Immersive Project-Based Learning Abroad with Joann McPike
February 21, 2023
Immersive Project-Based Learning Abroad with Joann McPike

If you’ve ever traveled to another country, you know how exciting it is to learn about other cultures. But as adults, many of us don’t have the opportunity to spend an extended period of time overseas. What if we were able to do that traveling in high school, learning by being immersed in culture, rather than sitting in a classroom eight hours a day?

That’s what this week’s guest, Joann McPike, wanted for her son. So she built it for him and invited other students along, too!

THINK Global School was founded on the idea that students should learn the things that matter in the grand scheme of things, rather than what we’ve “always” learned. The structure is so interesting and immersive, and it’s one that I hope gains some traction in the future.

Listen in!

About Joann McPike:

Joann McPike is the founder of THINK Global School and the chair of its board of directors. Her vision has created a global learning environment built on the foundation of empathy, diversity, resilience and self-reflection.

Joann McPike has dedicated her life to pursuing her passion for world travel. Joann grew up in New Zealand and developed a desire to explore the world at a young age. To date, she has traveled to over 73 countries. Over the course of her world travels, Joann has achieved a rare perspective on the multicultural aspects of our global society. As a photographer, she works to capture the diverse layers of meaning inherent in a given snapshot of life. In that regard, Joann considers her photography to demonstrate a documentary style of artistic expression. Her first book of photography, entitled THINK, was published in 2008.

Jump in the Conversation:

[1:40] – Where Joann’s story of school transformation began
[3:55] – One of the best ways to learn is by doing and making it relevant
[4:25] – More about Think Global schools
[6:15] – Learning should be relevant to what the kids are interested in
[7:19] – Helping students recognize many different perspectives
[10:06] – The challenges of going to the school
[11:45] – Adaptability is one of the most underrated skills
[13:55] – Joann’s favorite travel and learning experiences
[15:51] – It’s not just intellectual, it’s emotional, physical, spiritual too
[17:04] – Where students live during their travels
[17:35] – What happens after this amazing high school experience
[19:03] – People and planet before profit
[20:58] – Giving students the right tools
[22:16] – What parents and educators can do to foster a more global learning experience for their children
[24:01] – How about we push to create relevance in the curriculum that will be interesting, engaging, and fun for students
[25:18] – Turbo Time
[30:15] – Joann’s Magic Wand
[31:42] – 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, Joann, it is so good to have you on Education Evolution.

Joann McPike 1:12
It is so lovely to be here. Thank you for having me.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:16
Absolutely. And listeners. today I’m chatting with Joann McPike, founder of think global school, the world’s first traveling High School. Think global offers a unique curriculum titled changemaker, which puts students and their passions first operating under Project Based Learning do and I love everything about this. I’m curious. We all know that our schools have to evolve to serve learners. It’s not working now. Where did the story of school transformation begin for you?

Joann McPike 1:49
Oh, I think it started. A long time ago, pretty much when I was at school. I didn’t enjoy school, I was not a great test taker. And I at the first opportunity, I could I left. I graduated high school. And I think I did three months at university and decided that that wasn’t for me. And so I just hit it off traveling. And that became my education. And so when it came time for my son to go to high school, we had traveled a lot when he was young. By the time he was 13, he had been to 72 countries and I thought I don’t want him to go to a regular high school that’s going to teach us one way of thinking, right? If you go to school in America, you’re taught to think like an American. If you go to school in France, you’re taught to think, like a French person. And so I wanted him to carry on having this global mindset. And so we decided that I said, why I actually said to my ex husband, why don’t we just get a big boat and travel around the world with a tutor and teach him as we go. And he said, Well, that would be really boring. It would be more fun for a bunch of kids. And I said, Okay, I’m going to get a bunch of kids. And we’re going to travel around the world. And we’re going to learn as we go and he goes, that’s insane. Nobody’s going to send their kids to a school like that. And I think we’ve been open for 12, almost 13 years now. And, yeah, it’s it. You know, it’s been an evolution has been a process. You know, we did IB to begin with, decided that wasn’t for us. We’re actually the students decided that wasn’t for us. And they said, This is not an IB school. And so we developed the Changemaker curriculum and switched over in two years, just I mean, luckily, we’re a small school. So we’re able to do that. But you know, I really do think that one of the best ways to learn is learning by doing and making the learning relevant to the world that we’re living in. And a lot of times what we’re teaching and regular high school just isn’t relevant to the world that we’re living in or the world that these children are going to grow up into.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 4:21
Absolutely. So tell us more about think global and your Changemaker curriculum. If I’m like a 10th grader that really wants to study and use your model, what would it look like? How would I get involved and how much would it cost?

