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Getting Smart Podcast

Apr 29, 2020

This week on the podcast, Tony Wagner is joining Tom Vander Ark to speak about his most recent book and all that he has learned throughout his career in education.


Tony Wagner is a former high school teacher, principal, teacher educator, and school coach. For three decades, he’s been an advocate for deeper learning for all students. His books, Change Leadership, The Global Achievement Gap, Creating Innovators, and Most Likely to Succeed, sounded the alarm bell that the new economy requires new experiences and outcomes. In his new memoir, Learning by Heart, Dr. Wagner recounts his own struggles with traditional education and his lessons learned from the last two decades of work exploring the innovation economy.


Listen in as Tony and Tom recall their work together and talk about the path forward for education!


Key Takeaways:

[:10] About today’s episode and special guest, Tony Wagner.

[:54] Tom Vander Ark welcomes Tony Wagner to the podcast!

[1:35] Tom and Tony reflect on some of their history working together.

[6:20] Tony speaks about his past experience with traditional education.

[7:35] Tony speaks about the college that enabled him to become a teacher.

[9:38] Educating for social change/social good was very vibrant in the ’60s. Does Tony find that there has been a resurgence of that ethos today?

[10:39] Tony reflects on his time leading schools and some of the biggest takeaways.

[15:47] Adaptive challenges: why they’re important for students, teachers, and leaders.

[16:52] Fast forward to 1999; Tom and Tony reflect on some of their education adventures and what they learned.

[19:25] Tony provides his thoughts on the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act.

[21:31] Tony speaks about why his book, How Schools Change, was important to him.

[22:29] Jessica shares an important resource with listeners: the Getting Through microsite.

[23:09] Tony explains the main message behind his 2003 book, Making the Grade.

[24:18] Tony highlights some of the main lessons from his 2009 book, Change Leadership.

[26:08] Tony explains what his next book, The Global Achievement Gap, was about.

[29:35] Tony followed up The Global Achievement Gap with Creating Innovators. Who would Tony say this book was written for? And what did it cover?

[32:10] Tony speaks about his 2015 book, Most Likely to Succeed, that he co-wrote with Ted Dintersmith.

[34:47] Tony speaks about his most recent book, a memoir called Learning by Heart, and whether or not it was harder or easier to write, compared to his previous books. He also highlights some of the biggest takeaways from it.

[42:10] As Tony thinks about the teachers and leaders listening to this podcast, what would he want to say to them, in terms of post-pandemic learning?

[44:15] Where to find Tony’s newest book, Learning by Heart, and Tony online.

[45:05] Tom thanks Tony for joining the Getting Smart podcast!


Mentioned in This Episode:

Tony Wagner

Tony Wagners Books

Learning by Heart: An Unconventional Education, by Tony Wagner

LIU Global College (originally known as Friends World College)

Leadership Without Easy Answers, by Ronald A. Heifetz

No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

Most Likely to Succeed Film

Tom Vander Ark on Forbes

Northshore School District


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