The Art of Podcasting to Empower Youth Voice & Agency with James Healy
November 23, 2021
The Art of Podcasting to Empower Youth Voice & Agency with James Healy

Our youth and young adults have so many more options than we did as kids. We were taught that you go into college or a trade; those were your two choices. Today, kids are creating their own model of what life will look like in adulthood.

But to ensure their success, we need to help them develop their voice and agency. They need to know how to speak up and speak out and allow their voices to be heard–literally and figuratively.

In the literal sense, podcasting is a great option. And in this episode of our podcast, I’m talking with James Healy, a certified StoryBrand Guide and editor of this podcast.

We talk about his experience teaching podcasting to a group of high school students, why audio is so important, how kids’ tech skills transferred into podcasting, and the use of the StoryBrand framework.

We love that we can give our youth so many opportunities in today’s tech-savvy world, and that the next steps after high school can be so varied now in support of our rainbow of learners.


About James Healy:

Many professionals struggle to position themselves as an authority and get their message heard. All too often, great ideas and content never gets created. Insights and wisdom that could impact people and change lives are lost. James Healy specializes in helping these experts connect and engage with their ideal clientele as thought leaders in their field. He’s an author, a podcast host and producer, and a book publisher. James is also a Certified StoryBrand Guide and implements the proven StoryBrand framework into powerful authority positioning strategies like brand messaging, book authorship, podcast hosting, and more.


Jump in the Conversation:

  • [1:40] Agency for millennials
  • [3:10] The art of podcasting to empower youth
  • [3:45] How James began in podcasting
  • [6:48] Youth in the wilderness – how two worlds collide
  • [10:37] Design thinking as a teacher
  • [11:27] Voice and choice for our youth
  • [13:10] Learning isn’t one size fits all
  • [13:54] James’s learnings from podcasting
  • [16:27] Tech-savvy youth – how their tech skills translated into learning podcasting
  • [17:38] Transferring podcast learning to other formats
  • [21:40] What is the StoryBrand framework
  • [27:02] Giving students tools to look at things from a different perspective
  • [27:23] Applying the framework to college essays
  • [29:16] Turbo Time
  • [34:53] What people need to know about student voice
  • [36:46] Passion in podcasting: voice matters
  • [38:26] James’s Magic Wand
  • [40:12] Maureen’s takeaways


Links & Resources:

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



Maureen O’Shaughnessy  0:03  

Hello fellow parents and educators. Thank you for joining me at Education Evolution, where we are disrupting the status quo in today’s learning models. We talk about present day education, what’s broken, who’s fixing it, and how. I’m Dr. Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your host and founder of education evolution, micro school coalition, and co-founder of 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  

Some say our millennials are lost and not successfully joining the workforce. I listen to my adult daughters and their friends and hear the disconnect. This generation doesn’t want business as usual. They’re questioning how and why we can start this conversation earlier in our schools, big picture learning and one stone engage students in passion projects and internships. See my show notes for great interviews with each this agency with students having more voice and choice in what and how they learn empowers youth. It prepares them to ask the tough questions earlier, gain self knowledge and be heard. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  1:57  

Today’s guest uses a tool that schools and families could easily add to the repertoire for youth agency. Youth created podcasts. This is the digital age and helping students explore, organize their thoughts, and speak up can all be facilitated with podcasting. Let’s learn more.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  2:31  

Hi, James. So good to have you on the Education Evolution podcast today.


James Healy  2:36  

Hi, Maureen. Good to be here.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  2:40  

And listeners today I’m chatting with James Hamilton Healy of McLean media. James is an author, a podcast host and producer and a book publisher. He is certified in story brand framework and effective strategy that reframes messaging to increase marketing impact. And he’s the very involved father of an active young son, Dutch. Recently, James has returned to school to teach you the art of podcasting. Let’s hear how James is using this tool to empower youth and increased agency pew. That’s your intro James. 


