Episodes #227-233

Episode #227: Valentina White-Rideaux


Valentina is a former veteran special education teacher and current owner of IDEA Reimagined, a firm that provides training and professional development services exclusively to special education teachers and leaders. Her company’s mission is to increase student achievement for struggling students and those with disabilities. She is also a doctoral student and college instructor, researching special education teacher preparation.

Trench story: has always been there. Was a student herself with a learning disability. There were very few opportunities. No programs for students who were struggling. MS was a difficult time. Repeated 7th twice. Behavior problem. Was placed in a program to get a GED. T in program was sped teacher, retiring. Was on target to get GED. 15 y.o. Man tested her, asked her what she was doing in the GED class. Her scores were 10th grade and up.  First person to say, “I think you’re smart”. The system failed her. Went to principal, said he wanted her to go right into HS. Still graduated at bottom of her class. Many kids like her ended up dropping out.

How did this manifest into your professional life? Her Master’s is in Sped. 1st year she and 3 others in dept were new teachers. General ed t’s treated her like a para or someone who could make copies.  You don’t get prepared for all the compliance work. You can’t do sped in a vacuum. She’s always been an independent worker. It was new having to rely on others. Lots of mistakes made. You have to depend on ppl around you. She didn’t know how to teach math like her co-teacher. Didn’t have assigned roles. Took her Ed.S. degree. Did independent research on co-teaching. How to chunk info for kids for literacy, math, how to teach writing, breaking it down into smaller parts. Became a team took about 2 yrs. Became friends with co-teacher, mutual respect.

AT LSU, she teaches co-teaching strategies. What sped t should do in content-area CR?  Advice to new t before they start is to get 3 good math, literacy strategies, behavior strategies. It’s a toolbox to have. If you have CR w/ 3 ELL students, 3 sped students, try one of the 3 strategies. A lot of sped t’s are “paralyzed” because they don’t want to do the wrong thing.

Tell about how your business prepares sped teachers? She coaches uncertified t’s. Most new sped t’s aren’t certified. She gives them crash course. During her univ. course, tells them sped is an on-the-job learning. Don’t learn it a ton during the degree. More about theories. Strategies you have to learn on your own. Teaches them behavior issues. Get them prepared to maintain for school year. Teaching strategies, dealing with behaviors. Spoke with admin to get their own cert for school. Got involved w/ state, she’s getting curriculum approved. We’re losing a lot of sped teachers, they leave 2x’s as much as general ed t’s. Her business started from that. It’s not that people don’t want to do sped. In LA there’s a lot of teacher prep programs, but for sped it’s at master’s level. They want to get a job as sped t first, then move on to another job.

Talk about schools/districts and what they are-how they can benefit/coaching opportunities? Just moved to Baton Rouge, district she came from she still does a lot of work w/. When she decided she wasn’t going back into classroom with COVID, she decided she’d stay and help her kids & consult. Her typical client is schools who are doing really well. She had envisioned “cleaning up stuff”.  Helping getting them to the next level. She teaches strategies on how to learn pre-requisite skills. She stays at 5 schools who keep calling her back.

Is open to doing virtual consulting across the nation. Has been in touch w/ NYC sped dept. Has a mtg next month for that. A lot of districts are making the shift to specially designed instruction. Individualizing every students’ education according to IEP. She tries to stay away from workshops, 3 hour PD’s. She goes in & does a lot of modeling, examples of what’s done correctly. Let t’s pair up. Gives them feedback, reflect, judge each other. Does group coaching on a zoom. On-going community building on zoom. Sped teachers can be isolated. She designed an app to put resources in.

Tale of 2 Teachers podcast, still in the development stages (on the horizon)- hasn’t started yet. Will be 2 teachers; sped & general ed. Wants perspectives from each t. It’s like a good marriage. Telling their tales. Recording convos on co-teaching- laid back. Even for those who have poor co-teaching relationships.

Doctoral program- talk about your research. Started doing research after adopting 7 & 10 y.o. out of foster care w/ Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) diagnoses. Is more from a trauma-based lens. Is is her last semester this fall. Wants to do something in area of teacher prep. Coming up w/ framework for specially designed instruction, morphing it w/ co-teaching. A lot of doctoral work is around what she does at LSU. They have adopted 2 kids w/ emotional behavioral disorders. Maybe will write a book down the line. Won’t necessarily use in her coaching business. it will address How do you deal w/ things no one tells you about what to expect? Book/dissertation will be a guide for parents who adopt out of foster care.

