Imagine Seeing the World as One with Rekha Magon
March 7, 2023
Imagine Seeing the World as One with Rekha Magon

One of the challenges with traditional education settings is that you’re bound to the same place for nine or more months every year. Slow travel, or really learning about a culture or community is difficult, if not impossible.

But the reality is that taking kids out of their comfort zones and letting them learn and live in other areas can teach them about kindness, purpose, building relationships, and so much more.

When this week’s guest, Rekha Magon, tried to take her then kindergarten-age son overseas for a month, his teacher balked and expressed fear that he’d miss so much school. So Rekha pulled her son out of school and started building a learning platform that better suited her family’s lifestyle.

Today that platform is Boundless Life, a turnkey solution for families to live, work, and learn while experiencing the world. They currently have three locations in Europe and are launching a fourth location in Bali this year. And families are embracing the idea so much that they’re launching their own locations across the globe.

About Rekha Magon:

Rekha Magon is the co-founder and Head of Education of Boundless Life, a turnkey solution for families- to live, work and learn while experiencing the world. As an avid world traveler, ed-tech entrepreneur, & homeschool mama, Rekha is passionate about creating meaningful learning experiences that inspire children to question, create & innovate according to their own personal interests. Among other awards, she won first place in Canada’s 9th Edtech Innovation Summit. With an accounting scholarship from McGill, she worked as a Senior Auditor at KPMG for many years before starting her own education technology company. Boundless Life aligns deeply with her own personal and professional values, and she is now leading the charge at Boundless Education.

Jump in the Conversation:

[1:50] – Where Rekha’s story of school transformation started
[3:10] – Bringing mindfulness into school system
[5:32] – Living a Boundless Life
[7:17] – Locations – Portugal, Greece, Italy, Bali in July
[8:16] – Community service component
[9:30] – Making learning relevant and purposeful
[10:27] – The importance of passion and purpose projects
[11:33] – Interacting with local children
[13:07] – Parenting and kindness are universal
[13:58] – What is slow travel and the benefits of it
[17:17] – Being the pragmatist about living and learning abroad
[22:10] – Micro-schools are the future
[23:28] – How to get out of lockstep of traditional education
[26:49] – The choice on how children are educated should be on the parents
[29:29] – Turbo Time
[31:19] – What people need to know about student-driven learning
[32:33] – The passion Rekha brings to Boundless Life
[34:20] – How to be an activist to transform schools
[35:58] – Rekha’s Magic Wand
[37:16] – Maureen’s Takeaways

Links & Resources



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. 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 1:00
Hi Rekha, it is so good to have you on education evolution.

Rekha Magon 1:11
Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:13
And listeners. today I’m chatting with Rekha Magon. She’s the co founder and head of education of boundless life. This is a really amazing international experience. And I want to turn it over to you Rekha and dive right in because your award winning program is transformative. So I guess where I want to start, is we know that post lockdown families want more options, including robust homeschooling ones, traditional online classes aren’t enough if education is going to evolve for all learners. So where did this story of school transformation begin for you?

Rekha Magon 1:55
All right, sure. So I mean, growing up myself, I came from kind of environment that fostered a lot of mindfulness, a lot of travel from a very young age, as well as a lot of community service. So from the age of like, you know, one or two, with my parents who were traveling a lot, getting back to the community and attending a lot of kind of mindfulness retreats. And I knew very quickly that that kind of upbringing gave me this kind of upper edge, it felt like I had growing up, you know, like, life seemed to have a really nice natural flow to it, whether it was you know, being student, student, President counsel, or valedictorian or things just came with a really nice ease and flow. So when I got pregnant with our first child, I knew that I wanted to, you know, bring him the same kind of upbringing that I had, because I knew how beneficial it was. But it was kind of like, well, that’s fair, right? If I know how beneficial this is, why should it only be my children who have access to the type of lifestyle like all children should have this kind of, you know, upbringing.