James Healy  3:19  



Maureen O’Shaughnessy  3:21  

I am so grateful that our friend Jessica introduced us when I was nervously contemplating becoming a podcaster. And as the podcast editor and engineer behind this podcast, you’ve trained and guided me for almost 100 episodes. So thank you. So can you tell us how you began in podcasting?


James Healy  3:46  

Oh, my gosh, I was back seven or eight years ago now I think how I was working at a job that was doing a lot of house painting and remodeling and this sort of thing. And my sister had given me a small mp3 player, right? Like it was like an iPod, but not an iPad. But you could put some music on there and I could listen to while I worked. I could also listen to a radio station. 


James Healy  4:18  

But I started downloading podcasts. And that’s when podcasting started right you would download the audio file onto your iPod and then you could listen to it wherever you went. And I was able to download I think like five at a time onto that little thing. And so every day I was finding new things to listen to and just really got interested in the world of podcasting. 


James Healy  4:43  

And then I also became an addiction recovery coach was helping people find ways to deal with becoming sober and dealing with addiction. But that were alternative ways that weren’t the traditional 12 STEP program, go to meetings, drink coffee and eat doughnuts, See More, more like focusing on a lot of the things I had learned in a previous career as a hiking guide for health and fitness tour company. But it was things like yoga and nutrition and meditation and exercise and getting out into nature and all these things could help you deal with your addiction. 


James Healy  5:32  

So I started a podcast where I was interviewing people who were experts in yoga for addiction or nutrition for addiction recovery in this sort of thing. And as you know, through the podcast, and you start to connect with so many of these wonderful experts in their field, and I just happened to post on a Facebook group one day that, you know, I’ve been doing the podcasting thing for a while, and I was willing to help. Two or three folks start their own podcast is just kind of a side gig. And I had some people take me up on it. 


James Healy  6:08  

So yeah, years later, and now it’s my main gigs. It’s pretty cool.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  6:15  

Wow. Yeah. And I know, Jessica Betts our mutual friend, I got to be on her podcast, when I put my book out as like, okay. Okay, I kind of get this and I was like, so nervous as a guest. And then when she’s like, worrying, you need to be doing your own. And James is the person that can help you. It’s like, oh, who, so you’re a godsend. I want to get messages out. I want to connect and amplify voices. And I had no idea how and so I think that you have a lot of teacher in you. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  6:47  

And I know, you have experience with youth in the wilderness setting. And in our conversations, I hear you creating tons of engaged learning for your son. So how did all of these pieces percolate and lead you to offer a podcasting class at the Bozeman field school?


James Healy  7:06  

Great question. So I did teach for several years at a private school in Leadville, Colorado called the High Mountain Institute. It was a semester program. So the kids would come for an entire semester they were juniors in high school, and we would take them on three expeditions two week long expeditions, even winter camping in the winter Russkies cool, and everything is pretty impressive. And it was based on leadership and communication skills. 


James Healy  7:42  

But they were also on campus. They were giving their regular academic coursework, everything from calculus to French. It was really wonderful experience. And so I still had that bug in me to connect with these kids in teach in stumbled across the Bozeman Field School, which is has a similar model. They don’t do as much of the expedition stuff, but they do take the kids camping, they do get a mountain in nature and that sort of thing. And I was talking to them about becoming an adjunct faculty, they actually put out a call, they were looking for adjunct faculty. 


James Healy  8:23  

And so I threw some ideas by him. Everything from teaching, like the story brand framework, because they have kids there who are interested in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, or the podcasting. And, you know, podcasting has become not just a big part of my life, professionally, but personally, as you know, my son, who’s eight loves podcasts, stories, podcasts, he wakes up every morning, and says, I want to listen to a podcast before he gets out of bed. He wants to listen to one after we read books at night. He wants to listen to a podcast as he goes to sleep. And then we’ll listen to him and I’ll fall asleep. 


