With our current top-down education model, where the bottom line at the administrative level seems to be more important than whether our kids learn, creativity has been thrown out the window. We’re teaching to the test, rather than fostering the four C’s (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication), tools that are necessary in our workforce.
What if our curriculum focused on creative problem solving that’s realistic and engaging, that our kids are excited about learning?
This week on the podcast, we’re talking to author Chad Stewart, who has created a media empire that brings the world of Britfield to kids across the globe. His realistic adventure series and workshops model how to engage students in the classroom and out. In the conversation, we talk about bringing more fun into classrooms, how to make writing easier for authors, and how to open opportunities for learners.
Listen in now!
About Chad Stewart:
Welcome to the World of Britfield: a media empire that is impacting and improving education, literacy, and media while bringing encouragement to children and families worldwide. One of the most awarded books in fiction, Britfield & the Lost Crown is taking the World by Storm. This timeless adventure series is transforming literature while fostering creativity and critical thinking. Seven extraordinary movies (2023) will follow the 7-book series.
Born in Newport Beach, California, Chad Robert Stewart is an award-winning and bestselling author, international strategist, prominent speaker, and creativity educator. He founded the prestigious Britfield Institute, a non-profit dedicated to creativity and literacy; and Devonfield, a media empire committed to the highest quality in education, publishing, and film production. He received a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature and European History from Brown University; earned an M.B.A. from Boston College; and is pursuing a Master of Science in Advanced Management and a PhD in Creativity and Innovation at Claremont Graduate University. Now based in San Diego, he is a strong supporter of education and the Arts; professor at Fermanian School of Business, Point Loma Nazarene University; and Past President (Board of Directors) of the San Diego Ballet.
Jump in the Conversation:
- [3:52] Striving for excellence in a profession
- [5:49] More than a book; it’s a movement
- [8:55] Children are no different based on their geography
- [10:06] Good ideas take time
- [13:15] Focusing on engagement in writing
- [14:12] Write about what you know and love
- [17:20] What we can do to be equally engaging in education
- [18:48] Bring creativity back in classroom
- [20:02] The four C’s – creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication
- [23:04] Provide as many opportunities as possible for creativity
- [26:58] What’s next in Chad’s mission
- [33:19] Turnkey play turns equity opportunity
- [42:16] Turbo Time
- [49:01] Chad’s Magic Wand
- [54:02] Maureen’s takeaways
- [54:20] Google’s 20% rule
Links & Resources:
- Britfield Website
- Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory author)
- Runaway Ralph one of many timeless books by Beverly Cleary
- Sir Ken Robinson’s Do Schools Kill Creativity TED Talk
- Book: Coloring Outside the Lines
- The 4 C’s in Wake County, NC
- TR: The Last Romantic (Teddy Roosevelt’s biography)
- Article: Google’s Famous 20% Policy
- Email Maureen
- Maureen’s TEDx talk: Changing My Mind to Change Our Schools
- The Education Evolution
- Facebook: Follow Education Evolution
- Twitter: Follow Education Evolution
- LinkedIn: Follow Education Evolution
- EdActive Collective
- Maureen’s book: Creating Micro-Schools for Colorful Mismatched Kids
- Micro-school feature on Good Morning America
- The Micro-School Coalition
- Facebook: The Micro-School Coalition
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 Edactive. 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
Hi, Chad. So good to have you.
Chad Stewart 1:11
Thank you. Excited to be here.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:14
And listeners. Today I’m chatting with the force behind the britfield movement. Chad is a creativity expert, educator and author. His series of exciting adolescent young adult literature fills a huge gap in engaging media that inspires creativity and critical thinking. Let’s hear about Chad’s mission.
Chad Stewart 1:36
Well, thank you. Thank you for giving me some time. Yeah, it’s interesting. I’m originally from Newport Beach, California. I was back east for 16 years, I was living in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and I did my undergraduate graduate work there. My undergraduate was in British Literature, European history, which will explain a little bit of the book series. And it was over 10 years ago that I was actually and then I got into banking and finance.
Chad Stewart 1:59
And so it was a little over 10 years ago, I was down at this really boring seminar in Providence, Rhode Island, and I started to drift and I started to doodle. Then I doodle the simple circle three lines a basket when a girl and I broke the boy in the balloon and for some reason that idea that doodle resonated with me and I started to see this whole story come to life and it’s it’s kind of funny, cuz I had no idea I just thought, what a neat what a neat story I just saw this was boring this girl in a balloon and I thought, and so I went home that weekend and I just on one piece of piece of paper, I started to outline it with little bullet points real simple.
Chad Stewart 2:32
And I said okay, where does it take place? What takes place in England, present time we started up at Yorkshire Northern England up in the kind of the Moore’s and the wind and the desolate, you know, setting the rocky Moore’s and Heather blowing and all that kind of stuff. And it starts at whether they castle, or whether they orphanage this really horrible, horrible place, then our two main characters, Tom and Sarah, were both 12 years old are orphans.
Chad Stewart 2:55
And Tom’s been an orphan his whole life. And he’s been at weatherley for six years. And this is the year that he vows to escape. And that was kind of how the whole thing started. I thought that’s kind of cool, right? Like, okay, we know he’s going, he’s gonna escape this miserable place. And his destination is London, just the greatest city in the world, you know, he doesn’t know better, but it’s like London, I want to get to London. Real simple.
Chad Stewart 3:15
So I think I say a lot of the students in the sense of where ideas come from, they don’t need to be hugely thought out. They don’t need to be complex, so many great things to start with simple idea. And then eventually they escape and they come into your hot air balloon, you can see that kind of behind me. And they’re there. But they’re relentlessly chased by detective Gower Stone, who’s renowned for capturing missing children in lost orphans. And so that was it.
Chad Stewart 3:41
And I sat down, and I started to write it. And it took me four years and 2500 hours to write and finish Britfield’s last crown. And I think it says a lot about striving for excellence, and that, you know, nothing comes easy. And like I said, many times the difference between a hobby and a profession is about eight to 10,000 hours of dedication, or at least a decade of hard work. And so really, from that concept, that simple Doodle, to writing the book to actually launching it, we nationally launched book one on August 15 2019.
Chad Stewart 4:16
So might seem like a long time ago, but really not that long ago. And since then, it’s become a bestseller. It’s actually one of the most awarded books and children’s fiction that I had no, no idea on. And lations Yeah, some of our favorite awards are parents choice, gold medal, mom’s choice, gold medal, literary classic gold medal. So just amazing awards, national international Book Awards, and I think through the process, at the time, I was just thinking one book, have fun with it, I thought maybe 250 pages that ended up to be about 384 pages.