Joann McPike 4:38
Well, to join the global school, you apply online, the students have to apply and we do know when the parents apply for the student. So that’s a big no no. The students have to apply you go through a series of interviews. And you know, think level school I always say think level school isn’t a High School just for straight A students, right? It’s all about your creativity and your curiosity. And, you know, project based learning is student driven. It is, it gives students a lot of agency over what they want to learn, and how they learn. And it is within a framework. And that is sort of they have a rubric that they have to follow. But you know, you have a student led project, you have a teacher led project, you self assess, which is a really interesting, which is a really interesting part here, when students first arrive. And you’re like, well, we don’t do exams. And they’re like, Well, if you don’t do exams, how do we know where you stand? In class, and I said, it doesn’t matter where it is, then in class, what matters is where you stand in six months compared to where you are today. Right? The only person you’re compared to is yourself, because that’s the only thing that matters, it doesn’t matter what Joe was doing over here in the corner. Right? It matters, love what you’re doing.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 6:10

Joann McPike 6:11
And, and then, and then, you know, their learning becomes relevant to what they’re interested in, and what they’re curious about, and the world that they’re living in. And, and then it makes it fun.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 6:25
Mm hmm. passionate and has always are a winning combination. On your website, I see six different languages. Do you get kids from all over the world? And do they all have a common language?

Joann McPike 6:38
Yeah, a language of instruction is English. Okay. So there has to be a certain proficiency in English. But that being said, you don’t have to be a full on English speaker because it’s the astonishing how quickly, everybody just gets into the flow of it. Right. So yeah, language of instruction is English. But you can have in one cohort of 30 kids, we have 21 Different countries represented. And I always say that our, our students learn as much from one another as they do from the country that they’re in. Yes. The whole idea behind think global school is to help students recognize there are many different perspectives. Right? And not one perspective is right. And, you know, history is always taught from the side of the vector. Yeah, but there’s always another side, right? And every culture, every religion, every body really has their own story, right, their own perspective. And what we try to do it think global school is to just open those minds, broaden those horizons, show that there are other perspectives because then you start asking questions, right? And you start, then you don’t you don’t look at the what anymore, you start looking at the why, why certain things happened. Why are we where we are? Why is the world like it is right now? Why? Right? Not what it’s there’s no finger pointing. There’s it’s just more curiosity and trying to understand trying to come together.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 8:26
That makes really good sense. So your cohort, is this. A cohort that stays together for three years are some coming in and coming out i i saw on your website to 10 countries in three years with a four to one student teacher ratio. It’s like, wow, so So is the 30 member cohort, your whole group?

Joann McPike 8:49
Yeah, the 30 member cohort is the whole group and the students traveled with their teachers. Students will come and go, maybe they just come for a year. Usually, they come for all three years, or at least 211 and 12. We don’t accept kids just in grade 12. So yeah, they will come they will come together. They’ll arrive in whatever the first country is really. Botswana in July, and they’ll do seven weeks and country. And then five weeks at home. And I like to tell the parents just when you miss your children, they come home again and just when you get sick of them. So they’ll do they do seven weeks and country five weeks at home one of those weeks at home was online learning to prepare for for the next country that they go into. And there’s no long summer break. So it’s just seven ons and five off and no long summer break.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 9:52
That sounds wonderful.

Joann McPike 9:55
It is so much fun. I have to admit it is so much fun now To say I started a school that I would have wanted to go to when I was at school. I mean, there’s, it’s challenging. It’s not an easy school to go to studying all years difficult. Traveling, just alone, traveling more years difficult. Yeah, just the, you know, physically, it’s challenging emotionally, it’s challenging. In an education space, it’s challenging, because you’re given agency, you’re given them responsibility for your own learning. And, you know, I know myself at 56 years old, sometimes I really like to procrastinate, you know, I mean, just who as well. And so, there are a lot of life skills that you’re learning along the way. That was, there are so many life skills that you learn along the way that are not in a normal curriculum.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 11:00
Absolutely. I think of Angela Duckworth studies and work on grit, how do you learn grit in a week of 50 minute math classes or English classes, you know, it’s so different ones, like, I am tired, but I have to do this in this country. And I have to figure out how to communicate when I don’t have the language, or I don’t get dinner tonight, or, you know, something. So it’s like, the perseverance, the innovation, they have to operate, at least I have in countries where I don’t have the language, it takes a lot out of me that I would have never gotten in a classroom with four walls.