James Healy  9:04  

And then in the morning, we have to turn it back on because he missed the end, right? We listen to podcasts while driving from here. I live in Montana to Minnesota to visit family in the car. And it’s a great way to pass the time. And I love it because he’s not in front of a screen. thing. Yeah. And he’s hearing these great stories. Some are traditional, some are new, some are made up of course. And so it’s just been kind of a great way for me to connect with kids too. And so I brought that to the field school and I just finished up the two blocks. So we finished up the first block this fall, and we had podcast class for all students. It was great.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  9:50  

Nice. Yes, small and personalized. That’s my jam. I love it.


James Healy  9:55  

Yeah, I’ve been doing some group coaching to help others start their path. Cast if they can’t afford to pay someone like me to edit and engineer and produce and post and do all that, and they want to do it on their own. So I started about a year ago, doing these cohorts about six weeks long of, you know, guiding people through the process of launching, and, and recording their own podcast and managing it, giving them all the systems. 


James Healy  10:26  

And all the little, there’s a lot of little steps, as you well know, that go into this from this point recording to actually getting it out there on to the podcast platform. And so I basically just modified that curriculum.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  10:43  



James Healy  10:44  

I simplified it. I definitely I learned a lot through the process. And so I’m going to, to revamp that curriculum, and hopefully make it available for others at other schools to be able to implement in their their own classroom.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  11:01  

Yes, yes, we need to have things that are scalable, and that we can share in a broader way. And I love that you’re talking design thinking, I learned some things and I’m going to change some things up. I mean, we coach our kids on that, you know, hey, do one more iteration, and they’re groaning. But I think it’s really helpful. And they see we as adults are also, you know, learning from our experiences and upping our game too. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  11:25  

And I really wanted to unpack agency, we all want more voice and choice for our youth. I just think this agency is so important for engagement and self discovery. I’m sure you saw some real life agency happening. Can you share a story from your podcasting class of where somebody maybe found more of their voice or really felt that empowerment?


James Healy  11:51  

Hi, yeah, um, you know, they had a hard time figuring out a topic at first, I thought that maybe they could do a group project. But that got a little cumbersome. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  12:04  



James Healy  12:05  

I encourage them to each come up with their own special topic, what they wanted to talk about. And one of the students she wanted to start a podcast about her pet peeves, which I thought was a kind of a fun topic, because she could tell a little story. And she even recorded a disclaimer at the start of the show. This is my opinion. Yeah, I don’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings or anything like that. So this is a great way for her to maybe voice her frustrations that are out in the world, and then maybe get some feedback on it. But I thought that was an interesting way to talk about our pet peeves,


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  12:49  

That is so clever. And I think that reminds us to empowering youth and giving them a voice. It doesn’t mean they have to be experts. We all have pet peeves. We all have passions. So for her to get to amplify that and and be use it as a conversation starter. I think that’s a cool example.


James Healy  13:10  

Yeah, oh, kids had very different focuses for their podcast, based on their personal interests. One was about Python coding another about, he was doing movie reviews, reviewing old school, Monty Python movies and things. It was cool.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  13:30  

And how wonderful that learning did not have to be one size fits all that they can engage in their passions, because we all do better when we’re interested in a topic. So the way to make it something personalized, so that each kid could really own it, James?


James Healy  13:49  

Oh, yeah, definitely. I mean, one of the big things I’ve learned through podcasting, and there’s, you know, listening to audio goes back forever. Like, we’re just inherently that’s our nature. We speak and we listen. And that’s how we communicate. We’ve passed on stories for aeons that way. And the ale did this series of five experiments, a big study, which was published in the American Psychological Associations journal. 


James Healy  14:21  

But they discovered that voice only communication enhances empathic accuracy, that we hear more emotion through voice and voice alone than we do through visual and audio. The video it’s kind of there’s this thing, it’s like a computer. When your brain is running like a computer if it’s running more than one program at a time. It’s not as efficient. And so we can hear more emotion just through audio and that’s why we get sucked into those stories while we’re driving across the country. That Playing, we don’t have to see anything. It forces our brains to create the visualization of what’s going on. And it creates more emotion and emotions plays such a key role in decision making. 


