what the her friend said. And she said she didn’t say anything. She just sat there and listened to me. And I had the feeling that nobody else listened to me. But she did and gave me the hope and a reason to not commit suicide. 


Paul Hemphill  8:56  

And so that’s why I like to say that any teenager, no matter how old you are, has the ability right now to save a life. How about that?


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  9:06  

Yes. And I think sometimes people feel powerless. So to remind them of their power. And to turn as you said, the facts and stats, you know, lack of emotional connection of some dead lecturing styles into something that are stories of hope. And kids say, Oh, well, heck, I could give people water that you don’t have to be super smart or super this or that. Huh, I can make a difference. I think that’s really important. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  9:35  

So how does it work? You take, your video series, What? What would it be like?


Paul Hemphill  9:43  

Yeah, it’s a great question. Thank you for asking. The videos are divided into two parts. 


Paul Hemphill  9:49  

The first part is the telling of the story. What did this person actually do at Gettysburg so I relay that story when the story ends Then I come up with lessons or life lessons that you can use from that story. And in the story that I gave you about the 15 year old girl, and what do you what that student uses from that story is the ability to recognize for the very first time in their lives that wow, I to have that ability to save a life, I never knew that. I’ve never been taught that in any, in any class. Never heard it from my parents, as a matter of fact, and the first time I ever learned this, is watching this video. And so what a tremendous video, a student could learn, or watch in a classroom that every parent would loved to know that they’re watching. 


Paul Hemphill  10:42  

Now, one of the things I always instruct a teacher to do is once the story is told, I tell them to stop the video. And then break up the class into let’s say, segments have four students in each group. And after 15 minutes come up with their what they believe is the lesson that they learned from watching the story. So now it includes them gives them a connection to what they just watched, so that they can have a discussion on the lessons they learned. 


Paul Hemphill  11:17  

And then the teacher can now play the rest of the video by coming up with the lessons that I came up with. And I had a teacher in Minneapolis telling me you, Paul, you’d be surprised how many students come up with the same conclusions you came up with? I mean, these kids get it, they really do.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  11:35  

Yeah. And then they’re the ones doing the thinking and the learning. Imagine that the students being the ones that have to unpack and figure things out, instead of being told everything now, life skill right there. What does this mean? How to What’s in it? For me, we all want to get that? Why do I care? What’s the meaning? What’s the story. So to create it in such a way, where you were asking them instead of telling them is super powerful. 


Paul Hemphill  12:01  

It is it is. And by the way, on a video that I that I link that I would have your listeners connect with is a five minute video of an interview that I had with a group of students in Norman, Oklahoma. And in that video, you will see how the students responded to the videos, and you’ll see a student give me some helpful piece or a helpful piece of advice, which I have run with since then. And as I said to the students in the video, I’m not here to talk to you I’m here to listen.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  12:34  

Whoa, teachers that are here to listen, I love it, we will definitely put the video in our show notes. And I constantly learned from my students. So I think that good on you for listening and learning we always have more to learn, don’t we? 


Paul Hemphill  12:50  

We sure do, we sure do. These kids, I gotta tell you, these kids are great. I love them. They’re smart. They get what it is that I’m doing. And I think that’s one fault that I had as a parent, when my kids were growing up, I never thought my kids really had had a lot to to express. And when I started working with teenagers, over the last 20 years, I realized oh my goodness, these kids have a lot more going for them than their parents give them credit for. So let’s ignite that spark. And get these kids excited.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  13:27  

yeah, and ask the question, so we give them a chance to ponder and process and create the meaning for themselves. That just sounds wonderful. So if we take it bigger from the classroom to the school, do you have an example of a school that’s used your videos and how it worked for them?


Paul Hemphill  13:45  

Yeah, I would say there’s a school in Norman, Oklahoma. It’s the principal of the school told me one time that he is the principal of the most expensive private school in Oklahoma. And so he gave the videos to his eighth graders. And over a two month period, they watched the videos. And the we did a one hour phone call with them. Or I should say a zoom call. And I reduced that down to five minutes so that you could take the time to watch it. And I would suggest that in your show notes. People can go to your show notes and and click on that link and watch the video and see what a whack and see what a whack job I am. 