Chad Stewart 4:47
And and I started to see the whole series because I’m like, gosh, you need just book one to really kind of get into it. And so it’s now seven book series. Every book will take place in a different country. So book one is in England, Tom and Sarah 12. Book Two takes place. France, Tom and Sarah 13, we launched to Brookfield in the rise of the lion, just July 4, and it’s already a best seller. So that’s great.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 5:09
Chad Stewart 5:10
This is 474 pages. So it’s like wow. And it is really cool because it’s the feedback has been amazing, really across the nation and abroad, and our youngest readers, and seven or oldest readers, but a 93 year old woman who read the last round in five hours and loved it. And it’s just amazing feedback from all these different demographics, backgrounds, boys, girls, children, doesn’t really matter what they like, or what kind of literature they write, or they read, or they don’t read, everyone seems really, really enjoy and love Britfield. And that’s really been fantastic. And that’s, in many ways how it was designed.
Chad Stewart 5:43
And if we have time, I could talk about that, but briefly it became more than a book. And we say we say it’s more than a book. It’s a movement. It’s a movement in literacy and creativity, and communication and critical thinking. And it’s really our focus is to bring creativity back into the classroom. And so we launched a national tour, and book tour, and I now live in San Diego, California. And so we drove all the way up the coast long story short, we ended up driving 9000 miles 23 states presented in more than 180 schools to over 40,000 students. And it’s everything from private to public to homeschool to charter to you name it, I’ve been there.
Chad Stewart 6:24
And it was amazing, it was really great to sort of just see the different dynamics, the different landscapes of everything from Oklahoma, to Kansas to Seattle, you know, to, to Yeah, I love Seattle, that was a great had a great time there, and Tacoma, and great schools there, but and then all the way down to New Orleans, and Jackson, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee. So it was really an amazing, amazing,
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 6:50
and you know, your audience, you were engaged with them and getting feedback from them. So you you’re not writing to this group out there, you really know who they are, that’s important.
Chad Stewart 7:01
That was and we’re doing it for many reasons. One was, you know, to launch the book, and from a marketing side, but it was really for, like, 10 different reasons. One was I was very curious to get a sense of the landscape. And, and that demographic, you know, do they like to read? Are they reading? What’s happening with ebooks? Is that really a big deal? And so many things, I talked with the librarians and finding out, you know, where are they now with stories? And what do people read?
Chad Stewart 7:25
I mean, it was through the process that we learned about a car accelerate accelerated reader that a lot of schools and libraries do and so we immediately got it, you know, an accelerated reader will come into, yeah, some kids will come into the library, and they will, they won’t take any other book, unless it’s an AR rated book, because what happens is, they’ll read it, they take a test, and then they get points for it. And so the points become kind of a fun thing. But no, it’s just it was for many, many, many reasons. One thing is I found that we were selling four out of five hardcover, or softcover, which was interesting.
Chad Stewart 7:59
But most kids love the book, they love the paperback, there’s this big push for everything to be on the computer. And it’s like kids are like no, enough of that. And the E book market has really stagnated or really plateaued at about 8%. And they were thinking would be 30%. So that was really interesting, and finding, you know, it’s just Fascinating. And then just talking to him, like, you know, what, what’s out there. Now, what do you like? How do you read, have you purchase it stuff, and just a lot of great feedback.
Chad Stewart 8:25
And I’d give a presentation for about an hour, you can imagine, sometimes in an auditorium of 300 plus students we did wonderful presentation up at oaks Christian in LA, which is one of these very prestigious schools and there was 130 students, and I had a movie size screen behind me, which was really cool little Mike it was, it was awesome. And then everything, and then I’ve done like a little homeschool group on a farm out in Carson, Nevada. So it’s just that every situation is wonderful. And the kids are amazing.
Chad Stewart 8:55
And I think you know, one question is, how different are children, you know, from a top private school to Memphis, Tennessee to Kansas. And they’re no different kids, especially at that age from 10 to 12. Kids are kids, kids are amazing. Kids are extremely talented. They’re very curious. They’re just the embodiment of wonderment. And I saw no difference. I mean, literally, I went we did a special type of program in Dallas, Texas with Title One schools. And you can tell me that you sort of drive into the area and just the school and the feeling.
Chad Stewart 9:35
But the kids were amazing, and they were engaged and I had no issues I have had I’ve had no problems on the entire tour. And I think part of it is I get in there as an award winning author and so that’s exciting for them to hear about this new book and the presentation for kids it’s like they’re so hungry for anything different any any extracurricular activity that it’s like, oh wow, this author’s coming and it’s like so they’re they’re already engaged. I’ll get up there. And I’ll talk a little bit about Brookfield.
Chad Stewart 10:02
But really what I’m up there is I’m there, number one, to really encourage them and let them know that, that they’re all born with talent, that they all are born creative, to trust their ideas, to trust their instincts, but I tell them, I said, sometimes you might have an idea. And it might take three, 5, 10, even 20 years to realize, and I give him my own example, that I had this doodle and it took me over 10 years for my idea, my concept, hard work, patience, failure, dedication, to finally launching it. And then I talked about companies like Pixar and Toy Story how that took over 10 years. I talked about George Lucas and Star Wars, and, and how when he wrote his first script, and took it out to Hollywood, it was rejected by every single person in Hollywood. Nobody wanted it, no one believed in it, no one thought it would be successful.
Chad Stewart 10:49
And so I don’t just talk about myself, but I, you know, I give them examples like who can’t resonate with Toy Story or Star Wars. And, and so it’s, it’s there to encourage them. But it’s not a flashover substance, hey, you can do anything and all this other kind of nonsense and stuff. Because we live in that flashover substance, I want it now. And it’s like, we have to wait for more than five minutes. And so I think the children really resonate with the fact that I’m there because I want to be there. I’m not trying to sell them anything. And I’m, and I’m honest, and I’ll be honest, I could be 45 minutes into it, and, and you care, pindrop there’s no wrestling, there’s no mischief, there’s no whispering, all eyes are glued. And of course, it’s a presentation.
Chad Stewart 11:28
So we’ve got great pictures, and we’ve got some trailers to watch. And so it’s, it’s fun, and it’s engaging, and I just keep it moving, and I keep it very entertaining. And then we get to the end, and, you know, 250 students, and we get into the q&a section, and all sudden, it’s like, there’s always that kind of, you know, stall, and then the one hand goes up, and another hand goes up in another hand, and I will be there answering questions for 2025 minutes, when teachers are kind of saying, We’ve got to wrap it up. And it’s like, there’s like, 40, hands still up. And so the kids are so engaged, they’re so encouraged to ask questions. And the questions are amazing.