James Healy  15:16  

So I think if we can create that, with kids, that we can hear their emotion when they are actively using their voice, just would go very far.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  15:30  

Yeah, I love I’m gonna look up that study and put it in. 


James Healy  15:35  

I’ll send you the link.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  15:35  

Thank you. Yeah, we know this. But connecting the dots. I mean, we know when we shut down some senses. other senses are stronger. I mean, I had breakthrough COVID in August and lost my sense of taste. So peanut butter, and jelly toast, all of a sudden became a texture experience. It wasn’t a taste experience. And we know of somebody who has lost their sight and their hearing and that you so to take away the visuals, so we can really hear it and create our own pictures. I think that makes perfect sense that that would increase empathy, which is something we all want increased in need increased. Definitely in our country right now.


James Healy  16:17  

Definitely. Definitely. Yeah.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  16:20  

I’m curious, James. Everybody’s like, oh, youth are so tech savvy. I run to my youth whenever I need help with my gizmo, my phone. But I think there’s tech savvy in very specific ways, and not in I mean, he asked them to cut and paste and send you a doc and do it an email. And they’re like, What, huh? So their tech skills? How did that translate into learning podcasting?


James Healy  16:43  

It really translated quite well, they definitely were pretty quick to learn the few tools that I introduce them to that they could use for recording and editing and launching their podcast. I definitely tried to keep it pretty simple and wasn’t using the same software that I use. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  17:03  



James Healy  17:04  

And but and I also wanted them to be able to basically do it for free, and use the equipment that they already had, which was either a laptop or a Chromebook. And to the point where they could even record the audio into their phone and use it. Just that they caught on really quickly with the tech.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  17:29  

Nice, yay. I’m curious because we always want learning to be real world and transferable. So how might this transfer to a tool more educators or families used to support student voice and exploration?


James Healy  17:46  

I think it could be a different medium, like kids are really into recording videos, and even kids, such as age are all about having their own YouTube channel, or whatever it is, I think I read a study recently that when kids younger kids that age, the preteen even are asked what they want to be when they grew up 84% Now say they want to be a YouTuber. 


James Healy  18:15  

So that’s like a heavy influence on what they want to be doing. They want to put their message out there, whatever it is. And, you know, when I was a kid, I remember being fascinated by recording our own voices into first, I remember my dad had reel to reel tape recorders,


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  18:36  



James Healy  18:39  

One of those. And then boy, high tech came along with a little cassette recorder. And we would record all kinds of funny things and stories and then play it back to listen to. And, you know, I think once kids got used to hearing their own voices, and were encouraged to tell stories and record part of their history as kind of a legacy piece. 


James Healy  19:05  

You know, because down the road, maybe they aren’t into coding anymore, but they can listen back to that podcast. Or maybe they listened back to their podcast episodes about pet peeves. Oh my gosh, I was so silly. And they share that with friends. I always thought that would be a great way to create some sort of yearbook for a school like a recorded version of the yearbook where they can go around for the entire school year and record audio of everything from the volleyball game crowd cheering to interviews with faculty or students or whatever it is just kind of you know, I’ve always been fascinated with NPR. 


James Healy  19:52  

They do such a great job. And that’s what sucks you in with those stories. A lot of times they’re in the field. They’re doing the recording, they’re interviewing people, and then they’re giving their take on that. So,


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  20:06  

Yes, I think that is a really creative idea and would give a different memory. Visually your book elicit some memories and then an audio yearbook. The slang kids are using the, you know, oh my gosh, yeah, that bus always drives by at this time and you just it would trigger new memories. I think that’s a creative idea.