Secondary research:  Childhood conditions that are rarely talked about in education.  I have two children adopted from foster care diagnosed with the condition. I am currently working on a book to help other parents whose children suffer from this condition.

Out of everything…The inclusion model works, it’s the right of every child with a disability. It’s the law. When it’s done with fidelity, it works well.CLICK TO TWEET. Having children of diverse abilities in the classroom teaches compassion.

Where can people find you online? website: IDEA ReimaginED Coaching & Consulting, LLC (specialedteacherslay.com)

Twitter:  @SPEDteacherslay   IG:@special_ed_teachers_slay      FB: Valentina White-Rideauxhas a FB group/community

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/1zF6J-x1pME


Episode #228: Demetrius Matthews & Thomas Kling

Episode #228: Demetrius Matthews & Thomas Kling | The Out of the Trenches Podcast (podbean.com)

Demetrius Matthews is the founder of Legacy Media, LLC. had the vision to create something much bigger than himself. With one goal in mind, he developed Legacy Media, LLC, platform that would allow him to create his own narrative and leave something behind that would withstand the test of time. Demetrius is a living example of how humble beginnings and rough adolescent years can transform into success and prosperity by being dedicated and working hard. His desire was to leave his mark on the world, and by creating award winning documentaries that touch the minds and hearts of many, he is accomplishing just that.

On the West Side of Chicago in the mid-80s, 33-year-old Thomas Kling vowed to transform the lives of dozens of students lost in the pressure cooker of drugs and racism. His profound and lasting impact now shines in a documentary created by the very lives he saved. In the documentary, We also feel his pain as a white teacher ashamed of how the affluent have mentally, financially, and emotionally suppressed people of color in order to make themselves feel entitled.

Demetrius describes his documentary as a love story between a teacher and his students. In watching it, I understand why he felt the need to make it. 

Tell me the story behind “Kling: The Teacher Who Defied The System”. The documentary celebrates a remarkable educator who changed the lives of students in Chicago’s West Side during the 1980s. Demetrius can speak about his experience with Mr. Kling and how education and the right teacher can change your life. He is also able to speak about his filmmaking and the experience making documentaries. Can you tell us a bit about what it was like growing up on the rough side of Chicago in the 1980’s?

Trenches story: Thomas: It was when his father died, he wanted to keep Thomas’ mom out of an institution. When they kept her at home w/ dementia, they ran out of $. 1 day stands out. He made a sign about helping keep his mom at home. Needed funds for his mom’s care. A car stopped where he was on the highway off ramp. Someone fiercely spat at him. Stands out to him. His mom stayed the rest of her life at home. Died Mar. 2020 of covid-related pneumonia. It was a crusade to keep her at home. His mom was a stern German, great caretaker. He did what he had to do. 1st cousin, mentally ill, passed as well from Covid 7 wks later. Doesn’t know the trenches too well. He’s known Demetruis since ‘85.

Demetruis- low that went to a teaching moment. Junior year of HS. Was beaten by school police. He had $100 and they accused him of being a drug dealer. His mom had given him $ to get his brakes fixed. Took test for a GED. He passed but wasn’t 17 yet. He didn’t go to school during junior year- was on streets on West Side of Chicago. He knew he was really at low point. During classes w/ Mr. Kling, they did debates. Learned about crack, Iran contra affairs. Was pulled over because he had music playing too loud. His uncles, mom told him he’d be a statistic. Finished HS senior year in L.A. The admin wanted to sponsor him for a scholarship. He made it out of Chicago because of the lessons he learned from Mr. Kling.     

What made you want to make a movie about Mr Kling? It wasn’t going to be a movie. His dream was going to write a book. About 6-7 yrs ago, they invited Mr. Kling out to pizza. Mr. Kling said “it has to be you”. He wasn’t a filmmaker until he made this film. Had cinematography experience. Had started video recording studios @ malls for kids to stay out of trouble. Nephew was killed from gun violence. It changed him. So much talent went away. 

Can you tell us about the making of Kling? put an ad out on Craigslist for videographers, filmed Mr. Kling for 3 days. His class meets up often for reunions. Was going to put it on YouTube only. Recruited assistant Jerome out of college. Edited for 6-8 mos. Passed Twin Cities film festival office. Went in & said he had a movie. A director there was pulled into wanting more info about the film. He sent the link, they got him in for the festival. He comes from business world, so he became a film 

How did they connect many years later and how has your relationship grown? there was a continuous connection. The 3 years in the classroom seemed like 10 yrs. Demetrius & Elroy, others would always talk to Mr. Kling. Maybe for a few yrs in colleague. 