Paul Hemphill  14:38  

So in other words, my my kids over the years, you would always refer to me as the oldest teenager in America. Because I have fun with these kids. They’re great by giving them what they want. I think as you suggested earlier, give them what they want and they’ll respond.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  14:54  

Absolutely. And you know when I was researching you because I check out my guests before we talk Before then we interview, I was intrigued by the price tag, I think it aligns with your priorities here, would you explain the price tag on this video series?


Paul Hemphill  15:12  

Oh, it’s, I hesitate. The the video series is absolutely free to any school in the country, all they have to do is go to my website and go to the new the bottom of the homepage, and any school can sign up for that video series. And over a course of about 55 days, they receive one video each day to do whatever they want to do with it either habit as a complete elective in their school, because I can’t imagine that any school adding on a new a new, a new course because they just don’t have the room for the time. 


Paul Hemphill  15:58  

But they could use the videos as what I call an inspiration moment. Every morning before the first class begins when all the kids are coming into into the school and sitting down in their home room and, and doing nothing but waiting for the bell to ring while they’re texting their friends next in the at the desk next door. They could watch the video. And and the teacher would probably watch the video as well, hey, this is pretty cool stuff. You know?


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  16:25  

Yeah. How long are the videos? 


Paul Hemphill  16:27  

anywhere from five to seven minutes.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  16:29  

Love it. Yes, a lot of schools have advisories at that kind of a 15 minute 20 minute where they check in with students and talk about what’s going on and, you know, upcoming events or assemblies or anything. So yeah, that people schedules would work for that. Or it could be a part of a US history class or any class, an ethics class in a philosophy or religion setting. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  16:57  

So yeah, I could see five to seven minutes. And it could even be Hey, guys, we’re gonna watch this. And then your homework is to think about a couple of ways it applies in your life. 


Paul Hemphill  17:07  

Well, you know, it’s kind of interesting this, this one teacher in Oklahoma said, the kids really liked the length of the videos, what she was telling me was, my kids have really short attention spans, and your videos really work for them. And so, because I was told a long time ago, by by YouTube, don’t make your videos any longer than 10 minutes, you’re going to lose them. So I figured anything under 10 minutes, I’ve got a winning formula here. 


Paul Hemphill  17:34  

So the formula is pretty simple. You tell a story, you use video, you keep it short, and you reveal with the life lessons that can be learned from the stories. That’s it very simple. And the teachers can copy that pattern to use in any history course, whether it’s World War Two, the Progressive Era, or whatever the teaching that semester, they can assign a book, just one book to each student in the semester time, and have each student come back with three stories that they can discuss in the class. And then the whole class can decide which of the three stories is the most effective. 


Paul Hemphill  18:09  

And then from there, they can go to the to the school’s video department, and create a video on that story. And that student can get the sense that Wow, my video is going to is going to help educate my classmates. And it’s very hands on obviously, it really engages the student. And all they had to do was written, rip off my video series in a nice way, of course, and just copy copy the formula. I mean, come on, let’s do it!


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  18:41  

And not just social studies, I can see this applying across the curriculum. And anytime we get to the stories what people want to know the stories first, why did the author write this? How did this scientific invention come to be getting to the stories in any subject matter? hooks, as in and then you can tell us logistics and things and theories and etc. So I see this being a brilliant recipe for all teachers.


Paul Hemphill  19:07  

Well, if you go on the TED Talk series, you’ll find a fellow by the name of Khan, who has a what is called the Khan Academy in New York. And his whole TED talk is about using video. How about that? And he’s using video to teach math. Whoo.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  19:26  

And it’s gone viral. And it’s been used in school districts and around the world in poor countries. Yes, so the Khan Academy has made a huge change in learning and I think it’s also helped us as we’ve gone into remote learning and, and online classes. I think Sal Khan really pushed the envelope and hit the ripple effect has been enormous. I agree. 


Paul Hemphill  19:50  



Maureen O’Shaughnessy  19:50  

Anything else you would encourage for any teachers listening?


Paul Hemphill  19:53  

Yeah, I like to say to history teachers in particular, don’t teach history. instead, Sell history. 


Paul Hemphill  20:01  

Now what do I mean by that? When we all purchase something, we have answered a question in advance that makes the purchase possible. The question we all ask is, well, what’s in it for me if I buy this product, or in a more banal way, we ask, What’s in it for me if I buy this can of paint, which is something I had to do this weekend, by the way on my deck? For five, or if I buy this car, we all assume the answer, which leads us to the purchase now, students are no different. When they walk into a history class, what are they asking, subconsciously? What’s in it for me if I learned this history stuff? 