Joann McPike 11:41
Yeah, you, you know, one of the one of the other biggest things we learn is adaptability, right, how to adapt. And and I think that that is one of the one of the most underrated skills their two children are going to need going forward in the world is adaptability and the ability to, you know, to change quickly. And I mean, technology, for instance, right? It’s coming at us so fast. And our, our initial reaction is to, you know, push back and say, Well, you know, we don’t want this or we can’t use this or, or this is dangerous or something like that, but it’s coming. We can’t stop it, we cannot stop the change. Right. So how do we adapt to it? And how do we best prepare our children to be adaptable to the change? It’s coming climate wise? Yeah, it’s coming. Politically, it’s emotionally it’s everything’s about adaptability, how well you can adapt.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 12:53
Absolutely, adaptability is so important. And I think that you give kids a chance for this holistic development in so many ways, along with I mean, I was reading a little snippet of your curriculum, along with really cool sparks, to for kids to riff off and go with their passions I read. Imagine reading Homer, as you trace Odysseus journey through Greece, or learning data modeling. By cataloging the sea life you observe while scuba diving off the Great Barrier Reef. Oh my gosh, rigorous Changemaker curriculum, traveling project based, wow, the whole human is engaged. And how can you not take something amazing away from getting to scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef, or getting to really experience Greece? So you are giving them such real world versus textbook and two dimensional? What’s one of the favorite places that you’ve traveled with the students the end a unit that it ties in with? I’m sure it’s hard.

Joann McPike 14:03
Yeah, that’s that’s a really hard one. I mean, I think the Great Wall of China was absolutely fascinating. When we were in China, the Japan is a huge favorite. For me, more than the projects themselves that are exciting is the the change of culture that they go through. So you’ll go from, like, Botswana to India, to Japan, and then Greece. Right. And those four cultures which are so each one of them is so uniquely special and beautiful. But the change so quickly, is just I don’t know it just it just it just blows your mind wide open. Right? Yes, yes. So, in each of the projects in the country is also so unique to the country as well. So we try to find things that are special about the country like studying, let’s say, nuclear power in Japan when when were in Hiroshima. Right. And then we could also look at, we can look at the Second World War, and we could look at the atomic bombs. And, and so you, you look at this from multiple different perspectives, right, the good side of it, and the bad side of it, and the impact that it’s had on the world, emotionally and spiritually. You know, I think that one of the great things about being global, and the way that we teach and the projects that, that our students do, is that it’s not just intellectual, right? It’s, it’s emotional, it’s spiritual, it’s even physical a lot of other times, but it’s not just intellectual. We want we want our kids to learn by feeling.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 16:17
Yes, well, yeah,

Joann McPike 16:18
not just not just thinking even though it’s called Think global school, it’s, it’s also about feeling they’re learning why it’s important to the why it’s important that they learn certain things, the, the, the emotion behind what they’re doing, even if it’s a science project, or something very sensible and logical and, you know, AI or something or other like that this, there’s still a feeling behind it. And I think that I think that’s also just as important when it comes to when it comes to learning as a whole person.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 16:59
Absolutely. I’m curious, did kids ever get homestays? Or where do they live when they’re in these different countries,

Joann McPike 17:07
and we find different places for them. We don’t generally do homestays. Usually we’ll find a small hotel will rent out a small hotels, small apartments, boarding schools, we stay at boarding schools, sometimes different countries, different places in Botswana, they can be intense out in the bush.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 17:32
Wow. So when kids have such an impactful high school experience, what next? Do they want to go on to college? Are they prepared for college? Are they like, I’m going to travel the rest of my life? I don’t want to be in one place. What tends to happen? What are some things that happen after high school with you?