How important is education in the upbringing of our children? Thomas Kling- we’re in a state of trauma. Not just now, but when Demetrius was growing up. He wants a good school environment w/ t’s who can help ppl understand why things are the way they are today. WE need to be rescued. He became sensitized to disequilibrium.His t’s pushed fairness, equality, beyond Jewish culture. White privilege- travel. He wants to die knowing there are better times ahead. Demetrius-tough ? but he thinks it’s a simple solution. He’s seen wealthy neighborhoods w/ very sophisticated schools, Difference is demographics. Streamline educ. so all schools should have the same resources. Same opportunities. Can fix poverty that way. Children need so much more than education. We’re only choosing to educate a certain portion of our population. We fund the military despite the color of their skin. 

 Where can people stream the film? Avail. on Amazon Prime & Tubi.

Is this something appropriate to show to HS/MS in classes? yes, it’s a love story between teacher & students. It shows how t’s connect with students. Shows it’s ok to be smart. They were teased for being smart. Mr. Kling came to speak to a classmate’s school. Encourages every t in country to watch this. 

Out of everything? Mr. Kling- we have a dichotomy in U.S. more than any other country. 5% of country controls the wealth. All things that come from it, criminal activity, mental illness. Forgetting about academics. The problems have been here since nation was created. Need understanding of what we’ve been through as a country. When he needs to elevate his mood, he thinks about what Demetruis’ group gave him. He worked on Obama’s campaign- juxtapose what was incredible to him was when Obama addressed the crowd in ‘08 in Chicago. We have to move away from the endemic racism. BLM- 15 y.o. said “all we want to do is be valued”. Put high value on each member of society. We need parity in terms of valuing people. Demetrius- this whole film has been divinely guided. Satisfaction from producing the film. They’re writing a book, perhaps turing it into a drama series. Making Kling Part 2 about his life after the time they were in class. He was blackballed from getting another job. He then worked in library program. 

Where can ppl find you online? https://legacymediallc.com/ Twitter/IG: @legacymedia

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/bvzRGqUuQnE

Episode #229: Charles Williams


Charles Williams has served in urban education for 15 years as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal while working with students in grades PK – 12. He has developed innovative programs and structures that have resulted in successful schools in both Indiana and Illinois. He has also presented and spoken at numerous events. Charles is the founder of CW Consulting, an Educational Consulting Group, the host of the Counter Narrative Podcast, and the host of Real Educators Talk, a monthly discussion designed to engage educators in authentic conversations around education.

Trenches story: he talks about when he first became a principal at the last school he was at before his current school. It was 6 years ago. School was on the shutdown list. Was thrown into the trench. Bought new material, curriculum. Scores barely moved. Had to stand in front of the board and ask for more time. His school got 2 more years. 5 Essentials survey. Big piece was culture/climate, students didn’t feel like they were valued or heard. Shifted attention from programs to ppl. turned it around & reached goal of getting off closure list. We often try to fix issues, not focus on ppl. Next 3 years they showed tremendous gain.

Author of Inside the Principal’s Office Book: A Leadership Guide to Inspire Reflection and Growth: how would you describe it? It’s a year old. It was written as spin-off from the YouTube show. It was designed to have space for t’s to learn & grow together. Not often a space for admin. Created a space for leaders to come together. He wanted to provide principals an Opportunity to reflect. Reflection questions for 40 wks. Servant leadership, culture, celebrations. It was designed to read 1 story every week. They shared their experiences. Ask self where you’re at, can lend to book study. Takes anecdotes from his work. Digest it one week at a time. Great for both new and veteran admin, even for dept. chairs. 1-2 page stories to digest before weekly meetings. “Walking your talk”. Like not eating in the hallway. What are you allowing to happen in your school? Are you following the expectations as a leader?  Take time to stop 

Inside the Principal’s Office show- streamed across FB, Twitter, YouTube. Currently on episode 30. Approaching. Puts out shows 1st, 3rd Saturday, built book title around show. This show is a space for ed leaders to have a space. Hosted by School Rubric. Show co-host Michael Mc Williams (career principal, now working for Solution Tree), Dr. Thornell (now works for NEA). Was officially launched in Feb. 21. Can find past episodes on YouTube, School Rubric. How do we find good talent? leaders form all over. Leaders from all over who are dealing w/ similar issues. 