Chad Stewart 12:01
I mean, I’ve heard practically everything, but some of the best questions I get are from 10 year olds, you know, or 11 year olds, and they’re like, they’re like, you know, like just just the adversary and in a literary novel have to be a person or, you know, be just suddenly like, you’re like, yeah, you’re like, Whoa, like, fantastic, you know, and, and it’s just, it’s, I think they feel comfortable now. And I think a lot of people that have children that have never asked a question, or always intimidate someone say, hey, I want to ask this, but you know, what do you think about this? And you’re always encouraging, they’re like, hey, that’s a great question. Or, you know what, I didn’t think about that, or, Oh, I love that question. And you’re just giving them that kind of encouragement.
Chad Stewart 12:38
And it’s so important. In a society, an assistant who just finished in a society, this system is built on, right and wrong, yet, and I mean,
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 12:45
Yeah, the gray area. and I’m not surprised that your presentations are wildly engaging, because your books are and you and I had talked before. As an educator and a mom, I love it. When my kids are engaged in something that’s also super educational, and you have this stealth education going on. We know geography and history are not areas that kids are well versed in, how when you’re writing, how did you focus on engagement and education and what went into such a quality award winning product?
Chad Stewart 13:24
Yeah, and it’s interesting, I’ve every everywhere that books take place, places I have visited and so but one of those in England, but choosing France, book threes in Italy, which we’re kind of finished now. It’s in the editing process, and Thomas era 14, and then Eastern Europe, Russia and Asian China, South America, and the United States. And I think it is interesting because it’s number one. I wanted to write a book in England because I loving, I’ve always loved England. I lived there off and on for about two years. I was a British literature major.
Chad Stewart 13:53
So it was I my experiences in England, my experiences with the people, with the culture, with all of it, I wanted to bring into my books, so the readers could experience it, too. And it was my way of sharing my love for that country. Just like maybe you took this wonderful trip in Hawaii, or the Grand Canyon, or you know, Australia, you know what I mean? And it’s like, and I always said, like, two things about writing as you write about what you know, and you write about what you love, and that, that passion comes out.
Chad Stewart 14:21
And so, so it was very interesting that I wanted it more than just a fast paced adventure novel, I wanted it to be something where it was a learning book, and I love history, and an education. And so as children are reading it, they’re learning about, they’re learning about British history, they’re learning about geography, we’ve got five wonderful maps in front of them in the book, and I thought, you know, you’ll see many books like that, and I think to even like with something like Lord of the Rings, which you know, is one of the classics. It’s also this post apocalyptic world.
Chad Stewart 14:50
And it’s kind of that high, high level of fantasy so kids can ever really relate to that. I don’t think there’s a child that cannot relate to the last crowd because it takes place in present time. Doesn’t have magic or witchcraft or demigods or superheroes. Because you know, that’s all that kind of flesh over substance, it’s like you’ll never, you’ll never be able to fly. You know what I mean? You’ll never be wave one solve your problems. And so I think they can connect with Sarah they can connect with Tom. And it’s actually real locations.
Chad Stewart 15:18
And so all the places that Thomas are go are there, everything is accurate. I mean, everything for the maps to the one way streets, to the names to the different buildings. And so it just it that kind of authenticity. Just really, I think grounds the reader and anchors a minute, and what’s great with our website, which is another, like our award winning website, refilled.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 15:40
I love Love, love you. It was like it sucked me in instantly. So I can see why it’s award winning.
Chad Stewart 15:46
And I always wanted to do that. So I wanted to so many websites, if not, if not most, it’s like, it’s like you go to them. And then within five minutes, you’ve seen it all you’ve done it and I wanted Redfield to be something where it’s like, you could spend time on it. And it’s like, you go here and there, and so has over 400 pictures of England. And so everywhere where Tom and Sarah go, it’s like you can go to the website and say, Oh, that’s Hyde Park, or, oh, there’s the serpentine lake or Oxford or it’s like, oh, there’s there’s high there’s high street, there’s the red, double decker, red Boston, it’s just a great way to get them more engaged in real things.
Chad Stewart 16:18
And history, and especially the visual. And it’s like, you know, I believe that we’ve impacted so many children with just the wonderment of England that, you know, in 510 20 years, they’ll go and it’s like, they’ll remember it’s like I read that book, ribulose crown and I had to come to England, I had to see it. And so yeah, we’re trying to pull them out of their little bubble to kind of call America like The Truman Show. It’s like we’re all in our bubble. You know what I mean? There is another world out there, there are other countries and cultures, and everyone is just amazing.
Chad Stewart 16:49
And yeah, so none of it is ever designed to be negative. Although it has a sort of royal mystery and thread to it. It’s, you know, I picked France because I love France and some of the locations in Italy are amazing. It’s got incredible structures and buildings. And you know, so
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 17:05
So Chad, I have to make, and this is education evolution. I have to have you connect the dots for us, what you’re putting into your website and into your books and into your movement and into your book becoming a movie, which congratulations is amazing. There’s got to be a lesson here for what we can be doing to be equally engaging and relevant in education. What to you are the takeaways that we should be applying to education?
Chad Stewart 17:32
Yeah, that’s your question. I try to use like Britfield as sort of a platform. I think number one, it’s a lot of fun. And although it took a lot of work and discipline to write it, I tried to write a story that was fun. And it’s like, you know, it’s everything from the oppressive orphanage to suddenly being inside and spending the night at Windsor Castle, you know what I mean? And, and I think what it is, is it’s a lot of what ifs and in a society and generation in a time where it’s like you cannot do that can’t is that was a great poem out there called Cant is like the worst words you could ever say because you know, anything is possible.
Chad Stewart 18:06
And so it’s inspiring children and it’s but it’s but it’s grounding. In an honesty. Emerson said, If you hook your wagon to a star, have enough sense to keep your wheels on the ground. And I love that it’s that balance. It’s not like, yes, you can do anything. It’s like, you can but it’s gonna take hard work and discipline, but it’s worth it. And honestly, they often say it’s like, the journey is really amazing. Because once you get there, you’re like, Okay, cool. I’ve achieved that. You know what I mean.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 18:28
Chad Stewart 18:29
like, it’s the journey. It’s the struggles. It’s the character building along the way. So I think, just to me, I’ve always said this, opening up as many doors of opportunity to students is amazing. And especially from an educational standpoint. So whether it’s a homeschooler, or an educator or school or a classroom, bring creativity back in the classroom. Yes, I understand you’re under a lot of these, in many ways, false, you know, tests that you have to do and, and certain qualifications and so you always be pushed and fine. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.
Chad Stewart 19:02
But I think if you can bring creativity into the classroom, once a week, I mean, once a month at the minimum, but once a week, and maybe it’s just on Wednesdays, it’s Wednesday afternoon, from one to his creative creativity hour, and we’re going to do something fun today, we’re going to get in groups of four or five or let’s let’s what would be a great product to what you spend five minutes thinking about it. Talk to the person next to you and write it down on a piece of paper would be a fun product, what’s needed out there?