Joann McPike 17:54
Yeah, most of our students go on to higher education of some sort. Sometimes they’ll take a year or two before they sort of choose where they’re going to go, they’ve had no problem getting into whatever university they choose to go to. Yeah, we try to help them understand that there’s more than just American universities out there. There are you know, that amazing universities all over the world. We have a lot of students in Amsterdam, oh, loving leaves, diversities over there. Yeah, in Europe. But, you know, they’ve, they’ve gone on, they’ve graduated university, they’re out in the real world, living their lives.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 18:39
It seems like having such a rich high school experience would change their trajectory, and they’d be more interested perhaps in global issues, or wanting more of a sense of equity in the world are meaningful, and not just, Oh, I’m gonna go to this college and major in this because I’m good at math. And so it seems like they would probably bring a different perspective into what they want to pursue after high school.

Joann McPike 19:05
So my hope is that, you know, by being at think global school, that when they go on to, to choose what they want to do in the world, that they put people and planet, before profit, that they, you know, that they actually do want to do something in the world, that they want to make a change that they that they feel empowered to make a change, that they know how they can do that. That they have the tools to, to be brave, and to stand up and speak out. That’s sort of That’s my ultimate dream. I mean, we call it a change maker curriculum, because that’s what we want our students to be we want them to be changemakers. We want them to, to go out and affect change within their communities, on some level out there in the world.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 19:59
Wow, Joann, I love it. And your phrase, tools to be brave. Yeah, that takes a lot of self confidence, self awareness, commitment to causes. A lot of our kids just get good at doing school and checking off the boxes getting done. And they don’t leave with a sense of, yeah, this is what I’m on fire about. And we also have so many humans, especially in the United States, where we’re one language, kind of, with so many humans that haven’t had their minds, bursted open with all these different perspectives. So they’re really they have a couple of information sources. And that’s what they’re stuck in is a reality when the reality like you said, it’s complex, there’s a lot of bad, there’s a lot of good, there’s a lot of everything out there. And yeah, you’re poising your learners to go on and be change makers, just like you say,

Joann McPike 20:57
you know, that’s my hope. You know, all we can do like, like I said, all we can do is give them the tools to do that. And the tools to do that are different today than what they were 30 years ago, when you know, you and I were at school, two years ago, when you’re you know, it’s it’s a very different world that we live in today. And I think that it’s super important for schools to recognize this. Right, and to let start teaching, not in the way that we always taught, but in a way that’s beneficial for the students for the future. And I know that’s really hard for a lot of people to, to hold on to because well, it worked for me. Yeah, that’s one of those one of those sayings, that that infuriates me more than anything. Well, it worked for me, you know, and then I’m like, did it? Did it really work for you?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 21:58
Exactly. And it worked for you. In an era that wasn’t so tech driven, that wasn’t dealing with the global climate? It was a different era.

Joann McPike 22:09
Yeah, so the things we have to be teaching a very different.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 22:13
Absolutely. So what are two or three things that our listeners can do? Not everybody is going to be able to get their kid in a school and having this amazing experience? So what could our parents, educators, anybody listening to this? What are some things they could do to help have the learning experience more of a global one for our high school students?

Joann McPike 22:40
So one of the things, you know, that I think for parents is to get involved, get involved with your school? Or, you know, there’s an organization that I work with in the UK called big change. And they’re working together with the Lego Foundation, and a few other partners and have started what’s called the big education conversation, right, which is asking the question, what is education really for? Like, why are we educating? And what they’re trying to do is bring this conversation into local communities, to get everybody involved, get parents involved, get teachers involved, to try and change the mindset around why we’re educating. Right? Another Another thing they could do is, is trust their children trust that they actually want to learn, right? Because I think that people, people don’t really think that kids actually want to learn now, they may not want to go to school. Yeah, but they do want to learn. And another thing, ask them what they want to learn about, right? How many times do teenagers actually get asked? What is it you’re curious about? What is it you want to learn about? How can we facilitate that? Right, because I know that I learned two years of algebra and calculus, and I’m sorry for all of those math whizzes out there. But it was absolutely irrelevant to my life. Right? I had absolutely no use for two years of algebra or calculus. Now, financial literacy, that would have really helped. He has, right so How about how about we push to create, you know, create relevant evidence in the curriculum that will be interesting and engaging and fun for students to learn.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 24:48
I think those are amazing suggestions and, and common sense. We have to let go of our familiarity bias that we want to stick with what we know and what we’re comfortable with and what we had and really out Ask these tough questions if we want our kids to be ready to be amazing contributors in our society as adults, Joanne, everything you are doing is just so powerful. And I’m going to shift now I want to make sure our listeners get to know a little bit about you. So may I ask you a couple of turbo time questions?