James Healy  20:31  

Yeah, I think it’d be fun. I have a lot of recordings of that. telling jokes or whatever my ringtone on my phone doesn’t go off right here right now. I should turn it off. But it’s a recording of him when he was like three and he just said, move. I’m like a cow. And so I just looped the move over three times. And then so that’s my ringtone. It goes off moo, moo, moo, cow.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  21:00  

I love it.


James Healy  21:01  

I laugh every time


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  21:04  

I had a ringtone now that you say that, and yeah, it does elicit memories of my girls in elementary school. And they had this little song pick up the phone, cuz they’re like naggy to pick up the phone.


James Healy  21:16  

Right? Great. I know some of those things like when he was starting to understand humor, and telling these jokes that were only funny to him, but to me, because he was laughing. That’s fun. So great.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  21:32  

Yes, yes. I have one more question. And it’s a big one. So I’m wondering if it’s a two parter. In a nutshell, could you explain the story brand framework? And also tell us if this expertise and story brand influenced how you helped students craft their podcast? 


James Healy  21:53  

Sure. Great question. The story brand framework is basically a storytelling framework that Donald Miller and JJ Peterson came up with, and have adapted for, for marketing purposes, mostly, is based on some of the frameworks that are used for movie scripting. But it’s, it’s a really, it’s a, it’s a centuries old story framework. A lot of people liken it to kind of the hero’s journey, you may have heard of that kind of story framework. And the story brand model is just seven basic steps. 


James Healy  22:34  

But we have hero in the story is not saying the marketing sense. It’s not the business owner, or the service provider, it’s the customer. And the customer has a problem of some sort. And so we introduce the problem, all stories start with problems. And they want to solve this problem. So they can be the hero in their own story. And so the goal is to dive into the problem in some different ways, there are external problems. That might cause maybe you have a hey, I can use myself. I wore out my hips because I was a hiking guide and mountaineer and skier and everything, right. 


James Healy  23:24  

So I actually got my hips replaced for a young age. But my hips, the external problem was, it was painful. Right. And then I had an internal problem, which is, I couldn’t play with touch the way I wanted to, because it was painful. And then the, there’s a philosophical problem that goes down deep, which is, that’s not fair, I shouldn’t be feeling this. I’m not that old, right? And then once you dive into those layers of the problem, then you introduce yourself as the guide, who can help this, this hero in the story, solve the problem, you give them some steps. 


James Healy  24:03  

First, you empathize and you have show some authority, you know what you’re doing, then you give them direct steps, then they either find success with that much is their goal. And you talk about all the different things what success means for them. You’re creating a transformation, you have to take people from here to there from, from pain, to no pain, and playing and skiing with your kids. Or they find failure. 


James Healy  24:30  

You know, if you don’t follow these steps, then you’re gonna not find success, basically. And a lot of times I use the story of Star Wars to explain it even to kids, our kids know story of Star Wars. I love Star Wars. I grew up with Star Wars. It’s and that’s a great example of that framework, you know, Luke Skywalker, and there’s a problem the bad Guys, the Empires coming, they’re gonna destroy the Federation and all that it stands for. Luke Skywalker is introduced as the hero. And the external problem is Darth Vader’s coming, his internal problem that Luke doesn’t know if he has what it takes to be a Jedi. 


James Healy  25:22  

And then the philosophical problem in a lot of movies is just good versus evil. That’s not fair, the bad guy shouldn’t win. And then you meet the guide, Obi Wan Kenobi, who gives him the steps and the tools, gives him the lightsaber and teaches them how to be a Jedi. And then, you know, they save the day in movies, it’s always that one final, you know, yeah, scene where the photon torpedo destroys the Death Star was good. But throughout the movie, they’re going back and forth. Right. 


James Healy  25:58  

And so we do that with storytelling, we go back from what success looks like to what failure looks like. And it just keeps a brain engaged. So I was teaching the kids this kind of framework, so that they could implement it in a little bit of their storytelling in what they were presenting. So the kid who have the coding podcast, right, he was really had only been coding for two months, so who, but he was really getting into it. 


