Ben Newsome believes we need to nurture conditions of empathy, dialogue, fearlessness and resilience
Of the many new connections I made through the lockdowns of 2020, very few matched the energy and capacity for both vastly expansive and hyper detailed dialogue than today’s guest. Ben Newsome is an educator, a Founder and ambassador for progressive educational practice and I’m delighted to welcome him today.
Ben Newsome founded Fizzics Education to deliver science education across Australia, having now reached 2 million kids since 2004. He is a qualified science teacher and has a host of accolades to his name, including being a 2013 Churchill Fellow, 2020 AMP Tomorrow Maker, 2015, 2016 & 2018 Australian Small Business Winner for Children’s Education Services, 2020 WSABE Outstanding Business Leader of the Year, 2019 Blacktown Business Person of the Year, and receiver of several Pinnacle Awards from the Center for Interactive Learning & Collaboration.
Ben is a community leader for the International Society for Technology in Education, a board member for Educating 4 Leadership, is an advisory board member of the Center for Interactive Learning & Collaboration, an Ambassador for the Association of Science Education Technicians NSW and is part of the NSW Churchill Fellows Association committee. He is also the author of ‘Be Amazing! How to teach science the way primary kids love’ & the host of the FizzicsEd Podcast.
In 2012 Ben co-founded the non-profit Virtual Excursions Australia which has now grown to include over 40 major cultural institutions and departmental distance education managers, where together VEA members create collaborative video conference events and share tips and tricks on best practice. In 2015 he co-founded another non-profit called the Pinnacle Education Collaborative, a network of over 30 cultural organisations in North America that deliver virtual excursions to schools, retirement homes, remand centres and more.
I hope our conversation brings you energy, cause to pause and reflect on your own educational journey and how you continue to learn today and in to the future. Ben and I look forward to hearing any thoughts, reflections or questions you have in response to our cocreated conversation – reach out or post via your preferred podcast platform or any of the connective links below.
Here’s a review of the key messages from this episode, based on extracts from the dialogue;
Perceptions of reality
- We need to consider what actually makes people understand how the world works
- There’s a disconnect between what people understand is happening and what the reality is
- For me it was an equity access problem
- Let’s be honest, the curriculum is contentious
- Are we teaching what to learn or how to learn?
- There’s an issue when you’re dealing with scale, that there’s not a one size fits all
- There’s a real dynamic between local knowledge & systems knowledge, how do you fill the gap?
- Think about why you’re trying to solve the thing
- If you’re saying it’s my way or the highway, then you’re highway better be pretty good!
- You’re best thinking 5 years ago is your baggage today
- The world is not static, pay attention to what’s changing and adjust and adapt accordingly
Nurturing conditions for leaders
- Ben recommends these specific conditions to nurture i) constructive dialogue ii) diverse teams iii) resilience to the grind of time iv) fearlessness to handle failure
- Diversity is vital – The richer the experiences of people the more likely to solve problems
- Failure is 100% a marker of success
- Empathy is the conductive fluid between dialogue, fearlessness and resilience
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