Joann McPike 25:21
Sure. Yay.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 25:23
Yeah. What’s the last book you read?

Joann McPike 25:27
The last book I read is actually called the expectation effect by David Robson. And it is all about how our expectations and our beliefs that we have have such a huge effect on how we perform. And I actually started reading it, because I was like, why is it I don’t like exercise anymore. I and, you know, it was it. It just, you know, the expectations that I had around exercise were the same that I had when I was 30. Right. Woohoo. And so I’ve had to change those expectations. And it’s actually super, super interesting. I recommend everybody to read it.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 26:16
Love it. How about inspirational folks? It can be from history now, even from literature that you’d love to meet

Joann McPike 26:27
Nelson Mandela, I would have loved to have met Nelson Mandela. I mean, really, just to be in His presence. I mean, these days, someone who’s alive. The Dalai Lama, of course, would be high on my list. So what I really liked me, I think it’s Brene Brown. I think I’d love to sit down and have dinner and a glass of wine with her because I think well, I don’t drink but dinner, especially because I think she’d be a lot of fun. Somehow, I just feel like she would be a hoot.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 26:59
Yes. I ever heard her let loose on her podcast with her sister. And it’s like, this is a real person, I can see having a glass of wine and just being real with her.

Joann McPike 27:10
Yeah, exactly. I think it’d be a lot of fun at the same time. Very inspirational.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 27:15
Yes. How about a pet peeve of yours?

Joann McPike 27:19
Oh, a pet peeve. I think probably the biggest pet peeve I have is one of my biggest pet peeves is when people don’t think they’re creative. And I hear that a lot. Well, I’m not creative. And I’m like, You’re born creative. Right? Everybody is born curious and creative. And we, we kind of limit our perspective on what creativity is, you know, we kind of think, well, you know, you have to make music or you have to be able to paint a picture or something or other like that. But creativity is just so innate in all of us. And I think that it frustrates me, because so many people minimize themselves and minimize their, their abilities because they don’t feel like the Creator.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 28:19
Yeah, agreed. And how about something that most folks don’t know about you?

Joann McPike 28:26
That I’m terrified of public speaking, like, even this podcast. I mean, my tummy has literally been in turmoil for a couple of days, because I have to put myself out there and I, you know, my mind goes blank, I’m afraid I’m going to say the wrong thing. Or the what I say is an interesting or irrelevant, and you know, that, that really scares me. I mean, I have this, I have a belief about myself, which I’m trying to change the expectation that I’m not very intelligent. And it has, it has been with me since I was a little girl at school where I didn’t do well in maths and things like that. And I didn’t do well in tests. And, and so, you know, there’s that belief that because I didn’t do well there that I’m not very intelligent, and it’s something that I’m at the age of 56 I’m still working around. And it’s something I think, I don’t want any child to think, or to believe that they’re not, they’re not smart enough. You know, smart enough for what? Anyway, this year, I’m putting my big girl panties on. And I’m going to do more of what I’m afraid of.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 29:48
Good for you. And I’m enjoying this conversation. And it’s not obvious to me as somebody conversing with you that this is a really big stretch for you. So the Thank you. I’m so glad you’re a guest. I have One final question.

Joann McPike 30:04
Thank you for having me.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 30:05
Yes. I’d like to wrap my podcast up with a magic wand moment. So if I hand you a magic wand, what sort of global experience would you wish for for all youth?

Joann McPike 30:21
Gosh, if I could take every single young person around the world traveling, if I could take them out into the world to show them the beauty, the pain, the possibility, the potential? I think it would it. It just changes your way of being. And there’s so much more compassion and understanding and kindness that comes with being exposed to multiple different cultures move multiple different religions. That’s what I would do. I would, I would, I would expose it every young child to the world.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 31:19
Yes, please. And you are doing that. Joann, thank you for creating think global school. And thank you for being a guest on the podcast.