James Healy  26:29  

And so he had stories of what he was learning about. And, you know, what failure was, how he had screwed up, how it was a problem, this didn’t work, or it was challenging. And then where he found the guide, or the resource or the tools to follow those steps, and then find success. So it’s a great way to create more engagement, and more connection.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  27:01  

I love it. And also, that perspective taking like, so Wait, who’s the hero? Who’s the guide? I think our youth need a lot of rehearsal and in looking at a bigger sense, and building that empathy. And it’s a great marketing strategy to know who your client is, and make them the hero. Yeah, it’s not all about us.


James Healy  27:25  

Yeah. Well, and, you know, I also I liken it to that, you know, I said, this is a great framework for you to practice, in a lot of different areas, like if you can tell stories about where you struggled, and then found success in your college essays, so your applications and that sort of thing. It’ll just get whoever’s reading that to connect more with you. And on an emotional, empathic level, right? And then that’s, they’re making their decisions based on that.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  27:58  

Yes, yeah, I got that coaching. Just last year in my TEDx Talk morning, you have to go through the journey, and you have to share what didn’t work to make what did work more significant. So transferable skills are the best.


James Healy  28:14  

Yeah, for sure. One thing I discovered with these kids is that, and this is where I think encouraging them to go ahead and say what’s on their mind. A lot of them were apprehensive at first, like they were nervous, right to record their own voice, and hear it back. So we just would have to rehearse some practice a little bit, and then it became easier. It’s much like someone who joins Toastmasters. Yeah, you’re right. The first couple times, I remember going to my Toastmasters Club, and I was so scared to even, you know, participate as a timer, or much less speak. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  28:55  

Mm hmm. 


James Healy  28:55  

Well, now I’ve been like the president of the club and vice president of education. And it’s not hard at all, just takes a little time and practice.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  29:07  

Good for you for easing them in so that they could get comfortable with their own voice and, and be the center stage. James, let’s shift now and get to know a little bit about you with some turbo time questions.


James Healy  29:24  

All right.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  29:25  

Yeah. So what’s the last book you read?


James Healy  29:29  

Okay, that the last book I read was room on the broom with Dutch.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  29:38  

I get pictures in my mind of a cool witch and you’re riding along?


James Healy  29:42  

Yeah, it’s a witch who keeps dropping things off her broom. And then she has to go down to ground to find it. And then every time she finds it, there’s some animal who helps her find everything from dog to A frog and they all ask for Roof Do you have room on that broom? They’re all cruising along on this broom and overloads and crashes that, 


James Healy  30:09  

but the last book I read for myself was a collection of essays by David Coleman called natural acts. He wrote for Outside Magazine for many years back in the 80s. And I stumbled across this book at a book fair at the local library. So I grabbed it. It’s a great bunch of stories, there’s stories about nature, but the way he writes the story is fascinating. It’s hard to explain.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  30:40  

Oh, nice. I will definitely be putting all this in the show notes. That’s great. How about two inspirational folks you’d love to meet?


James Healy  30:48  

Okay, I would say have to pick one I know a lot of people do just because he’s so inspirational. But Barack Obama is just, yeah, I can. I can read what he writes and listen to him every day. And he does have a cool podcast series, if you want to listen to it that he recorded with Bruce Springsteen. It’s called Renegades Born in the USA. And they basically just have these conversations about, you know, growing up and living in the USA, and being fathers and all kinds of good stuff is good to listen to. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  31:28  

Oh, yeah. 


James Healy  31:29  

And I have an inside line. I might be able to meet him someday, because my cousin went to high school with him in Hawaii. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  31:36  

Whoa, that’s cool. 


James Healy  31:37  

she calls him Barry. Oh, cute. The other person I’d like to meet is NPR, Scott Simon, and if you know him, but he’s


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  31:48  

I just listened to a podcast that Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny did with him. So I love him.