Host of The Counter Narrative: Changing the Way We Talk (and think) About Education • A podcast on Anchor currently on episode 130- has been around for 2.5 yrs. Launched during pandemic. Stems off of article by Dr. Tyrone Howard. Why were these African American men successful? He wanted to change topics. He wanted to change stories. Not have deficit mindset. They have talked about body image, mental health. Episodes drop every wk. Alternates, 1 episode is an interview, another is a reflection piece. Interviews anyone who has ties to education. Following week he has a “pause to ponder” moment. Something that weights on him. Convo that challenges dominant narrative, genders, racism in school, sharing perspective. Has listeners from all over the 

CW Consulting, an Educational Consulting Group launched in Feb. 2019. Was an ELA t. before. Presented at a conference on vocab. Created a vocab workshop. A rep asked if he could present to his teachers. From there launched consultancy. He’s done a lot of work for Chicago P.S. now is doing for Kansas City P.S. Allows him to travel around & speak. Was at a lot of different cities in the summer. Standing room only. Usually speaks on equitable leadership. Series about the book. Popular one, “Problem with Colorblindness”. Speaks about framework of equity work (dives into it in schools). “Everyone’s talking about equity, how do you do it?” How to apply this framework? Has been doing speaking for 3 yrs. Did a lot of speaking during pandemic as well. Acronym about SMART leadership. About slowing down. Making list where we’re at. Redefine our focus. 

Out of everything? he does a lot, but he says know your why. Brandon Beck’s book has a mission statement. When you know why you’re waking up every day- it’s all moving in the same direction. He sat down with Rae Hughart, and she helped him figure out his why. 

Where can ppl find you online? https://t.co/XIJLE8aUE0 (linktree)  use headshot on website http://www.cwconsultingservice.com/  best place is Twitter @_cwconsulting  View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/tA4mmQdDeWk

Episode #230: Holly Stuart

Episode #230: Holly Stuart | The Out of the Trenches Podcast (podbean.com)

Holly Stuart is the Education Specialist for Foldscope Instruments and former 8th grade science and design teacher in South Carolina. Her passions include finding new and innovative ways to provide access to scientific tools to students everywhere because she knows that when students have access to the wonders of science, they can discover new scientific concepts through inquiry, and learn science by doing science.

In addition to her out-of-the-box approach to teaching science, Holly successfully implemented The Grid Method into her teaching practice and is currently a Teach Better Team Mentor Ambassador.

Holly is married to her high school sweetheart and is a mother to three children. When not working, she enjoys traveling and being outside with her family. Some of their favorite outdoor activities include hiking, running, biking, and gardening. (Holly often brings her telescope, binoculars, and microscopes with her on hikes!) Her indoor hobbies include reading, writing, and learning more about sketch noting and drawing.

Trenches story: the year she discovered the Grid Method. Led her to TB team. One section where couldn’t figure out how to reach students. Even lang. barriers. Tried to find support for everyone but didn’t reach anyone. Was ready to walk away from the CR & education all together. Had a colleague who saw the trench she was in. Introduced her to TB team, gave her the book Teach Better by Chad Ostrowski. He talked about the Grid Method. Felt 1st time something was given to her she could work w/. It was a strategy she could use to differentiate.  

Talk about using the Grid Method to teach science (she taught MS): Based on Webb’s Depth of Knowledge. Create tasks all related to same content. Some students need basic recall. Level 2- lets them use Level 3: go deeper. St’s can help their peers as well.  

Did informal science ed outdoors with field trips:  This was before she got into formal education. She taught science in outdoors. Water quality analysis at river. Looked at critters under rocks. Weathering, erosion, deposition. Helped kids see scientific method up close & personal. 

Talk about your current role as Education Specialist for Foldscope Instruments (newly started in 2017):  Transitioned this June. company that has a mission to get tools into the hands of kids. It’s a microscope (she holds it up on video). Scientific tool scientists use out in the field. Made out of paper. Cheaper price point so great to get into hands of kids.  ($1.75 each), so kids can take them home. Started by prof @ Stanford. Charged research group w/ this objective. Develop something that was easy to use. Didn’t want the barrier to access. All the parts of a microscope is on it. Can get 140x magnification.  Can use glass or paper slides. Can hook your phone up to it for artificial light. Lets you see it on phone screen. She teaches t’s to use it in the CR. She consults w/ districts via zoom. Zoom training. She is only traveling 2x’s/year.  She’s very much an advocate for getting tools into kid’s hands. 