Rekha Magon 2:58
So I was working in the corporate world, though, as an auditor at KPMG. At the time, I left, I left the firm and started my first company, which was really passionate about bringing mindfulness into the public school system. And then, you know, I think I remember my son was like, in kindergarten, and we were gonna go to Thailand for a month and live in like Chiang Mai, like one of my favorite regions. So like, I 100. You there, you need to Yeah. So, when my son was in kindergarten, you know, we decided to take a trip and go to Thailand for a month. So I remember distinctly telling his teacher that, okay, we’re gonna be gone for a month, you know, we’re gonna live in Chiang Mai, and then we’ll come back and you know, he’ll have this experience of a lifetime. And he was so distraught at him, like missing a month of kindergarten, you know, and, to me, it just didn’t make sense. I’m like, he knows his ABCs he knows his one, two threes. Like, how can you, you know, be so concerned with him having this amazing kind of traveling experience with his with his family. So it very quickly became kind of a reality in my life, that this was not the lifestyle that was going to work for our family. I couldn’t be tied down to this kind of rigid school system where I had to be in one location with my kids for 10 months, you know, so I quickly actually pulled them out of school. I started developing different homeschool curriculums actually, with him. I actually used him as like my petri dish.

Rekha Magon 4:27
So I would test them all the different homeschool curriculums out there from, you know, Montessori to Waldorf to the Finnish system. And until I found you know, what I thought was the perfect kind of secret sauce for his education and then built some homeschool curriculums helped develop a learning center in Montreal, where I’m based out of in Canada. And then yeah, the idea of boundless like came came to fruition. You know, my partner. One of my mentors actually, he was that one of my mentors were Not only my first company, he came to me, he’s like, Hey, I have this idea. And you seem to already be living the life with your kids, you know, why don’t we Why don’t we make this a reality. So from then on, we’ve just been full time boundless. And it’s been incredible honestly, to to give not only our kids this lifestyle, but you know, families from around the world, the opportunity to slow travel and experience the world while still giving their kids a very progressive education experience.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 5:30
Amazing. So tell us explicitly what is boundless life?

Rekha Magon 5:34
Sure. So boundless life, basically, is a turnkey solution for families, so that they can live, learn and work while experiencing the world. So what we do currently is we offer all of our members like a fully furnished apartment, very kid friendly, we offer access to our co working space. So I’m currently sitting in our co working space in Tuscany, and then we have access to our education center. So the boundless Education Center, though it’s really this turnkey solution that allows families to live in a foreign country for you know, at least three months of the year without having to worry about anything.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 6:15
Oh, my gosh, when you had said turnkey, and when we were talking previously, I thought it was gonna be this amazing curriculum. I didn’t realize you even go as far as the apartments.

Unknown Speaker 6:25
Yeah, yeah. We it’s really turnkey, like you basically book with us. And we take care of everything from even like community events, like on a weekly basis, we have like yoga for the parents at the CO CO working space, we organize local experiences that you can do as a family, whether it’s, you know, going to see making a trip to Florence or Toluca, and really kind of taking a deep dive into the local culture, we organize everything from A to Zed.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 6:56
That is, I mean, why wouldn’t a parent if they can work remotely, and if they have the resources, why wouldn’t they want to be in Tuscany and having their their children explore Europe and explore a very different pace and something much older than what we have in North America, just the history that is beautiful, where some of the locations of boundless life are

Rekha Magon 7:18
so we actually just launched exactly a year ago. So we had a busy year, we now have three locations. So we our first destination is Portugal. So that’s up and running. It’s in a town called Sintra, which is about 20 minutes south of Lisbon. Our second location is an island in Greece called sceetos. Very cute, authentic Greek feel Greek island feel. And our third location is where I’m at currently, which is in a town called Pistoia, in Tuscany, Italy. And we just announced that we’ll be opening our fourth location in July in Bali.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 7:55
Love it. And I love that you’re extending beyond Europe, I think a lot of travelers feel comfortable that Europe seems more like North America and a good first stop, but you’re getting to Bali getting to the Central or South America getting to Africa. Wow, this is going to open eyes in so many ways. You had mentioned something about community and community service. Is there a specific community service component to boundless life?