James Healy  31:53  

Yeah, he’s a Saturday morning host on NPR. And I just love waking up every Saturday morning listening to him. And he has got some great essays. And he’s just very highly emotional with his reporting his interviews and everything.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  32:09  

Nice. How about one TED Talk that inspires you?


James Healy  32:14  

Okay, I’m gonna cheat a little on this one. I’m going back to a TED Radio Hour episode. So Ted has their own podcasts. Yeah, right. And the TED Radio Hour is usually a collection of different TED Talks based on a similar theme. And there’s one I just remember this one, because I’ve implemented some things from that. And it’s from quite a while ago, when guy Ross was the host. He isn’t anymore. It’s manage some roadie, I think. 


James Healy  32:48  

But anyway, it was called, I think a better you. And I remember it, because it’s just inspiring you to be a better person that they had a talk on there by someone who had challenged himself to get rejected 100 times in a row, 100 days in a row. So he would just go up and offer to pump gas for people. And they got think he was weird and say now or he’d asked for a burger refill at the burger shop. And they’d be like, we don’t do that, or whatever. And he was just making himself get comfortable with rejection. 


James Healy  33:27  

Another part of that was the guy. Andy petticoat, who started headspace. It’s a meditation app that inspired me to do meditation, which I do now every morning, while my coffee. Water is heating up in the tea kettle. And there was another Matt Cutts, who was a Google engineer who had created a system to try new things. And I still use it every day. And it’s basically you get a calendar and you say, Okay, for the next 30 days, I’m going to try this. If it’s something you just want to challenge yourself on, and then you X off the calendar, and I have one on my fridge right now, because I just want to get outside for 45 minutes a day and exercise. That’s my thing. 


James Healy  34:20  

And so I just go, Oh, I got to x that off. So I better go for my evening lock before it gets dark or whatever it is. Yeah, that’s, that’s my, one of my I used to listen to those all the time. I worked in that woodshop workshop for many years and spent a lot of time listening to podcasts. Not as much as I do now. I’m listening to them for work, but


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  34:44  

yeah. Oh, I definitely want to find that one. Sounds like lots of fun and ways to grow. What’s the biggest thing you wish folks knew about student voice?


James Healy  34:57  

Through being a teacher and teaching this class also helping Sherry Cassatt who has the podcast team wise, where she interviews teenagers and gets them to speak on different topics. I think it’s just that we need to slow down and listen to the students. 


James Healy  35:16  

Because a lot of times, we’re just talking at them and telling them what we think they should be doing. But encourage them, you know, that we value what they have to say, you know, we value their opinions, and to go ahead and share like this experience with these kids like they were, you know, they just didn’t think anyone care what they thought about, wow, Python coding, or whatever it is, but just go ahead. Put it out there. Some people will care, some people won’t. Don’t worry about the ones who don’t.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  35:49  

Yes. How about a pet peeve of yours?


James Healy  35:52  

Okay, this is, this is a pet peeve that has definitely bugs me more here than I does other places. This is the thing I call it a redneck roadblock. I don’t know if you’ve ever had this happen. So when you’re in a two lane, you’re driving on two lanes. And the person driving in the fast lane is driving the exact same speed as the person in front of you who’s driving the you know, in the slow lane. So it’s usually a big pickup truck, here. And so it’d be two trucks driving, you know, five miles under the speed limit. At the same time just looking at you by anyone.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  36:33  

I can feel my blood pressure going. You pull over eastern Washington. That’s That’s my reality. Oh, my gosh, what’s one passion you bring to podcasting?


James Healy  36:49  

I think the passion I’ve been bringing is that that voice matters. And we can share our our life experiences and our stories. And just helping others find their voice and feeling comfortable with it. I know when I was a kid, and we were doing those recordings on the cassette player, we a lot of times we were laughing at our own voices because they sounded funny. But to others or voice doesn’t sound funny. So


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  37:18  

yes, yes. And what’s something about you that most people don’t know?