Chad Stewart 19:29
What could we market, or let’s write a story today, what would be a great story. I do that exercise. I love it. I’ve done it in a couple classrooms and I’ll come in and I’ll say, Okay, this is the exercise. Let’s get into groups four to five, you never want more than five because it’s a tipping point. And then and then pick a team captain of each group. And what you’re going to do is spend 5, 10 minutes. I just got this huge budget from Paramount Pictures, we’ve got it, we’ve got to do this movie. What movie are we going to do?
Chad Stewart 19:57
And then I give some ideas, you know, is it a romantic? Is it a historical drama, you know, or an action thriller? Is it sci-fi? And then each little group starts to, you know, think about it, what would be if and then I come around and I kind of encourage them on that. What are you guys working on? Okay, that’s great. Well, what about this? What about that, then it comes to the next group. And I just get about, you know, 10, 15 minutes. And already what I’ve done in that five to 10 minutes is I’ve engaged the creativity, I’ve engaged the critical thinking, I’ve engaged the collaboration, and I’ve engaged the communication, those are the four C’s. And I’ve done that in 10, 15 minutes.
Chad Stewart 20:26
And then we go round, and we pick we pick the best idea, you know, we’re when, so the leader now gets up and pitches it and says, what we’re thinking of doing, it’s blah, blah, blah, someone else gets up, and then we go, Okay, well, class, let’s vote on it. And we vote on the most the best idea and I say, Okay, great. Let’s start and I just pull up a one screen thing. And it’s really just the layout of a script. And it’s beginning.
Chad Stewart 20:46
And then it’s like, that’s the inciting incident plot point, one midpoint plot point to conclusion, it’s really simple. And but it’s a kind of a guide, and I said, Okay, where does it start? And it’s just like, you know, what needs an action adventure. And so when does it start? What country? Or is it here in the United States? Okay, what time of the year, and I just all I’m doing is I’m asking a lot of questions, and, and just the involvement.
Chad Stewart 21:08
And it’s funny, too, because I’ll walk into a classroom and you can already tell certain kids that are sort of intimidated, or they never get enrolled. And I say something like, 1520 minutes. They’re the ones that are sitting here giving you the zingers. You know, it’s like, and we’ve created some amazing stories in that, like, let’s call it 15 minute, or an hour session, and I’ll be honest, we never finished the story. Because it’s just not enough time. But that’s not really the point of it. The point of it is, being able to eat Yeah, it’s opening up your mind, it’s thinking outside the box.
Chad Stewart 21:39
It’s like, it’s that, hey, guess what, there is no one right answer, you know, any of these could be great. It could take place in Colorado, could be in Arizona, you know, it could be in Chicago, it’s like it just depends. It’s like, there’s no you know, any of those will work, you know what I mean? And, and it’s just getting them thinking, it’s getting them thinking, it’s getting them thinking, I guarantee you, when the semester ends, they’ll probably remember very little from the class.
Chad Stewart 22:01
And it’s not a criticism with the teacher, but very little from the class. they’ll remember that exercise and that exercise will stay with them for the rest of their lives. And they’ll remember what it felt like to think outside the box to approach something creatively you unleashed it, that’s what’s so great about creativity. The second you bring it in, it unleashes something . there’s a great quote that I can’t think of the it’s the author of Charlie in the Chocolate Factory.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 22:29
Chad Stewart 22:29
And James. Yeah, James, the Giant Peach. And it was really I just recently saw a wonderful documentary on fascinating and he said, Every child is born with inspiration. But it’s finding a way to trigger that inspiration or that spark and I thought, Oh, isn’t that great? That’s so true. It’s like it’s there. This candle is inside them, but it’s figuring out a way to light it, you know, to get them engaged?
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 22:51
Chad Stewart 22:53
And I just love that. I love that quote. But Yeah, it’s just it really is it simple nothing none of this needs to cost money and not throwing money at it. If you’re if your mother or father provide as many opportunities for your child if he wants, if he’s into building, get him building blocks, get him Legos, let him play with that. I mean, I loved building blocks when I was younger.
Chad Stewart 23:15
And by 18 I was working for a big developer and by Thomas back into New England, I started my own architectural firm and development company and that put me through college and grad school you know, and I did that for eight years from building blocks right?
Chad Stewart 23:28
What if I didn’t have those building blocks so those Lego so those It’s simple, you know what I mean? And it’s just like it’s it’s if you have any kind of inkling to to paint or to play musical instrument and it doesn’t matter it’s like okay, they did that for like six weeks and they put it aside, that’s okay, you know, then go sell it, you know, or whatever, but it’s just like, the point is, is you gave him the opportunity and they tried it and they tested it and like okay, no, that does that isn’t for me, maybe you get them these painting sets and that the easel and it’s like, they do it for like, three weeks.
Chad Stewart 23:54
So they’re like, that’s not what I like to do and stuff. And that’s okay, what you’re doing is you’re giving them opportunities to thinking until they find that thing that really resonates with them and really connects with them. Give them as many opportunities to go outside to do things maybe every other weekend is your time when no matter what on a Saturday you guys are going to the beach or to the lake or to the museum, or downtown and look at some of the buildings in the city or the town or just a picnic and just hanging out on a grass field for a couple of hours. listening and talking and communicating. You know what I mean?
Chad Stewart 24:27
I mean, it’s getting out as much as possible it’s it’s it’s seen as much as you can and it’s really it’s really what what’s made me it’s the travels and going to different countries and i mean i i love it. I mean I everywhere I go, you know I just there’s this sense of it where I’ll just sort of like stop and I’ll absorb it I’ll walk into some little boutique shop I’ll never forget this. It’s kind of funny, but it’s a small little shop in Bratislava, Slovakia and great little town lot of history Beethoven came through there and play It played at one of the halls there. But is this this neat little shop and have a pottery stuff and local stuff.
Chad Stewart 25:05
And in fact, I think that’s how this whole thing started because I was walking around and there was this, there’s pottery, you know, thing of a balloon, it was just a circle. And then it had three little ropes. And then it had a little basket, and then had a little boy and a little girl with a little too, like yellow things. And it was hanging on a rope. It was like a wind chime and I’m like, Oh my gosh, I bought it and I gave it to my sister. And but it’s just like walking in there and just absorbing it and feeling it or going into a cathedral.
Chad Stewart 25:34
And it’s not like walking through it. It’s just, it’s just if you will feeling it, you know, I mean, like, just like, wow, like being an OG when a museum, you know, go to a museum, and try to look at every piece of art, you know, I mean, you, you spent an hour there, and he spent an hour in one room, and you just you just look at the painting and you absorb it and think about it and what’s what were they trying to convey and what does it What does it make you feel like, you know, I mean, it’s just it’s
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 25:55
Chad Stewart 25:55
it’s quality over quantity. So it’s not like we got to go to a museum, we only have two hours to see everything. No, no, I mean, I remember when I was living in London, I mean, back to the Museum of Fine Arts or Western it was what it was called. And then I’d come like once a week for like an hour, and I’d walk in there and then just spend time in one room. You know what I mean?