Paul Hemphill  20:35  

And history teachers, if you’re not answering that question, they’re not buying, because your way of teaching history doesn’t sell the student on why they should learn history. So make it personal, use an emotional connection, like a story, and then ask the student what lessons they can gain from what they just watched On the video.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  20:55  

I would even go a step further, because I love what you’re saying. And I asked the teachers, if you can’t find what’s in it for the students, why in the world? Are you doing this? If you just like talking about the subject? Is This Really? You know, do you want kids tuned out, so you’ve got to find what’s in it for the students and sell it, it’s not optional. 


Paul Hemphill  21:15  

There you go. There you go. Bingo. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  21:18  

Paul, this is amazing. And in the show notes, I will have access to your website and to the books that you’ve written. And just you have so much on positivity and, and on how students deserve to shine, and the whole Gettysberg series. So there’s so much and I’ll get it in the show notes so people can dive in and learn more about you. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  21:38  

And I want us to spend a little time now, learning a bit more about you and do some turbo time questions. 


Paul Hemphill  21:45  

Okay. Uh Oh, 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  21:47  

yeah. Okay, get ready. This is like speed dating, it’s gonna go fast. What’s the last book you read?


Paul Hemphill  21:56  

The last book I read was hollowed out by Jeremy Adams. And it’s basically as it says on the cover, it’s a warning about America’s next generation. It’s a really, really important book, I would suggest that if you’re a parent, you need to, to read this thing. I will tell you that it will scare the hell out of you. I hadn’t gotten to the end yet. Usually the end is what the author recommends to make things better. Right, right. I’m at the point where I am getting really depressed. When I’m reading, oh, it’s pretty bad. It’s pretty bad what’s happening in our schools? And so yeah, I’d recommend hitting that.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  22:39  

Okay. Now, how about two inspirational folks, you’d love to meet


Paul Hemphill  22:45  

Aristotle. And Abraham Lincoln. Aristotle was, from my point of view, a kind of a non fictional poet, where, because he had no access to staples, or barrels of bank and lots of paper, he had to measure every single word that he put down on parchment, so that he would cross it out and replace it with something where everything had to be perfect. 


Paul Hemphill  23:17  

And as a result of, of that technique that the ancient Greeks had to use, it taught me as a philosophy major in college, that I could defy use the same technique of saying an awful lot in so few words that would help. So as a result, I got into the advertising business. And I wrote radio and television commercials for years. That would summarize a guy’s 20 years in business in 30 seconds. Wow, how do you do that? And so, so Aristotle taught me how to do that. 


Paul Hemphill  23:54  

And now by contrast, Abraham Lincoln, who was perhaps the least educated president, we ever had, in our, in our White House, wrote two of the most inspiring speeches in American history, the second inaugural address, and the Gettysburg Address. The gettysburg address is like 270 words, that was delivered in two minutes. 


Paul Hemphill  24:19  

During that Gettysburg event where he delivered the address. The guy who was actually commissioned to give what was referred to them as the Gettysburg Address was a guy by the name of Edward Everett. He spent two hours or reading about the battle. Lincoln gets up in two minutes, and says what he has to say and ever walked up to him afterwards. He said, Mr. President, I wish I could have done what you did in two minutes is what took me two hours to do. You’re able to do it in two minutes. So it was it was significant. 


Paul Hemphill  24:53  

And so, Lincoln and Aristotle would would be my two choices.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  24:59  

I love And it’s definitely an art to be succinct and even asking kids to summarize something they’ve read, it takes a lot of work. There’s I forget if it was Abe Lincoln who said it, I, I would have written you a shorter letter, but I didn’t have enough time. You know, it’s easy to go on and on and on. But to get clear and concise? what a skill. So I’m with you on that. 


Paul Hemphill  25:23  

Yeah, that’s why my book, for example, my chapters are no longer than two pages, typically. Because I don’t want you to spend a lot of time on it. You don’t have to write so nice.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  25:33  

Yep. How about a TED talk that inspires you?


