Listen to the episode by clicking the link to your preferred podcast platform below:
In this episode, Dr. Buskey explores the crucial role of humanity and empathetic leadership in education. He challenges the pervasive 'pedagogy of fear' and advocates for creating spaces of learning that nurture students' agency. He also emphasizes the importance of understanding and aligning with the needs of educators and fostering an environment of growth.
The Big Dream
Dr. Buskey’s dream is to transform the education system into one that recognizes and respects the humanity of each student. This means not only understanding students on an individual level but also creating an inclusive and empathetic learning environment. It's about shifting from a fear-based pedagogy to one that fosters students' agency and allows them to voice their thoughts and make their own decisions.
Alignment to Mindset, Pedagogy, Assessment, and Content
Dr. Buskey emphasizes the importance of being present and empathetic. His pedagogical approach advocates for serving students' agency rather than imposing an educator's perspective. He proposes knowing each student individually, making sure they feel seen and valued.
Mindset Shifts Required
Dr. Buskey discusses moving from a 'pedagogy of fear' to one that serves people's agency. He emphasizes the importance of educators being present for their students and offering them a space where they can express themselves freely. Additionally, he urges educators to understand their students better, know their names, and make a positive impact through small gestures.
What can we do to make the dream come to life?
Step 1: Prioritize work around priorities instead of tasks, focusing on what's essential for the students.
Step 2: Know each student individually. Make sure they hear their name each day, receive eye contact, and are smiled at.
Step 3: Challenge the 'pedagogy of fear' and create positive spaces for learning and growth for educators.
“I think the biggest challenge is organizing our work around our priorities instead of around our tasks,” Dr. Buskey said. The noise of the external world constantly seeks our attention. Balancing urgent tasks and important ones is a challenge. Additionally, understanding each student on an individual level may seem daunting, especially for high school teachers who handle many students each day. (See the quote below for Angela Maiers’s 2-second advice for one idea.)
One Step to Get Started
An excellent first step is to ensure every student hears their name each day, receives eye contact, and is smiled at. These simple acts can make a significant impact on a student's day and can lay the foundation for a more empathetic and inclusive learning environment.
You can find Dr. Buskey on the following platforms:
To help you implement some of what Frederick and I were talking about, I’m sharing my Values in Action posters with you for free. And, if you’re looking for more details on the ideas in this blog post, listen to episode 145 of the Time for Teachership podcast. If you’re unable to listen or you prefer to read the full episode, you can find the transcript here.
If you enjoyed this episode, check out my YouTube channel where I show you how to embark on a policy change:
For transcripts of episodes (and the option to search for terms in transcripts), click here!
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Lindsay Lyons (she/her) is an educational justice coach who works with teachers and school leaders to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice, design curricula grounded in student voice, and build capacity for shared leadership. Lindsay taught in NYC public schools, holds a PhD in Leadership and Change, and is the founder of the educational blog and podcast, Time for Teachership.