Chad Stewart 26:14
And I was just absorbing and taking it and because it was like it was enough, and then I leave off and go do something else. And it was just, it was so much fun. It wasn’t like okay, I’ve been to the museum check. I mean, yeah, so I just use that as an example. But I mean, there’s so much there’s so much to see so much Wonderment,
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 26:29
I love what you’re saying I love that the world as our classroom, we know that it’s not about four walls and a textbook using all of our senses. Yes, in kids, tons of opportunities. Is it clay? Is it the drum said, is it walking in nature, what is going to resonate? They’re not going to know if we don’t give them those opportunities. These ideas for enhancing creativity are no brainers, but they take being intentional. That’s amazing.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 26:57
Chad, I want to shift and just know what’s next for you and your mission. I you’ve got this series. And we’ve hinted that you have your book becoming a movie. What’s next?
Chad Stewart 27:09
Yeah, so I’m trying to finish or finalize Book Three, which is Brookfield and return to the prince. It’s about 525 pages to explo. Italy and Thomas are 14 very excited about Book Three. And so I’m in the editing stage. And I always say it’s about 10% writing for 90% editing, yes. Which is very true. And it’s and I think when someone writes something, whether it’s a short story or a script, quality of first draft, that’s a great accomplishment, getting all that stuff. Now it’s really the work begins.
Chad Stewart 27:38
And it’s like the because the more you go over it, the better gets. And the more you go over it, the better writer you become, and your level starts to come up. Because before like, let’s say on your first your first edit, you’re like you tweak a few things in a paragraph, you come through your whole book, you come back and you’re like, No, I don’t like that. Or I can make that tighter, hey, you know, your standards just risen, and so on. So I’m doing that I’m finishing that to launch next June. So we kind of have a time, same thing. We’ve started the development stages of the first brickfield movie. So we’re excited.
Chad Stewart 28:08
So I think I think this fall will be sort of like this tidal wave of film, because I’ve been waiting and waiting. I mean, for 10 years, I’ve known Britfield would make a great movie. I think 90% of the feedback that we receive just from readers is like, Oh, my gosh, I thought it was in a movie, or when’s the movie coming? Or this will make a great movie. And so everything has really been about the movie. I don’t think a lot of books are like that, you know, I mean, I think everybody would want the book to be a movie. But this, this, this movie, this book is designed to be a movie.
Chad Stewart 28:38
And remember, I, I came from a film background. I was a script writer before I was an author. And so I unintentionally, if you will, designed it, you know, on the three act structure on a script model. I didn’t know that and I say that unintentionally, meaning subconsciously I didn’t when I was writing, but when I wasn’t thinking, How do I set this up as a script, or you know what I mean, or with the three act structure, but I had had so much years of discipline and training into it that it just naturally rolled out so the film is going to be a huge thing.
Chad Stewart 29:06
And then I think what’s exciting right now is we’re developing the Britfield play three act play. Oh my goodness. And it’s someone had suggested that to me, a teacher did actually a theater teacher. It was actually the first school that we went to in Mission Viejo Mission, Viejo Christian school, was the first school I ever started at with the tour, and we did wonderfully well. We sold like 67 hardcover books that day, and out of 150 children. She came up and she said to me, she goes, You ever think about doing a play? And I’ll be honest, at the time, I was like, No, you know, be like, like, I didn’t even have the idea of doing a play. I was thinking movie. Yes, but not a play.
Chad Stewart 29:49
And but it resonated. And for 18 months. I’ve been carrying that around and so we greenlit a couple weeks ago and I’ve got a script writer and the gentleman that professional . We’re talking about transitioning into a three act play. And so that’s, that’s really exciting. And he was the one that suggested it’s not a musical, but he goes, you could have a chorus, you know, in the background at certain scenes. And and and it could kind of fill and just gives it that wonderful flavor, and music and all of that, because I’m like, well, musical is like a whole nother thing.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 30:23
And sensory, it adds Yeah, sensors that we were talking about.
Chad Stewart 30:27
Oh, yeah. And the thing is, is what we’ll, what we’ll do is once it’s developed, it’ll be a turnkey operation. And it really it’s designed right now for middle schools and elementary if they get to do theater production, and eventually, yes, it can go into high school and, and I was talking with another gentleman that’s involved with Broadway, but he goes, you know, like, it’s like, you could definitely do a Broadway musical with Britield, and I’m like, yeah, that actually could work. But you kind of think of like, Matilda, or something like that.
Chad Stewart 30:55
But I just wanted, I think, I’m trying to bring something back again to the classroom, I’m thinking, what do they have? They have, they have Greece, they have hair, you know what I mean? I mean, they have like, they have like this, this laundry, like the sound of music, which I love. But you don’t have this laundry list of like 10 to 12 plays, they don’t have a lot of stuff to do. And it’s like, no one’s bringing anything new. And I thought, could you imagine doing the Britfield play?
Chad Stewart 31:15
And then I thought, it’s kind of problematic, though. It’s like, how do you do that balloon? And then I also thought, oh, gosh, I could see it on stage, the basket, the four ropes that go up into the thing a little bit, you know, like when it comes down, that they pull every now and then a wind off off stage that’s blowing, and then all of a sudden, in the background would be the scenery and we would provide that these these beautiful clips back to that sensory thing. And so they’re flying over England, and all sudden, you see this thing in the background, and it’s like this gorgeous picture of the Lake District. And then it’s these rolling green hills. And then it’s these red tile roofs. And then I’ll send it’s the peaks of Oxford as they’re flying into the United mean, and it’s like, this whole thing can be so visual.
Chad Stewart 31:55
That is they’re doing their little scenes, and they’re coming in and out of it. And there’s enough roles, you know, to cover, you know, a good group of kids. Yeah. And then you have the kids like, the kids that are playing the adults like Gower stone or Mr. Mrs. grievous or professor Haynesworth or, you know, they have like, the thing, but it’s, but it’s a lot of fun. And it’s just a fun production. That would be amazing story, it would be stimulating to watch. And I think I think the parents would come out of them just go like, wow. Like, like, I just felt like I was at a Broadway play, or I just saw a movie. Because it’s just, it’s done well, it’s tight, it’s scripted. It’s flawless. You know, of course, it’s how well the theater director, but I’m just saying it’s all set up.
Chad Stewart 32:40
But it’s just the thing keeps moving. It’s never like, end of Act, you know, or end of scene. And then they set up it’s like, it’s like, as they’re walking off here. And the light lights fading, a desk is being rolled on in the lights, you know, coming up. So it’s just, it’s just flawless. It’s seamless kind of thing.