Rekha Magon 8:23
Yeah, absolutely. Like, first off with our education program like with boundless education, we everything we do is project based oriented. So every cohort is three months long. And what the older kids foundation kids are working on is one UN Sustainable Development Goals. So every cohort, the kids are working on an SDG. And it’s the same project based at all locations. So whether you’re in Bonn, or in Portugal, or in Greece, or Italy, all the kids are working on the exact same project, and really trying to create kind of impactful solutions for this specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. So for us, the biggest thing when it came to education is yes, you know, we believe that kids need to learn their core skills, whether it’s math, English, or science. And we cover that in the morning in something called Mastery time. But then, for me, what’s most important is that kids take the knowledge that they’ve learned and see how it applies to a real world problem. And to me, that’s so important because if you make learning more relevant and more purposeful to what’s actually happening in today’s world, you you keep that love of learning and the joy of learning in each child because they’re not just learning something because they have to learn it but they’re learning something and then able to apply it to a meaningful project in today’s world. So just in terms of the way the the education is set up, it’s obviously has a huge kind of impact on the world. And then even within the community. We do a lot of events where the family He’s get to volunteer together, whether it’s going to visit, you know, seniors in a local home, or packing lunch bags for homeless people in the community, boundless the community side, the hospitality side, tries to create at least one or two volunteer experiences during every cohort so that as a family, not only are you traveling and learning about a different culture in a different country, but you’re also giving back at the same time.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 10:27
This is so holistic, and I just returned from South America. And we were talking my presentation was on ikigai passion, and purpose projects, where you see something that the world needs, we call it something that breaks your heart, and you align your passion and your gifts, and create from that where the Venn diagram overlaps. So what you’re doing is relevant, purpose driven, project based, is everything that I believe in and, and that research is supporting that. This is the real learning our kids can memorize stuff, but artificial intelligence is going to be able to do so much. Can they give back? Can they create? Can they contribute? And can they think beyond their little bubble? And looking at the UN goals? It’s like, oh, wow, what is going on with hunger in the world? What is going on with our water supply in the world? I think a lot of kids never get past what’s going on in their own little space, and you’re stretching their world. And it can never shrink to being tiny again.

Rekha Magon 11:27
Absolutely. And you know, it’s been so beautiful to be even between our kids. The interaction that the students in our program get with the local children as well. So like, for instance, my son, you know, now we’re at our third location, and he’s paid on the Portuguese Soccer League, the Greek Soccer League, and now the Italian soccer league. And, you know, when I talk to other parents in our community, we find it so incredible to see how kids innately can bond with other kids that don’t even speak the same languages that you know, so on the soccer field, like no one speaks English, right? It’s just our boys who speak English, and they don’t speak the local language. But almost immediately, these kids are able to break barriers, create bonds, and have a meaningful relationship, despite, you know, the differences in culture or language or where they come from. And to me, I find that is one of the biggest gifts that you give children through travel and through slow travel and really immersing themselves in new cultures is that like this generation of children, if this is kind of how it continues, I can only imagine what kind of global leaders there will become in the future, right? Because to them, anybody they sit across the table from now is more alike than different, right? They don’t see barriers, they see connections. And to me, that’s the one of the most important things that I think we’re able to, to give is kind of allowing children to see the common thread that runs between different cultures, rather than the differences.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 13:06
Absolutely. And, again, if we’re in a little bubble, we don’t know that I know, my girls from living in the Middle East. They’re like, all of this anti Muslim stuff. They weren’t, they were taken aback, because even though they were small, they just remember, the kindness of our children were cherished. And, and you can’t buy into the company line, which is often fear based and based on not knowing when you’ve experienced that. And I’ve experienced in multiple cultures, the graciousness or hospitality, how helpful people are in other countries, or how much they love their kids. This parenting thing is universal. And kindness is universal. And once you experience it, I agree there’s no going back to us and them, it’s really we absolutely have to absolutely.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 13:57
You know, a couple of times, you’ve said slow travel, I get it, but I really want you to unpack it, because I think a lot of people like oh yeah, we did a vacation we did a week in Italy, we’ve done that check. So talk about slow travel.