Paul Hemphill  25:37  

Ah, ah, there was a time that was given by a lady in Philadelphia, who was a school teacher, a school principal. And, and she talked about how it was she, she was the principal of one of the most dangerous, high school environments in the country, he was on the country’s top five worst high schools in the country, or most dangerous high schools in the country. And she gave a TED talk on what she had to do. And she summarized it by saying that she had to lead ferociously, or something to that effect. And she did a marvelous job. If you ever get a chance to watch it, I would certainly recommend it.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  26:26  

Wow, I’ll definitely look that up, watch it and put it in the show notes. Thank you. What’s the biggest thing you wish folks knew about the art of guiding learning,


Paul Hemphill  26:40  

I would probably suggest to people that you really need to give kids a lot more credit than you’re prepared to give them assume that your kids are going to get it based upon your responsibility of communicating precisely and accurately. So the challenge and the burden is on you not on your kids. Does that make any sense?


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  27:05  

Absolutely. It does. Yeah, they’re capable. If we set it up, right? Ask the right questions, hook them in? I agree. 


Paul Hemphill  27:14  



Maureen O’Shaughnessy  27:15  

how about a pet peeve of yours.


Paul Hemphill  27:17  

I would say the distractions that I get from my iPhone all day long. You know, my wife keeps reminding me, you’re going to keep your phone open in case you get that phone call from that foundation that wants to give you a million dollars. And so she has to be hypersensitive to that. And it drives me crazy. Sometimes I just have to turn it off and leave it downstairs. And of course, my wife comes upstairs, she says you forgot your phone. This phone to have it with you all the time.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  27:53  

technology is a huge distraction as much as it can be a tool. I completely agree. It can be annoying. drives me nuts. What’s the passion you bring to your message?


Paul Hemphill  28:06  

I would say it has everything to do with commitment to what it is that you see is necessary for the improvement of what it is that you’re working on. If you see something that’s wrong, and you know, you can correct it. You do it. And you do it with commitment. And that commitment is what provides the passion. And the motivation. The animation, if you will, to strive on. Yeah, 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  28:39  

Yeah, it does. I like that. Paul, how about something that most folks don’t know about you? 


Paul Hemphill  28:49  

Oh, I don’t want them to know, I don’t want them to know a thing!


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  28:53  

There’s got to be something. 


Paul Hemphill  28:55  

No! well, let’s see. What is it? The don’t know, I would have to say that. Yeah, I guess for I guess for the first 41 years of my life. I had a very, very low level self esteem. I never really thought of doing much except for one thing. I always considered myself to be a very creative person. 


Paul Hemphill  29:23  

And as a result, people thought Wow, you’re really creative and coming up with that commercial for that for that client on Main Street or whatever. I say yeah, yeah. Okay, fine. But other than that, I didn’t really think much of it until I read this book called Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell maltz. And I would say the first chapter of that book changed my life forever. 


Paul Hemphill  29:47  

And the summarize the book is that you can be whatever you want to be depending upon what you house in your brain. You can control how you respond to things based upon what you’re willing to accept, if you say that you’re not capable of something, well guess what? Your brain will tell you, you’re not capable of something. 


Paul Hemphill  30:10  

And if you tell yourself that you’re that you are capable of doing something that you’re going to accomplish something, and you do it in the present tense, chances are really good, you’re gonna accomplish something. It was a life changer. And and since then, since that book, I’ve, I’ve been listening to motivational tapes, I’ve read motivational books. And my book is basically a result of all of that. And I had one reviewer say, lately, a couple of months ago, he said, if if Tony Robbins had been around in 1863, at Gettysburg, he would have written this book. And I thought, Wow, that’s pretty cool. I just I loved it. I loved it. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  30:49  

Yes. And it is it is motivational. you’ve pulled out these shining examples. And that’s uplifting, and that’s inspiring. And that helps us think about what we can do instead of telling ourselves what we can’t do. I completely agree. 


Paul Hemphill  31:06  

Right? Great. Great. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  31:08  

So Paul, I and my podcast interviews with a magic wand moment. So if you had one wish for the impact that learning could have on our youth, what would it be? You obviously don’t want kids to memorize facts and stats? What impact do you want learning to have for our youth? 


Paul Hemphill  31:31  

Great, I want them to get an emotional connection to what it is they’re learning. If they can get that emotional connection, their learning processes will expand marvelously. 