Chad Stewart 32:57
And then, and then every now and then you have the choir that’s singing in the background, what will Tom and Sarah do, or whatever it is, it’s just this wonderful sort of experience and visual experience and and sound effects, you know, oh, thunder, you know, I mean, yes, yeah, you have a turnkey thing that you can just deliver to the theater production, you know, I want to play
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 33:17
Turnkey is such a gift, and you’re creating equity. So if I am in an elementary of 50 kids, or we’re in a school that isn’t well funded, you’re not saying, Oh, yeah, you guys could put this in the background, if you really can provide them with all the pieces, they get to focus on kids having this amazing experience there.
Chad Stewart 33:39
You know, like, part of the package could be like, 30 books, but you’re gonna have the script, but not a lot of players have a book, right? Because play is the place to play. It wasn’t written as a book and so now if they wanted, they can spend like, you know, three, three weeks reading and getting the whole story is kind of background.
Chad Stewart 33:57
And like you said, Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think our goal is to bring creativity back into the classroom, this is a great way to do it. While with on the on the I think on the main mainstream schools that can afford it, it’s sold as a package to the schools that can’t give it to them. Without a doubt. I mean, it’s like all the title one schools or whatever, it’s like, it’s not about the money. But there’s a lot of private schools out there that couldn’t afford it. And it’s like,
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 34:20
Chad Stewart 34:20
whatever. But yeah, but that’s a it’s not designed as a monetary vehicle. It’s designed to spring in Britfield into these classrooms, bring creativity into it, and bring something new and fun.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 34:29
So new and fun. That’s how we all learn.
Chad Stewart 34:33
It’s like the outsiders, that sort of thing. Only in our town, it’s like, you know, it’s like all these things, and it’s like, my gosh, is like 50, 60, 70 years old. It’s like, let’s get something fun. Exciting. Now here can you imagine kids like, like the movie coming out in six months, but we’re doing the Britfield play right now? And we’re like the first school or the 10th school to do it. I mean, just that excitement and
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 34:53
Chad Stewart 34:53
and it’s something new, kids just there. I remember what part of the secret sauce of Britfield last time By the third manuscript, you know, paperback, actually, here’s, here’s the man, just part of the manuscript for Book Three,
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 35:08
oh, it’s massive. Oh my gosh, wow,
Chad Stewart 35:13
We’ve got a lot left to go. But anyway. So what we’ll do is we’ll, we’ll, we’ll bind it and nice and everything, and then we’ll go out to private and public schools to our reading audience. And we’ll give the children an opportunity to read like, third draft of book one. And we did the same thing for Book Two. And so they have three weeks to read it when they’re finished reading the manuscript, they turn it into their Teacher, teacher gives him a two and a half page survey, basic questions.
Chad Stewart 35:40
You know, it’s kind of a funnel, it’s like broad versus, you know, which thing of the story and then what was your favorite scene? Who’s your favorite character? What didn’t you like to change anything? What would it be? Does it remind you of any other books? How would you grade it on a scale of one to 10? And so it’s great feedback for me as an author to realize what they what they think what they like, what they don’t like,
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 35:59
And critical thinking for the students to be critical consumers,
Chad Stewart 36:02
Suddenly, these kids are an integral part of my entire publishing, marketing media company. And the process of it, in fact, one child’s opinion of the book or feedback is worth 100 paid to play critics out there that don’t know the first thing about right. And so, so they’re amazing. And so I say this to say that at one school, we had 30 manuscripts, and we had over 200 children that wanted to read it. So they finally had to take like a hat with the names in it and take it up. That’s how hungry children were kids were for something fun, something exciting, something relevant.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 36:44
And, you know, yeah, it’s gonna mean something and go somewhere. It’s not just an assignment that you turn in, and it was for nothing.
Chad Stewart 36:51
And I think that’s interesting, too, because it’s, you might sit there and say, Well, of course, they were interested. It’s like, really, it was, it’s a 400 page book. And it’s like, I mean, that’s assuming that everyone is interested in reading, everyone’s gonna sit there and dedicate their extra time to reading 400 pages. And you had 200 kids across, like a public school in, you know, San Diego, it wasn’t like some prominent, you know, and so it just it just amazing. I mean, kids are just, they’re starving, starving for something exciting, and something creative and different in an experience that I can end up if we have time, I’ll end on two things.
Chad Stewart 37:25
And I guess, some of the personal questions, but I just remembered, remembered very, very much that there was a book out there by Roger shank, and that’s called coloring outside the lines. And I love it because it says it all. And I think within the first paragraph, he says that today’s schools are murdering the desire for children to learn. It’s like, it’s kind of one of those profound statements where it’s like, Okay, you got my attention. It’s like, wow, and yet, and yet, it resonates as being true.
Chad Stewart 37:51
But he always gives this example when, when his son was 16, I think it was 16, eight, they went to Paris, and the child just, you know, loved it, and, but he loved the subway system, he was just fascinating. wases like, there’s, like 25, 30 years ago, but he’s just fascinated that you could go on this, you know, you walk down, you get on this, and it’s like, you zoom over here, and you kind of be like, Oh, my gosh, I’m already there.
Chad Stewart 38:14
And so dad says, Here’s 40 bucks, knock your socks off. You don’t I mean, and the kids all day having a blast. And then he was you know, he was 16. But he was mature. And that sort of suggesting that, but I’m just giving an example. And Roger, Roger goes on to say and, and as of today, he’s now city planner, you know, for Washington, DC or something like that. And it’s just like, the impact of that experience in Paris, that four hours of going on a subway system and just exploring the city. He’s now the city planner.
Chad Stewart 38:48
And so that’s the kind of impact that these things could have. You start you know, doing like climbing adventures with your kids and soon there and explore or you take him down to the sea and walk along the tide, tide pools, and now they’re an oceanographers you know what I mean? I mean, it’s just like, you get you don’t know until you give them those opportunities in those experiences. And really, it doesn’t really cost anything. And this idea about well, I’m so busy. I’m so tired of hearing people talk about how busy they are. More than likely you’re, you’re just disorganized, or you’re not, you’re not budgeting your time better, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just it’s everything that I have going on.
Chad Stewart 39:22
And I have lots of time. I my phone doesn’t ring, I don’t get blasted with emails because I’m organized because I need to I need to call I call. And I’m really into lists. And I’m really into focusing my talk and do more in two hours, and most people accomplish in a day. And I’m not saying everyone has that kind of opportunity, but it’s just you need to find the time you can’t afford not to spend the time. Yeah, anyway.
