Interdisciplinary Learning to Grow Student Engagement with Casey Ikeda and Jacob Janin
February 2, 2021
interdisciplinary learning

How much can you get done in an hour, versus an entire day? When we try to push too much information through a small window, educators are often limited in their lesson plans and students sometimes can’t see the bigger picture.

Switching from a traditional one-hour class model to a full day of interdisciplinary instruction can spark student engagement and ignite their expression.

Today’s guests, Casey Ikeda and Jacob Janin, talk about the power of personalizing classes and collaborating to create interdisciplinary learning experiences. And they share examples of projects that connect students to passion and purpose.

By taking an interdisciplinary approach and helping students overcome obstacles through student-teacher and community connections, and fostering agency, we can grow student engagement and set them up for success.

About Casey Ikeda and Jacob Janin:

Casey Ikeda and Jacob Janin are teachers at Leadership Preparatory Academy in Seattle and members of the school’s leadership team. Casey teaches social studies and serves as community relations officer, and Jacob teaches English and is the chief learning officer. In their roles on the leadership team, they attend to the relationships of students and teachers beyond academic progression. They recently created a holistic report card system that includes student goal-setting and reflection, habits of success, and academic progress.

Casey and Jacob have a long history together, from their time as Ultimate Frisbee rivals in high school to their success as a teaching team at Leadership Preparatory Academy. They know relationships and trust are key to student engagement, and they encourage students to draw on their experiences and extend them with new learning.

Jump Through the Conversation

[2:00] How having good mentors inspired Casey to teach
[4:05] Why and how Jacob relates to students who may be reluctant to write
[5:52] Casey shares some of his students’ impactful, community-focused projects
[8:53] Casey and Jacob discuss their history together and why they make a great team
[14:06] Casey and Jacob on the struggles and rewards of using an interdisciplinary model
[27:33] Casey’s Magic Wand: Remove barriers between teachers and students and connect on a personal level
[28:27] Jacob’s Magic Wand: Every student and teacher has an hour of exercise and an hour of therapy before class every day
[29:30] Maureen’s Corresponding Magic Wand: We all need to move more and attend to our personal wellbeing–whatever it takes to be centered, regulated, and ready to engage

Links and Resources:

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

Latest Episodes

[Human Rights Series] The Right to an Education

We’ve all always known that not everyone has the same access to a quality education. We only need to look in our own communities to see the difference. But travel overseas and you’ll find children living in poverty that we can’t even imagine who don’t have access to...

Addressing Equity Through Adaptive Assessments with Nathan Thompson

Traditional standardized assessments are easy to use because they expect every student to take the exact same test. It’s easy to grade and inexpensive to administer. But these kinds of tests don’t work. They expect mastery at a granular level and don’t account for...

Education as a Human Right with William Tucker

Every human on the planet has a right to an education. And, more importantly, a right to the education that they need and want. In Western culture, that often looks like traditional education…sitting in seats in classrooms and memorizing vocabulary and historical...

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

Imagine Seeing the World as One with Rekha Magon

Imagine Seeing the World as One with Rekha Magon

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.

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.