Rekha Magon 14:11
So slow, slow travel is more kind of spending an extended period of time in one location. So you know, a minimum of like two to three months where rather than living like a foreigner, you’re living more like a local, you know, so the experiences that slow travel brings you is, you know, getting used to buying groceries at the local grocery store, or, you know, going to the post office or, you know, working there from a rat on a regular basis, having your kids part of the local community, part of the local extracurricular activities. It’s really immersing yourself into a new culture for an extended period of time. That’s kind of how we define slow travel.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 14:54
I know Rick Steves for as long as I can remember has had books and programs on your through the back door and in travel as a local, that whole concept means you’re connecting with humans instead of sightseeing. I can’t think that the gods God, it’d be an emphasis and it’s not bad to be a fast traveler and to have a vacation somewhere. But the true connection comes when we can slow down and break bread with people sit in the plaza with that Spanish siniora and watch people walk by do those things.

Rekha Magon 15:27
Absolutely. Like I think my fondest memories I have, in, you know, the different destinations we’ve been, as you know, like walking the kid walking the kids to the boundless Education Center, and the routines that they just naturally develop themselves, whether it’s like, you know, St. Kalimera, to the old lady that sits at the house, you know, as we walk by every single morning, they’ll say Kalimera, or, you know, giving a high five to the old guy with a motorcycle like, those kind of repeated rhythms that get played out when you’re staying in a place for a long time, to me really has a lasting impact. In fact, we before we came to Tuscany, we went back to Sintra, back to Portugal, just to meet some of the new families that were arriving in this cohort. And it was so cute, like we went into, like my kids favorite gelato store, right? That they had kind of spent a lot of time over the six months that we were there. And the old lady who ran that gelato shop, literally hugged my kids, as if they were her long grandchildren who she hadn’t seen in decades, you know, and that feeling to feel like wow, like, these kids have a relationship with an old Portuguese grandmother would have never occurred, you know, if we were in the kind of comfort zone of our of our Montreal home in Canada. So I think it’s those little moments that really shape who you are, and your experience and you know, just overall, you know, your, your being, I think they have lasting impacts on on how you look at the world. Yes.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 17:04
And when kids are loved and cherished from a variety of sources, it can only strengthen their self image and who they are. Absolutely, absolutely. So let me be a pragmatist. It’s like, oh, yeah, Reagan, this sounds amazing. But I have a job. And I have a base. I could maybe do three months with my family. But it can’t be a lifestyle because I have to. I’m working at Boeing. So I have to build planes. I can’t. So if I pull my kids out of a traditional school to come to yours, am I throwing away the rest of their life? Do I have to homeschool them from there on? Is it possible for me to have my present existence? And give my children and my family a three month experience without it becoming a lifestyle?

Rekha Magon 17:49
Absolutely. So great question. So many people who stayed with us had the same question like they came and they did a cohort with us. And they’re like, look, we love this education system. We love boundless education, we love the experiential learning, the personalized learning. How do we continue this learning when we go back home, right, we can’t travel for forever, we don’t want to be permanent digital nomads, but we want to live this lifestyle three months a year. So what we’ve actually started doing and working with certain parents in our community already is empowering parents to go back home and start their own boundless Education Center in within their own community. So now we’re kind of like creating micro schools basically around the world that are more community driven by the parents that have experienced our education. So we’re actually working very closely with a family right now who will be launching their first boundless Education Center, come September. And the vision here really is to 1000 You know, boundless education centers around the world, and allow families to plug in and out of the education no matter where they are. So basically, a fully kind of globally dispersed education system where you can every three months, decide which location you’d like to be at. So maybe your grandparents live in, I don’t know, Vancouver, and you want to be able to spend three months with them in Vancouver, you could because we would have a boundless Education Center there that your kids can continue their learning in any one of the centers that they happen to want to be in. And similarly, whether you have you know, we have a lot of people who have to be in work in New York for six months, but then need to be back in Toronto for the other six months. So to allow flexibility really, for you to live the life you need to and take your family with you. Wherever you go. That’s where we’re headed.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 19:43
Wonderful, and I’m with you on creating options afterwards. I know with our micro school, we’ve had some students say I can’t go on to college, and just be talked and memorize and do tests. And we’ve found universities that are learner center comm All heart centered project base, small creative. So it’s not always about going back and fitting in something traditional. It’s about I’ve stretched. So where can I go next to keep staying extended to keep owning my learning? So I love that you didn’t say, well, we aligned with his curriculum. So when they go back, they’re not behind. But like you said, that whole behind concept in traditional schools is very limiting.