Chad Stewart 39:43
So that was that was that story and then then one of my favorite stories that I think personifies it, it’s going to come back to the question about my favorite TED talk, but there’s a famous woman and Sir Ken Robinson tells the story of her name is Gillian Lynne and it was in the 1930s 30s or 40s, and she was maybe 11 or 12 years old and she was really struggling. Yeah, she was struggling in the classroom. And, you know, her homework was late and she was kind of fidgety and stuff. And basically like any normal child, and it has what you don’t put them on drugs. And so Shame on you parents that do that, because they don’t need it.
Chad Stewart 40:22
It’s natural, it’s natural to be antsy, it’s natural to, to want to do things, but anyway, and so, you know, the mom was worried and the principal was kind of, you know, talking about, you know, to the mom and so she goes, she took her to a psychologist and see what was wrong and and so that she, you know, psychologists in there talking with talking with the daughter for up to three hours and stuff like that and said, Okay, great, because I’m gonna go talk to your mom, you sit there, and I’ll be right back.
Chad Stewart 40:47
And right before he left, he turned on the radio, to a musical channel and outside the room, and there was a glass there and they were looking in and she said, she goes, she goes, What’s wrong with my daughter? And he goes, hold on a minute, what watch and as the music was playing, she started the child got up and started today. That’s it. He said, he said, there’s nothing wrong with your child. He said, She’s a dancer, take her to a dance class. And so she’s so Ken was interviewing this, this Jillian and said, What do you do? And she said, my mom did. She took me to a dance class. And she said it was wonderful.
Chad Stewart 41:19
She goes, she goes, they had tap jazz ballet. She said, there are people like me, people that had to move to think you had to move to think. And so she went on and she took the classes she eventually auditioned for the Royal Ballet, she became a soloist, had an amazing career as a soloist, went on to start her own dance school that for years, and successfully encouraged and trained 1000s of dancers eventually met Andrew Lloyd Webber was involved in cats. And Phantom of the Opera, as a multimillionaire and has broughten joy to millions. And he ends up by saying someone else would have said sit down and put her on medication. And that I mean, yes, to me, that’s the story. That’s the story.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 42:05
it is absolutely. And I do want to pivot to the TED talk in the different pieces. I love wrapping up our interviews, getting to know the person behind in this case behind the brickfield movement. So I just want to ask you some turbo time questions, so we get to know more about you, Chad.
Chad Stewart 42:27
Yeah, so I’ve really been into biographies. And I love reading autobiographies. I’ve been all over the place with those. But the last one was, it’s called the last romantic Teddy Roosevelt by h. w brands. And so very, very fascinating. Teddy Roosevelt is an extremely interesting character.
Chad Stewart 42:46
And so I read some other books like Peter the Great was amazing. Catherine the Great was amazing, as you could imagine me reading those types of books, but I’ve just been on this biography, for like three years. Tesla, Beethoven, Dickens, I mean, you name it. And it’s kind of fun, because you sit there and say, Who would I who would be interesting to find out more about and what I like about it, too, is often five 600 pages, you can take in an entire person’s life.
Chad Stewart 43:13
And through that process, too, you learn the trials and errors, what worked, what didn’t work, and you also learn the culture that I grew up in, whether it was 19, Victorian England predictions, or, you know, America during that transition from the late 1800s into the 1900s. So, that was the last book I read.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 43:31
Very cool. How about two inspirational folks, you’d love to meet you?
Chad Stewart 43:36
I could only think of one: Believe it or not. Denzel Washington, I think,
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 43:42
Oh, yes. He’s a mesmerizing storyteller with his craft.
Chad Stewart 43:47
Yeah, he’s, he’s really got a lot of heart. He’s very grounded in just a kind of amazing person. And he’s a very, he’s an insider, that’s an outsider in Hollywood. And he’s not caught up in all the nonsense, if you will. So yeah, he would be pretty cool. And I always thought, be cool to have him as one of the actors in Britfield.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 44:10
Make it so.
Chad Stewart 44:12
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 44:13
How about and maybe you’ve already alluded to this, a TED talk that inspires you?
Chad Stewart 44:18
Yeah, I think my favorite was Sir Ken Robinson, our schools killing creativity. It’s 2006. I highly recommend it.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 44:27
It’s the most watched TED Talk ever. And it’s spot on, he left a legacy that is incredible.
Chad Stewart 44:35
Isn’t it amazing? I mean, it’s like they’ve had and I’ve said this to you before, but they’ve had 1000s of guests on there. I mean, you name it. I mean, everything from like, presidential candidates to Tony Robbins to you know, best selling authors, actors that JJ Abrams, you know, huge. I mean, everybody you can name some guy you’ve never heard of.
Chad Stewart 44:55
Sir Ken Robinson comes on there. And he’s not necessarily charismatic. type of person, you know, he’s got like this T-shirt, is it any kind of stands there? He’s not. And I think part of it is because he had some disability in his legs when he was younger. So he’s not he’s not out there, but he just hits it out of the park. He just resonates. He brings humor into it, which is great. But he just resonates. And you have to ask yourself, what is it? Why is and I communicate college, I’ve taught a lot of communications classes, and we’ll watch the TED Talks, and then get into groups and discuss them.
Chad Stewart 45:30
But I’m like, What is it? Why, why, why, why that talk? Why him? What is it? What is it? That may I mean, we’re talking like 100 million, because you duplicate it, and it’s on different platforms? So it’s over 100 to 200 million views that people have seen it. I mean, it’s unbelievable. You know, it’s competing against Adele here. Like at the Royal Albert Hall, I mean, it’s like, and you’re like Sir Ken, who What? You know, it’s
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 45:57
Yes, it is.
Chad Stewart 45:59
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 46:00
How about a pet peeve of yours?
Chad Stewart 46:03
Oh, I think something that I’ve noticed today is really, the lack of professionalism in today’s society, I think, especially in America, is a real problem. And I’m talking, I’m talking at the top levels, you know, at the highest levels, just just a lack of professionalism.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 46:21
Ouch. Yeah. How about a passion you bring to writing adolescent literature?
Chad Stewart 46:28
Yeah, I wrote, I think the excitement and wonderment of adventure and being young. And I think that’s what was so much like I said, I wrote rip your last ground because it was fun. Beverly Cleary, the writer of runaway runaway well says, If you ever walk into a library or a bookstore, and you don’t find the story that you’re looking for, right? And so I just wanted to write a story that was just fun, you know what I mean, you start at the bad part, the orphanage and you get the background, and it’s like, the second they’re out of there, you’re with them?
Chad Stewart 47:02
And every great experience they have, you’re experiencing with them from flagging. It’s like, how cool would that be, you know, like, it’s kind of like the epitome of freedom. You know what I mean? Like, we’re this horrible, like, walled orphanage that sort of like a gothic castle with this horrible dog that roams around called wind. And they call him when, because you never see him coming. And it’s like, he’s like, he’s there.