What has your experience as TB Ambassador been like?  12 hr live, what all have you done? Got connected with team thru trenches moment. Didn’t apply first round. She was in the 2nd group. She joined in on Daily Drop in, Brain Breaks, one of 12 hour lives. It helps YOU to become a better teacher. We have gifts we bring to our cr. Your gift may be something someone else needs. They’ve helped her amplify her voice. She also applied for lead/mentor program. Rae, Andrea, encouraged her to apply for mentor. 

Wants to highlight blogging: Science better TB blog series-reflection of best practices. Has had it for over 1 year. Some things she did in CR, others are big picture. F. ex. interactive science notebooks. Put together list of things that worked for her. 

2 blogs for Foldscope: 1) Foldscope in the classroom. (comes out 1x/month) Wants to expand ppl’s perception about using a microscope. 2) Foldscope Explores-(comes out 2x/month)-covers a variety of topics.  She wants to highlight an article, has one that came out 11/23 for Vivi Nachi day (#’s sequence).  Talks about patterns in the outdoors. On www.foldscope.com doesn’t require a subscription. Wants to cover next gen science standards. Wants to expand ppl’s understanding of it. 

Out of everything? don’t just learn about science. Get out there and DO science. Find more ways to be doing rather than showing. 

Where can ppl find you online? holly@foldscope.com Twitter @hollyastuart YouTube: https://youtu.be/_vUsHrb5qwY

Episode #231: Alfonzo Mendoza


Alfonzo Mendoza is an Instructional Technologist & Google Innovator from South Texas, U.S.A. with 15 years of experience in education. He’s a K-12 Instructional Technologist. He has a Master’s in Educational Technology along with a graduate certificate in E-Learning and a graduate certificate in Technology Leadership in Education. He’s a servant leader and am always looking for ways to help my learning community use the power of technology.

Trenches story: Got his Master’s in 2019. Went to business school. Worked in business for 2.5 yrs. Dad became ill, had to leave that job then. Friend said they were needing math t’s nearby. Interviewed day after applied.Spent 11 yrs.in the CR. When got his M.A. in 2019 became instru. tech. Mar. 13, 2020 when everyone went into lockdown, only instr. tech for 14 schools. Worked 14 hr days. Burnt out. 6 sessions/day, 5 days/week. Got everything squared away, memorable moment. Took 1 yr to recover. First yr back in brick & mortal didn’t feel like self. He feels refreshed this year. Exercises this year, eats better. He encouraged t’s to “get clicky with it”. Some veteran t’s were thriving with the tech.Renewed interest in teaching for those teachers.

Does a blog and podcast as part of My EdTech Life: (podcast started then the blog) blogs on Medium more than his website. He has it to monetize, https://medium.com/@myedtechlife  He did a reflection episode w/ friend, his friend interviewed him. Started mid April 2020. Had in mind global GEG (global educators group)- they combined forces. Did virtual trainings. Organically changed into platform of highlighting ppl’s stories. First had guests on from his region.Reached out to ppl nationwide. He asks ppl their origin stories. t’s not all about ed tech but elevating teacher voice. Isn’t on TB podcast network. What’s your educational kryptonite, etc. Talks about ppl’s books, etc. keeps it simple. Currently 150 episodes, sometimes during a break does up to 3 episodes. He calls it a PLF not PLN (professional learning family). Will make a point to get a person in mid-week, there’s live stream on Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, YouTube. No editing. People like the authenticity. Blogging-is currently working on his doctorate so he’s honing his writing skills.

Talks about creating online training modules for his district. Started before COVID. Google educator level 1. But his spin onto those modules to fit his district. It was early in his role. District uses both google & Microsoft. First couple of cohorts had 92% success rate. Innovator project- got rejected the first time he applied. Next time-friend reached out & gave advice to connect w/ #googleei (google innovator). July 2021 got accepted to virtual google innovator academy. Only need level 1 cert. only 87 people worldwide are accepted per yr. They have trainer & coach certification.  

Google innovator academies. He can explain what it is ppl have to do to make the cut. Can talk about program, advantages, networking. 