Rekha Magon 20:28
Absolutely, no, absolutely. We’re, we’ve already applied for accreditation with an organization called wack. And our goal is really to offer like a solution from one years old to 18. Right. So we’re already looking into middle school options, high school options. And when we empower families to open their own micro school, the micro school will basically serve as kids from ages one to 18. In in the model that we’ve created a very alternative, experiential, and on learning system.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 21:01
That is so cool. And I don’t know if you knew this, but I am a super big fan of micro schools. And three years ago, my board president and I, she was a contributing editor. And we wrote a book on Come on, guys, let’s create micro schools. Let’s make there be just like you say, we need 1000 boundless life centers, we need 1000 options so that every kid gets learning in a way that works for them. So that access is there for everybody. And whether it’s a school within a school or micro school, small usually means relational. When I’ve been in big schools, I’ve taught five classes of 30. And it can’t be relational, or I’ve been in a school running it for 1000, high school kids. It can’t be relational micro schools, can really see each student and really meet them where they are, like you say, the personalization, that sense of community. So what you’re doing, I’m seeing, I’m seeing the post pandemic pods, I’m seeing lots of people saying, Yeah, we’re not going to do big and lockstep, because that doesn’t fit my kid.

Rekha Magon 22:08
Yeah, absolutely. That I think micro schools is, I don’t think I know, micro schools is the way of the future I people, you know, are stepping away from the big institutions and they want small, little, you know, organizations that’s fully see their children. And I can cater education to specifically to their needs. I always honestly, I always find it mind blowing, you know, any parent who has more than one child knows how different do children who are brought up in the same environment, the same parents the same, you know, circumstances end up so differently? Right? So knowing that I image never made sense how schools teach every single kid the exact same way, you know, if you’re this age, this is the what you’re learning. And that’s it. That’s all it’s the one size fits all method just is so incredibly outdated. And to me, micro schools is the way that you have this small community, your educators see the children for who they are, they understand their learning styles, they understand whether they’re auditory or visual, they’re totally encouraged. But whatever the topic it is they need to learn. To me, that’s really the way of the future and how I think the majority of kids will be learning.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 23:24
Absolutely, I love it. So what would you say, are a couple of steps that other parents and educators could take to help us get out of this lockstep outdated system, and create more authentic learning experiences and maybe even more international learning experiences?

Rekha Magon 23:42
Yeah, I mean, obviously, depends on your circumstances, you know, if you can work remotely, then I would highly suggest, you know, trying a cohort or finding another way to experience the world or take your kids, you know, on an expedition I like, I, the amount of growth you see in a child, any child, just by removing them from their comfort zone and taking them to a new country is remarkable. It’s incredible. So there’s nothing you would lose your family would lose from just trying it. For for those who can’t work remotely or you know, really are tied down to this to the school system. I would encourage parents to, you know, get in the classroom, like whether it’s, I think the more parents can be active in their own children’s education, the more kids feel engaged, you know, and even if you can’t make it into the classroom, I would say, take time with your kids after school, to, to learn about them, to encourage them to follow things that they’re passionate about, you know, to give them the opportunity to dedicate time to their own questions or their own interests, and really fuel that natural curiosity that all children are born with. And I think the more we fuel that, the more kids their genius just pops up right like every One has their own kind of zone of genius. And if you’re able to, to encourage that, I think there’s no stopping a child on where they can go and what they could do. They just need that environment or that encouragement to really facilitate, you know, their own love for learning.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 25:15
Absolutely. And traditional schools, I don’t, I would just want to add that I’m not throwing anybody under the bus. Teachers, I know, because I’ve been in public, I’ve taught in public schools and in large schools, they’re caught in the system. And it’s, I think it’s about control, these kids need to be safe, they need to have this, this this. And it’s too big to personalize everybody, the bell curve, the kids on both ends, miss out the kids that learn differently miss out. And a lot of kids just do school. Unfortunately, we don’t put as much research and development money into education as we do into our phones. So you don’t have a phone where you plug it in, and you call the operator and the operator connects you, our school is still back in that model. But our phones and things that people, things that you can pay for people spend a lot of research so that they can make money. And it just is so sad that we aren’t doing the same for our most precious resource, our children 1800s model is what we are stuck with right now. And we can’t close it down for three years and regroup. You know, we always have those students. So I think we have to keep this energy this is we’re not comfortable this system, create enough pressure that policies change, funding changes, the school year changes. And in the meantime, yes, get in the classroom, parents can add so much in the way of resources and everything. So yes, let’s do that.