James Healy  37:27  

I think probably that I once skied across Yellowstone National Park. And it was really amazing. Because we didn’t have there was no cell phone service. We didn’t have satellite phones or anything. We had no connection. For 12 full days, we saw one person who has a Wolverine researcher, who we stumbled across while skiing across Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone Lake is big. It took us two days to ski across Yellowstone Lake. We have a camp on an island in the middle of it. And it was just so beautiful. The wildlife, the peace. Yeah.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  38:15  

That just sounds amazing. And again, storytelling without having a picture in front of me. I’m painting these pictures. So the power of story, some stories from that. I bet. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  38:27  

So we close the podcast with a magic wand moment. And I think I know it gets personal when we look at education from our perspective as parents of Dutch, Adrian, Gianna. So if you had a magic wand, and could increase the agency engagement and enthusiasm Dutch and his classmates have in their learning experience, what would you wish for?


James Healy  38:58  

But, you know, through my experience at the high mountains dude, and all the teaching, I’ve done different areas. And even when I was a hacking guide, I was teaching, but I think just having more opportunities for experiential learning to be able to try out podcasting to see if it’s something you like. Or even when I was in high school, I got to have woodshop and all these different things that aren’t generally available anymore. 


James Healy  39:30  

But it gives you maybe a lifelong hobby, or even a skill that could be used to get a job. You know, whenever you need it. I’ve used that woodworking skill to, to work in wood shops when I needed to, or whatever it is. And yeah, just need to get out and experience more.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  39:51  

Absolutely. Wow. Well thank you for being such a powerful advocate for youth voice and for being our guests. On the education evolution podcast, James.


James Healy  40:04  

Thank you, Maureen. You’re so welcome


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  40:16  

it is always so fun talking with James. And I love hearing what his son is doing. It brings back wonderful memories of when my girls were in elementary school. I found it a good reminder that listening to stories builds empathy, and Yael has backed that up with research. We know when we understand a person’s story, the connection happens more authentically. So I want to find more ways to weave listening and story into my life and school. And it also challenges us to look at video free technology, and podcasting as a different medium for our youth. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  40:59  

James’ reminder that if we can align with the steps in the hero’s journey, we will see challenges as a natural part of the process. We can look for guides, and then we can give some solutions a try. These steps also help our youth organize their thoughts and express them. I know when a student is new to my micro school, they’re often frustrated when assignments are more open ended. Our school system often just teaches kids how to be skilled at compliance. They get good at school. So when students are supposed to do the deep thinking and create projects that demonstrate learning and mastery, they’re often at a loss. It makes me smile when a student asks a teacher, how long does this writing need to be? And our teacher responds, how long do you need it to be to convey your message? 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  41:54  

Agency is a process and a skill we need to develop in our youth. James’ magic wand reminder is good for all humans. How can we have more experiences? How can we make learning for all of us more experiential? He mentioned woodshop is something he experienced in school and still uses today. I can remember in high school, I got to take an evening calligraphy workshop. And I still have a chance to recursive that I can use with my calligraphy markers to make birthday cards and other things more personalized. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  42:32  

You never know what experiential learning might stick for a long time. And it’s a great way for us to keep growing. So here’s to helping our youth have experiences and find their voices and use them for growth and the good of our planet. Thank you for being a part of the education evolution.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  43:07  

I know how challenging it is to make changes inside your own school or community. I spent years traveling working with schools around the world on creating learner centered programs. And it always struck me on 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 school, or to start a new 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.


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  43:51  

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. Leaving a rating and review for this podcast lets others know that you find it a value and it gets in the earbuds of more educational leaders like you. 


Maureen O’Shaughnessy  44:18  

Thank you listeners signing off. This is Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your partner in boldly reimagining education


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