Paul Hemphill  31:47  

And it begins with the teachers accepting the fact that they have to teach in a way that emotionally connects their subject to their students. If they can do that, wow, we’re going to have a much more intelligent group of students in the years ahead. I’m just, I just get a little frustrated when I listen to a recent immigrant from Iran, who has been over here for the last 10 years. And he he is convinced from his own experience between his education in Iran and his education here. He believes that our education system is making our kids dumber. And that’s just one person’s observation. But you know, it’s a lot of people watching that interview on TV and agreeing with them. 


Paul Hemphill  32:38  

And how that Yeah, exactly. And, and so I say, let’s get our kids emotionally connected with what it is they’re learning. And they’ll look forward to going to school. How about that?


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  32:52  

That would be the ideal, wouldn’t it? 


Paul Hemphill  32:54  



Maureen O’Shaughnessy  32:55  

 Paul, thank you so much for joining me today. I really appreciate all you’re doing for kids and, and this wonderful series that’s absolutely free. What a gift.


Paul Hemphill  33:06  

Thank you so much. And I really appreciate the opportunity to talk to your audience to talk to you your questions are excellent. I just love the way the interview went. And in the best of luck in your endeavors as well.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  33:21  

Thank you.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  33:31  

I think it’s interesting that both Paul and I listened to our children, and hearing their lack of success and engagement spurred us on to create change. Our kids can nudge us to engage that passion and turn it into commitment. Just like Paul was telling us. I encourage parents and teachers to check out Paul’s Gettysburg video series. What a fun activity to weave into a classroom or for a family to undertake together. I definitely want to explore this resource at my micro school. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  34:06  

We all want an emotional connection to what we do. I get a huge connection from working with the students, teachers and families at LEED prep my micro school. And another connection from interviewing wonderful education evolution podcast guests. Simon Sinek has written about the Golden Circle philosophy. And the related TED talk on how great leaders inspire action is in the show notes in his diagram of golden circles, the inner circle where we’re supposed to start holds the first thing we want to know the why. Why does this matter? Why is this important to me? 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  34:48  

This is exactly what Paul is talking about with emotional connection. Too often school content focuses on the outer circle of what needs to be learned. But if we start with the word Why, and then move out a little bit to the how. And then finally to the outer circle of the what listeners and students are much more likely to be engaged. When Paul talked about the Greek philosophers ability to craft a message succinctly, it made me think of my interview with john Bergman on flipped learning. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  35:22  

In Episode Three, he explained his model of teachers getting to the heart of the lesson, and recording a short video summary for the students to watch prior to come into class. This replaces a long, dreary lecture. And when kids get to class they can unpack the learning with the teachers guidance during the class. So it means the teacher goes from being the sage on the stage to the guide on the side and get to mentor and personalize and kids become the expert and owner of their learning, engagement and relationships skyrocket in the flipped learning model. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  36:02  

Our teachers at lead prep have been using this flipped model from the start. I haven’t heard of Linda clit woman’s how to fix a broken school lead fearlessly love hard TED talk, and I can’t wait to listen to it. It’s linked in the show notes. My final pondering is of the vital importance that we create the experience that Paul had to gain self confidence. We need to provide them with positive messages and help them internalize and produce positive self talk. There’s a great deal of research that supports goal achievement by creating affirmations in the present tense to own our capabilities. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  36:47  

A famous Henry Ford quote sums it up. Whether you think you can or think you can’t. You’re right. And this emphasizes how much attitude determines success or failure. Bottom line, we can interrupt the pattern on anything we want to change and make it better. We can shift rote memorization of facts and statistics to learning with emotional connections. We can shift from teaching to selling so that students see what’s in it for them, and how the learning applies to their real lives. I’m so grateful for Paul, and others who create resources and share them so generously, to make learning come alive for our precious learners. As always, thank you for being a part of the education evolution.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  37:47  

If you’re finding yourself thinking, I need to do this in my school. Let’s talk about it. I consult and also have a book TEDx talk an online course to support starting learner driven schools and programs. My goal is to help schools and individuals find new innovative solutions to reaching every student. Let’s create an action plan together. Visit to book a call and let’s get started. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  38:23  

Education Evolution listeners, you are the ones to ensure we create classrooms where each student is seen, heard, valued and thriving. We need you. Let’s go out and reach every student today. I’d be so grateful if you’d head over to your podcast app to give a great rating and review if you found this episode valuable. Don’t wait. Please do it right now before you forget. I really appreciate it. Thank you listeners signing off. This is Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your partner in boldly reimagining education.


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