Rekha Magon 26:48
And even like You’re like to touch on that I think we’re already seeing that change in the States as well with like certain states like Iowa, where they’re now issuing like the government is giving parents funding to decide they want to educate their children, right. So taking the funding away, you know, from from the public schools, but giving it into the hands of the parents so that they can decide how they want their children to be educated. And to me, that is so exciting, because that shows that even the government’s now are realizing that the onus or the choice should be on parents on how they want to educate their children. And I think these states are really just setting the stage for you know, a lot of other states and countries to see that same movement, and start shifting, you know, the money into the hands of parents so that they can make their own decisions on how they want their children to learn. I think that’s, to me, again, just the beginning of this eruption of micro schools, because then parents get the liberty to choose where they want their children to, to learn from.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 27:51
I agree. And when we go to other places, we see other ways of doing things we learn so much that we didn’t even know was out there. My microscope was first board president was from the Netherlands, working in the US at Microsoft at the time, and their university system is such that the high school seniors select where they want to go. And if you have something boring or outdated, they’re not going to choose you. And so you have to be relevant to have a university and for the professor’s to continue to be employed. And a lot of what we have here, in my state, we don’t really have funding that parents can take and go where they want with. So you have to go to your neighborhood school, if you want free education. And then you have to apply to get into the university. They choose you. So it doesn’t matter if their model is what you want. You have to go with what’s out there. So when we travel, we can see oh, well wait, we could do it this way, or Finland does it this way or what? So I think that your boundless life is going to be helping people learn more options that will only enhance what they take back home. And it’s powerful for so many different reasons. I love what you’re doing.

Rekha Magon 29:08
Thank you. Thank you. Likewise, I think there’s so many of us now that want to see this change. That is just inevitable. The movement has started and I think we’re all heading in the same direction.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 29:20
Absolutely. I would love to pivot and get to know you the person behind boundless life a little more. Are you ready for some turbo time questions?

Rekha Magon 29:30

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 29:32
Okay, Rekha, what’s the last book you read?

Rekha Magon 29:36
The last book I read was radical candor. So learning about you know, now that we’re running this huge organization, we you know, we jumped from four co founders to now almost 75 employees. So definitely learning about you know, how to be very transparent how to give feedback really clearly to the team. And yeah, radical candor is a recent book I just read.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 30:02
Awesome, who are two inspirational folks you’d love to meet.

Rekha Magon 30:07
I’d love to meet Oprah Winfrey. I think I love how she’s used her platform to encourage, you know, people to be fully seen and advocate for personal growth and self improvement. And to us, I guess I’d love to meet the Dalai Lama as well. You know, he’s a spiritual leader who’s always advocating for peace and human rights, and it would just be so lovely to be in the presence of a leader like himself.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 30:37
Absolutely. How about a TED Talk that inspires you?

Rekha Magon 30:42
I mean, I was always inspired, obviously, by, you know, Sir Ken Robinson, do schools Kill, kill creativity, obviously, that’s why we’re here today. So but I also really enjoyed Brene Brown’s power of vulnerability. And, you know, something I’m still trying to, to practice and implement in my own life is, you know, being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness, it’s actually a sign of strength. So something I continuously work on on myself as well to, you know, keep myself growing and build deeper, better connections.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 31:14
Yes. How about the biggest thing you wish folks knew about learner driven or Passion Driven learning?

Rekha Magon 31:24
I think people need to realize that, like student driven learning, allows and empowers students to take more ownership of their own learning. And when they take more ownership, they’re automatically more active, more engaged. And I think, you know, they want to set their own goals, they want to reach their objectives. And that fire that comes with student driven learning, is what we want for kids, because then they’re taking the ownership of their learning back into their own hands.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 31:57
Completely agree. How about a pet peeve of yours?