Give advice for those looking into tech coach roles. He applied 5 yrs. ago but what helped was putting his work on social media. Recorded pieces of kids working, what it is your doing. show what you can do w/ resources you have. Don’t fall into impostor syndrome. Put out your work. Think outside the box. Try new things. Have fun! Come in w/ thick skin! Build the relationship, get clicky with it!

Out of everything? share your story. Don’t be afraid to share it. They’re waiting for you to say that one little thing.

Find Alfonza online: ALL socials @myedTechLife www.myedtech.life with podcast episodes. View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/qKtP-SXAySI


Episode #232: Gregg Goodhart



Gregg Goodhart is a pioneer in translating research science to learning superior achievement in the classroom, boardroom, and anything else. A recovering high school music teacher (13 yrs), he found within teaching music the fundamental principles that allow for accelerated improvement commonly referred to as talent. This was a result of serious interest in, and study of, cognitive and behavioral neuroscience and psychology that teachers are not taught in teacher training programs. Using his teaching as a lab to experiment with these ideas he developed unique expertise in explaining to anyone the elements needed to reach any level of success with any skill that is desired. 

He occupies a singular place as a translator between the research and practical use in our lives. You won’t hear about these things the way he presents them anywhere else. What is actually possible in our own achievement is mind-blowing – no ‘talent’ necessary.

Trenches story: Shares 2. Greatest lesson as a teacher. No One taught him. A student who was far behind. They were convinced he was doing all his work. Asked student to work on it every night. Repetition. 2 wks passed, did warm-ups. St admitted he’d only done it once. Gregg asked why only once. He answered “I don’t know”. He believed he was doing everything. What we’re doing should be working. Much of time they’re not following directions. 2nd story- He was serious to find best ways teaching works. Went to conferences. Was piecing together strategies/ideas. Hard-fought battle. Tried to figure out what talent was for 5 yrs. Didn’t use the science he now teaches. Picked up Talent is Overrated by Jeff Kolburn. It blew his mind. He started talk about mental models. It was when he could see 30K’ view of all of education and how it worked. It was the germ of what he does now- this happened in 2010.

Why do you think our schools aren’t teaching students how to learn? Mental model- the more you know the more you can know. F. ex. his mom doesn’t have a mental model for football. If you want class participation-use have to use facts. Deliberate practice. Memory techniques, retrieval. Dunning-Kruger effect. Having less knowledge makes it harder to achieve more knowledge. During his faculty PDs, staff won’t consider all the answers. Why do we have G/T programs? 

How would you start doing this in the CR? First step-get things into long-term memory- then get things out. Encode information in LT memory properly. Why is learning made fun (looking for states of flow). Do low-level problem solving by engaging in practice. “Talent is overrated” by deliberate practice. How to create motivation, self control. Learning works 1 way for everyone, he says there is a gap b/w research & practice. Researchers don’t know how to speak “teacher”. Rebellion over rote memorization in the 70’s. College st’s have passes adm test. Kids don’t know how to incorporate it into pre-college CR. When he talks to faculty, he talks about building a memory palace. Times them. Learning is an ecosystem. Synergistic. Associative member. Our system is amazing of getting things into ppl’s memories. You have to store things in your memory first- encoding. Testing effect shows us that getting a memory wrong is less repetition spaced over time is better than doing things over & over. It becomes stronger even tho we didn’t use it. Great book “The Memory Book” (from 70’s). Why don’t we use this? Mindset- they need to have more of a growth mindset. Many kids aren’t sure of their answers. 

Why is talent so overrated? Can anyone really perfect their practice and perform optimally anytime they want? It’s the great misunderstanding of talent. A lot of talented athletes/musicians are trained by a parent, Tiger Woods f.ex. It happens so slowly you don’t notice the process. It’s not just the amount of work but the type of work. 

What do really talented musicians know that the rest of us don’t? How can they play so well while others cannot? He built a program that actually managed to get kids successful. Kids will get good at music if they practice it’s not about talent. Non skilled musicians get better w/ practice. 

