Katie Martin on Evolving Education: Shifting to a Learner-Centered Paradigm

This episode of the Getting Smart Podcast is sponsored by 20 Invention Opportunities in Learning & Development.

On this episode of the Getting Smart Podcast Rebecca Midles sits down with Katie Martin, Chief Impact Officer at Learner-Centered Collaborative, a group of educators that evolved from Altitude Learning.

Katie supports school and district leaders in reimagining school. Along with the professional learning team, Katie supports district and school leaders to create the conditions and experiences to shift to learner-centered models of education. Before her time at Learner-Centered Collaborative, Katie was an educator and also served as Director of District Leadership at the Buck Institute for Education.

She is recently the author of Evolving Education: Shifting to a Learner-Centered Paradigm.

Let’s listen in as Rebecca and Katie discuss what it takes to truly shift to learner-centered.

Katie uses her own personal stories to bolster the new book, a tactic that effectively makes the case for the shift to learner-centered. “I remember feeling disengaged, and thinking that there has to be a better way. It wasn’t until college that I got to learn in ways that allowed for creativity and investigate things that really mattered to me.” Then, when Katie became a mom herself, her ideas about what’s possible expanded even further. “I started seeing school through their eyes and became more and more committed that all kids get to see their gifts and their strengths.”

In her new book, she also shares stories about her kids (with their permission). We love that when she asked her son if she could share his story, he responded with “Yeah mom, I want to inspire teachers, I’m excited for you to share!”

While Evolving Education is a radical concept, it is not about changing everything. “If it has worked in your classroom/context, let’s build on that!”

“It’s not just getting through the day and surviving […] It’s about meeting learners where they are and it impacts their whole lives.”

“[You can tell a school is learner-centered by observing] energy and way learners are talked to. Is it inquiry-based. Learners are trying to navigate their world and figure things out, not being non-compliant. How people are treated is a foundational effort […] Do the walls reflect the people in the room, or do the walls reflect the teacher?” We recently published an article with a similar list of look fors.

From: Evolving Education: Shifting to a Learner-Centered Paradigm by Katie Martin

Katie also touches on the Sustainable Development Goals, a subject that is near and dear to our hearts. “These 17 goals are pertinent to our world — locally and globally. [we should] invite kids to learn about these challenges.”

Katie often hears questions about how to get administration onboard and how to change minds: “If we start thinking about how much power and influence we have to shift the system and push against the status quo, we can really start doing awesome things for kids.”

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