Chad Stewart 47:24
And, you know, into the grievances, who are just miserable people that use the children for labor, to flying an otter balloon and sing England, and like the magnificence of England, and then meeting Professor Haynesworth and having this wonderful sort of father figure that takes them on the journey and says, I’ll help you get to London and, and, and has the wherewithal, and they stay at this, you know, Duke hotel at St. James, and they buy new clothing on Bond Street, and they have tea at Brown hotel, and it’s like, it’s just fun, you know what I mean?
Chad Stewart 47:55
And it’s just like, it’s like, What kid would love to do that? And, and so just bringing that fun, and that wonderment, and then yes, you have the seriousness of the trials and the errors and stuff, but just keeping that wonderment, that fun, that excitement, like even in Book Two, you know, going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, or, you know, staying staying at the Ritz Hotel, or, you know, seeing the museum or notre dame, or you know, I mean, all those things, it’s just it’s for them as for us, or anyone, it’s just, it’s, it’s that excitement, and that wonderment, so
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 48:23
i love it. And what’s something about you that most folks don’t know?
Chad Stewart 48:28
I love, love forces and writing. And so I just got into that when I was in New England. And so I love that I love movies and films, and goes all the way back to the 1930s so I’m kind of a film film kind of sewer. And then I love travel although that probably wouldn’t surprise you. But yeah, I do love traveling and and really it’s I love Europe, most of them, but, but I do love travel in general, in any place moved to see that experience.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 49:02
Yes. And I like to wrap up with a magic wand moments.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 49:08
So Chad, if you had a magic wand and could create any situation so that our kids really got to embrace creativity. What would you wish for? What would you wish parents and educators were doing?
Chad Stewart 49:26
Oh, I think just a huge tidal wave or flood of creativity in the classroom. And what would that look like? It looked like all kinds of things. So like, imagine like tomorrow, every child is I mean, every teacher is inspired or every principal gets this delegate that says you have to be teaching creativity in the classroom and bringing in exercises and it’s like it could be you know, writing it could be Arctic, the marketing entrepreneur shop, you know what I mean?
Chad Stewart 49:55
It’s like what if you did a semester with your 12 year olds on building A company, you know, or starting a company and walking them through it, maybe taking more pilot programs, two or three of the best ideas. And suddenly the kids get into groups and ones in charge of marketing because they’re more clever in marketing and someone else’s, that’s very analytical like does the numbers and you sit there say for 12 year olds, you don’t, right? Absolutely. I mean, this whole, this whole stretched out ridiculous educational system that by 22, and $500,000. In college debt, they’re finally able to enter the world, I don’t think so. That’s a waste. That’s a joke.
Chad Stewart 50:30
Kids are talented and amazing at 12, 13. It’s like in the older models, even in England, it’s like by 14 or 15, you’re already an apprentice to a law, law firm, a doctor, or a tradesman. You know what I mean by 18, and 19, you’re already you already have your own company, you know, and this whole system is just inflated and dragged out, sort of, if you will keep us down and oppressed. And to keep us conformed, it’s like kids were not born to be conformed. We’re born to think and be individuals. And we all have great thoughts. We all have great ideas.
Chad Stewart 51:01
So anyway, this family model doesn’t work. So I think the idea of just bringing that stuff in, and it’s like, and there are schools that are doing it. And I know there’s North Carolina, there’s a district that’s embracing the four C’s, which is creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. And so, you know, that’s a whole nother interview or session, but it’s like it’s bringing those different things in. So it’s like bringing communications and I’d say one thing right now, too, it’s like, communications is huge. And so whether it’s public speaking, and I know that’s terrifying, they say next to death. Public speaking is the worst thing.
Chad Stewart 51:35
But it’s, it’s, it’s actually one of the single most important skills that they’ll have for the rest of their life. And we all communicate differently. And some of us are great public speakers. And it’s not just about getting up in the classroom. It can be sitting in a meeting, or at a table or whatever. But communication is huge. And so start them young, get him, get him, get him thinking about communication, get him on communication, exercises, collaboration, get them in groups, working in twos and threes, and fours.
Chad Stewart 51:59
Yes. I didn’t like working with others. And I didn’t like getting groups of people I didn’t like, but get used to it. You know what I mean? Like, that’s like, it’s like, it’s that’s the point. And it’s like, you don’t wait till college, you know, I mean, you do it now. And you get familiar with it. I’ll tell you something. I’m at one of the schools that I went to there was a mother and she said, Oh, she loved your presentation. And she said, My daughter really liked that. She said, My daughter, and her daughter is 11 years old, has her own YouTube channel with her brother Adam is eight. And it is only like these little five or seven minutes and she’s like, Hey, this is so and so. Today we’re in the kitchen and we’re cooking and it’s just really cute. The mom helps them put the program together and it’s got you know, it’s edited and stuff like that.
Chad Stewart 52:42
And she goes, would you like to do an interview with her? I said, Absolutely. So we get this like killer like 15 minute interview. It was so sweet, too, because it was like about five or six minutes. I used to go like for an hour, but it’s like five minutes into it. She goes, that’s all the questions I have. kind of say, Well, you know, let’s you know, like what, tell me about you.
Chad Stewart 53:04
But I thought too, I was thinking about yesterday and I thought to myself, can you imagine? I can’t even imagine how extraordinary her life is going to be like when she’s like 15 or 18. It’s like, Oh my gosh, she’s like, I mean, whether it’s a news reporter, or I mean, who knows what but I mean, what she’s already doing now that she’s already over the fear of a camera rolling on her. She’s already you know, able to carry herself to talk about certain things, I mean just that’s someone to watch and yet, and yet so many kids are like that, if given the opportunity, you know, absolutely.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 53:37
Let’s give them that opportunity for the seeds, especially creativity. Yeah. Chad, thank you so much for joining us today. And, and of course, we’re gonna have to have you back on because we’re gonna have to hear about more of the books and about the whole film and play and everything else. But thank you.
Chad Stewart 53:54
Oh, you’re welcome. Welcome. It was a treat, and a privilege.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 54:07
Chad is one of those wonderful educational innovators, who has great ideas and turns them into a reality. Walking his creativity talk. He’s writing playwriting, and filming in his grit filled movement. I could rave about all of the creativity he emphasizes. Instead, I’ll just add one more example. Google, Their 20% Creativity time, whether it’s a daily actuality or a value has allowed its workers to go beyond their daily tasks, and invent ideas that will benefit Google.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 54:49
In an article I have in the show notes, They say this empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner. And one of the huge 20% products is the creation of Gmail. Not bad, right? So adding creativity time in all schools seems like a wonderful way to tap into talents. help students explore passions and purpose, and have fun, while developing the four C’s. Here’s to more creativity in our schools and homes. Thank you for being a part of the education evolution.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 55:41
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 educationevolution.org/consult to book a call and let’s get started.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 56:17
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.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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