Unknown Speaker 32:01
I do not like when people talk behind other people’s backs, it just really irritates me for some reason. I’m hence, you know, radical candor, I really believe in, you know, having difficult conversations, but encouraging, you know, your team and everyone around you that to have, you know, difficult conversations and to if something’s bothering you to talk to the person, you know, to their, to their face, and really addressing issues face on.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 32:30
Yes. What is the passion you bring to boundless life?

Rekha Magon 32:34
Hmm. I think I mean, obviously, mindfulness, I’m very passionate about mindfulness. But I think more than that, I would say it’s just trusting you know, that everything will manifest for the best, I think that’s one of the biggest things I bring is just bringing confidence to the team that, you know, we need to trust in the process and know that, you know, we’re on to a very, we’re doing a very big mission, a very, we have a very big vision, and to just trust that, you know, everything will work out the way it’s meant to work out.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 33:07
Yes, that faith component faith in what you can’t see necessarily, yes, exactly. How about a favorite memory or fun fact, from when you were traveling as a child,

Rekha Magon 33:21
I would say, we traveled a lot to India when I was a kid. And even though I’m Indian, but I was born in Canada, I used to hate these trips, honestly, when I was young, because it was such a culture shock for me, you know, to see the way people live and be removed from my own comfort zone and the luxuries that I was used to back home, we used to go to these meditation retreats. That was like very simple living. So I actually didn’t like it when I was very young. But with time, I grew into absolutely loving it and actually needing it, you know, to have my own mental sanity. And, you know, I think sometimes, you know, new experiences aren’t always easy for kids, right? But I think if you, they’re so valuable, and you appreciate them so much more after the fact because they you can see, you know, the effect that they’ve had on you even though in the moment they might not be the most enjoyable.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 34:16
I agree. Yes. How can others be activists to transform schools?

Rekha Magon 34:22
I would say to just speak up, you know, like, don’t be shy to like, say what you wish you could see in the classroom more, you know, whether it’s more personalized learning, or bringing in experts, you know, from the field into the classroom, or taking kids out of the classroom so they can have more experiential learning. I think the first step is to just to be vocal, you know, and to show that, Hey, you want something different for your kids and for the whole school and to, you know, be vocal about it and then, and then also offer yourself like, hey, I’ll do this with the kids or all take them here. I’ll come in after school and offer this Workshop, you know, I think change happens when you become the change maker. So it takes effort, you know, but if you’re vocal about it, and you put in the effort, that’s when change really starts to occur.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 35:12
Yes. And what is something that most people don’t know about you?

Rekha Magon 35:17
Ah I would say most people don’t know that I was probably a very stubborn child. And because of it, I cannot ride a bike still took the training wheels off my bike, I was so upset that I like refused to ever get the bike. Because I wanted to keep the retraining a lot. Yet to learn how to ride a bike it’s things on my to do list that probably know this about me, but I have a full grown not know how to play.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 35:51
Oh my gosh, that is so funny. Make I like to close with a magic wand moment. So if I handed you a magic wand and said, Okay, what do you wish for our learners in terms of their global experience and global awareness?

Rekha Magon 36:12
Hmm, I wish for them to see the world as one. You know, that’s my wish is that if they can be everybody in any country, as they see themselves, you know, and kind of develop that empathy. And no matter what they look like, or what country or what language they speak, if they can see themselves and everybody, I think we would just transform the way this future generation will lead the world, you know, when she left division, and less conflict and see more oneness and collaboration.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 36:50
Mic drop, I completely agree. Rekha, thank you for, for having this vision, developing it sticking with it, and transforming lives in the process.