Joann McPike 31:29
Well, thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed it, I really do.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 31:43
For anyone who has lived in another country, there’s the knowledge of the whole experience being beyond expectations. I often would say, I don’t even know what I don’t know. And it was usually when I bumped up against my assumptions that I discovered that there was more to learn. For example, the time I got pulled over when I was driving in the Andes in Peru, I discovered that not everywhere had a free right turn on a red light. Luckily, I had a Peruvian friend in the car with me, who said the right things about the not so smart foreigner, they got me off the hook without a ticket. So for our youth to get to engage their brains in ways they don’t anticipate and grapple with situations that they’ve never encountered before. That is powerful learning.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 32:38
My girls grew up in six countries besides the United States. One of the biggest gifts for them is that they saw how kind people were around the world. Often we didn’t speak the language and folks were so gracious to us. My daughters also saw how privileged and entitled we are. I remember when Typhoon Milenio hit us when we lived in the Philippines, it knocked down part of our back fence and left us without power for a few days. That was a sharp contrast to the experience some of the teacher assistants, whose housing was in a local village. There mudslides ruined their homes completely. This awareness of our usually unearned privilege, oftentimes leads travelers to want to give back out of a sense of abundance, and wanting better for people all around the world. Think global is giving kids the amazing experience of living in 10 countries in three years. Talk about the ability to compare and contrast. And to break down assumptions first about our own culture, and then about foreign cultures.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 33:54
My hope is also Joann’s hope, that this experience changes student’s way of being and increases their compassion, understanding and kindness. I know my younger daughter graduated from college and move straight to working in a nonprofit and she they it was unpaid. So she had to find ESL jobs to pay rent once she found a place to live. But working with the Foster and street children in a foreign country was very rewarding for her. And then there’s think Global’s experience of having a cohort with students from up to 21 other countries. That multinational student body was the experience we had in our international schools. So my daughters loved eating seaweed and sushi because they had a lot of those foods in the homes of some of their friends. It was interesting for my elementary aged girls, to see friends from various cultures going to Hebrew, Korean or French school after a full day at the American School.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 34:57
One friend had never had a sleepover until She came to my daughter’s third grade birthday party. weekends were too full of responsibilities and enrichment classes in her family. This fun of making friends from around the world, and realizing that nationality is not a factor in enjoying other people, hopefully sticks when our youth are meeting people from various backgrounds later in life, too, and also talks about looking at history, not just from the perspective of the victor, very important. And this is something we can do without traveling. For example, my micro school lead prep is studying US history this year. And they are not doing it chronologically based on the white man’s story. First quarter, they were looking through the lens of gender. And students had the opportunity to do deep dives in in any aspect of this that was fascinating for them. And now they are just finishing up a second quarter. And looking at US history through the lens of the indigenous population, we have two more quarters with new lens to go. So we can choose to go beyond traditional learnings and explore different perspectives in pretty much any subject, no passport required. But that said, when learning can include a different country, it’s transformative. And Joanne has seen that transformation on a large scale. I have to I remember when I was the high school principal in Budapest, Hungary, our 10th grade students read the book night in English, and that talked about the Holocaust. And they studied World War Two in history. And then for our fall week without walls, we took a long bus ride to Bergen out Poland, to tour the concentration camp that has become a historic Museum. The kids were so humbled that they decided to fast for a day and use the money that they would have spent on meals to buy a tree and plant it in solidarity with the other visitors who want to make sure we remember and don’t repeat the atrocities of World War Two. When we do get to see other cultures, both the problems and the good.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 37:23
It is with the hope that our use will start to frame as Joann states, putting people and planet before profit. I admit feeling sad when I heard that Joann learned at school at an early age that she was not very intelligent. Ouch. How often do we categorize our students in ways that leave them with a lasting sense of being less than or not good enough? Not touching on Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences or inviting students to express their learning in various modes is tragic. Yes, we have kids that memorize well and excel at doing school. But we also have kids that don’t learn in the traditional sense, who feel like they are broken or wrong. Crazy, since we all know it is the system that is broken. one size never fits all when it comes to our rainbow of learners. In closing, I loved Joann’s magic wand response to take every young child around the world traveling showing them the beauty and pain and possibilities. And how eloquently Joann suggests helping youth have the tools to be brave and stand up and speak out. Here’s to many more opportunities created for students to learn from the world around them. As always, thank you for being a part of the education evolution.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 39:08
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 show notes 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.

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