Most of the population seems to have stage fright, so what’s the secret to overcoming it once and for all? He’s written a supplement to a book for musicians on it. We look to diagnosis- society anxiety disorder w/ performance indicator. Shows up at 12%. He says it affects 99% of ppl. You have to have complete recall/mastery in order to perform. Retrieval- pulling info out of nowhere. You get used to being in front of ppl. Deliberate practice- plan, do,reflect triangle.  (visual he shows). Because we’re not taught how to learn we say ”I tried everything”. There are things that aren’t obvious to humans. Testing anxiety-even those diagnosed with social anxiety disorder can

Out of everything? how important long-term memory is. “Make it stick” is a great book. Educators need a bit more than a little background. Definition of learning: Acquiring knowledge/skills to have, work on getting knowledge. 

Where can ppl find you online? https://www.crackingthetalentcode.us/free-guide– it’s specifically for music. Is writing a book, will have a waitlist for a chapter or two for free. www.gregggodhart.com has a lot of resources for no matter @TheLEarningCoach on FB, @Art & Science of Practicing Solutions private FB group as well. On IG as well.

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/-ukKT11HOlc

Episode #233: Jeff Utecht



Jeff Utecht is an educator, consultant, podcaster and author. In his heart he will always be a 4th grade teacher. Jeff has been a keynote speaker and presenter for the past 13 years having presented in 20 different countries and has helped to upskill more than 50,000 educators. Jeff’s passion and purpose to prepare students for their future, not our past drives his love for learning and education. 

Trenches story: first year teaching. Graduated in ‘99, first year of state mandated testing in WA, as 4th grade teacher. Got job in high-social economic area. The next year, moved across state to school that was 99% FRL. School fed all meals, He brought students laundry home to wash. Shock. Didn’t know how to get out of it. Spent more time doing CR mtg than anything else. Home visits. Figured out how to take a mental mindset of being raised by 2 teachers who were upper middle class. Found mentors. Got tech grant there. Kids learned to network computers. What did it mean to be in the trenches? What did that really mean. 

What are your thoughts on students having cell phones in the classroom? Has been an edu tech consultant since ‘09. Did Microsoft research for them back then. Edu tries to hold on to traditional ways. F. example, calculators that became watches. We fight the tech. The grant he got in ‘00 was getting 1 computer for every 4 kids. Top priority is safety for kids to call parents in case of an emergency. For better or for worse… Do you have school resource officers have convos around cell phone policy? It’s education’s responsibility to talk about proper cell phone use.

What are your thoughts on blocking sites from students at school? around idea that we believe students are bad, you’re setting up an “us vs. them”. They’ll find a way around it. CIPA- child internet protection act: Federal govt says only porn, hate sites, gambling. PEW internet research. MS/HS kids- 2014 & 2022. #1 site was FB in ‘14/’15. ‘22 was YouTube & Tic tok. article on this topic: send link). The majority of students use video as a learning tool. Shifting Schools talks about media literacy. Does kid know when to pause, take notes? Kids know genres of video on TicTok. We have to learn their culture. We shouldn’t fight against it.

If you could only have students visit one website, what would it be? He’s talked at the UN about Wikipedia; he says we should trust it. We have to understand if we can rely on that page. 

What is Blended Learning? what we were doing b4 pandemic.Edit button is there for everyone. Link to free pdf “How to understand Wikipedia in 3 links”. There’s a way to understand how to use it. Every page on Wikipedia is rated A,B, C, D, F. 4th graders made one about a monument in their city. 

Why is Blended Learning the future of education? we’re past it and headed to a high flex (hybrid) model. Has been used in colleges for a while. We have to be thinking about how we engage st’s one to one. You have to build for internet first, CR after. Parents are saying “I should be able to take my students out for a week and they can do the work”. We can talk about what it looks like for t’s at difference. There’s a lot of social pressure for educ to be different for our kids. How do I make sure kids who are out can learn? The pedagogical switch in our brain is missing.  

Where do you see K-12 Education going in the future? true inquiry-based, t’s need to rethink how they use their time. If I make an instructional video, I want kids in CR watching it also. They can translate it too. We need to get to a mindset where it’s different, not more

Can you talk about your podcast Shifting Schools? He’s a google certified partner. Started podcasting in 2007 when he was teaching in Bangkok and China. Podcast has 240 episodes. He and Trisha interview teachers, leaders, do miniseries like STEM, Makerspaces, data jobs. He has talked about intersection b/w data, art, collaboration. 

Out of everything? goes back to 2 essentials ?’s #1: How am I using the world as my curriculum? What does that mean for me? #2. Am I preparing students for their future or my past? 

Where can ppl find you online? http://www.jeffutecht.com/  

Social: @jutecht most places they do live webinars there. 







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