Unknown Speaker 37:02
Thank you, Maureen. So nice to chat with you. And I look forward to doing it again.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 37:16
When we have to cover content as educators, to prepare students for state tests, we don’t get to look at the fullest possibilities for learning. Luckily, my micro school is a private school, and we have much more freedom. So when I have a student who has the opportunity to travel with their family, I’m able to say what project or learning Do you want to get from your trip, the comparing and contrasting, and researching is relevant, and makes their trip and even richer experience. We may also send along a little math work. We all know when we have ownership, that we have more buy in and are more engaged, that fire and love of learning can stay present all the way through school. If we give students agency and let them align with their passion and purpose, I recently got to present at the inclusion schools conference in South America.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 38:23
My presentation was on iki guy that is a Japanese word for wanting to jump out of bed in the morning and get your day started. And it’s been found that the populations in Okinawa, and three other places in the world have longer life expectancy. These are called Blue Zones. An important part of that is that the people there found projects and work that centered on an issue that is breaking their hearts, maybe poverty or global warming. And then they got to look at their strengths, their passions, and then sometimes how making money would align with all of this. I will put a link of this ikigai visual in the show notes. When we’re in that sweet spot of making a difference getting paid using our gifts and aligning with our passions. It’s amazing. And Rekha is empowering students to do just that. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are frequently a part of International Education. Unfortunately, they are not unpacked as much in the United States education system. Not only do these goals address world needs, they raise awareness so that people in places of privilege, understand that not everybody has the same resources and Rica’s magic one. It would be lovely. If we could all see the world as one John Lennon’s song Imagine comes to mind. What a worthwhile aspiration. As always, thank you for being a part of this very important, education, evolution

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 40:20
I know how challenging it is to make changes inside your own school or community. I’ve spent years working with schools around the world on creating learner centered programs. And it always struck me how much schools were able to get done with the right tools and guidance. If you’re ready to make changes like this in your own school, let’s talk and put together an action plan. Visit for a free 15 minute call. And let’s see if we’re a good fit for more work together. Thanks again for listening. To support the education evolution. Subscribe so it lands in your podcast app and gets out to more decision makers. Then rate and review it. For more information in shownotes go to education evolution listeners, you are the ones to ensure we create classrooms where each student is seen, heard, valued and thriving. We are in this together and we need you. Let’s go out and reach every student today. Thank you for listening, signing off. I am Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your partner in boldly reimagining education.

Transcribed by

Latest Episodes

Unlocking the World of Literacy with Marnie Ginsburg

Reading is simple, right? Not for everyone, and it’s especially challenging for those who don’t have access to all the tools and resources they need to be successful. This week we hear from Marnie Ginsburg, founder of Reading Simplified, who has dedicated her career...

Leading Like a Teacher with Miriam Plotinsky

The further away administrators get from their roots as teachers, the more they forget what it’s like to be in the trenches. The result is often either a real or perceived lack of empathy for teachers. Both teachers and administrators have vital roles in the school,...

Following the Evidence for Effective Policy with Darleen Opfer

We all want what’s best for our learners, but oftentimes biases get in the way of having productive conversations about what learning should look like in the classroom. Instead, we need to have evidence- and research-based conversations that support what truly works...

Latest Blog Posts

Why Isn’t Educational Change Happening?

School change is so much harder than I thought! When I did my doctoral research on school innovation and created a hands-on learning school-within-a-school in the 90s, I had no idea that I’d spend the next few decades making tiny changes. Changes that often...

Instilling a Practice of Gratitude in Uncertain Times

Thanksgiving looks different this year. Traditions are being shattered in 2020 and new realities are emerging. Thanksgiving is no exception. After Canada’s Thanksgiving in October, COVID statistics jumped, reminding us that, sadly, the pandemic isn’t taking a break...

Building Interdisciplinary Learning into Traditional Classrooms

A traditional classroom setting is just that...traditional. Teachers must teach specific subjects for a required amount of time, often using prescribed curriculum materials that may be a decade old. There’s little consideration for the individual learner--their...

Coming Soon!
Listen to Education Evolution on Apple Podcasts
Listen to Education Evolution on Spotify
Listen to Education Evolution on Stitcher
Listen on Google Play Music

Related Posts

Leading Like a Teacher with Miriam Plotinsky

Leading Like a Teacher with Miriam Plotinsky

This week on the podcast, we’re welcoming back author and educator Miriam Plotinsky. She’s sharing about her latest book, Lead Like a Teacher, and talking about what school leaders can do to build more trust and a more collaborative school environment.

Sign Up for Podcast & Blog Announcements and Get our Free Guide: Five Interdependent Hacks to Lead the Creation of a Learner-Centered Culture!

By providing your email address you are agreeing to receive email communications from Education Evolution. You can unsubscribe at any time.