Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders

Dr. Jon Wergin - It Has to Be With Others...

May 12, 2020 Scott J. Allen Season 1 Episode 3
Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders
Dr. Jon Wergin - It Has to Be With Others...
Show Notes Transcript

Dr. Jon Wergin is a Professor of Education Studies at the Graduate School of Leadership & Change at Antioch University. We discuss Jon's latest book, Deep Learning in a Disorientating World, and his thoughts on creating an environment where deep learning can occur. We explore the notion of a "deep learning mindset" as a way of being and the notion of constructive disorientation.

Quotes from This Episode

  • “We cannot learn deeply without feeling something.”
  • "If you want people to learn deeply, it has to be with others…we all need other people to challenge our world view through dialogue."
  • "Probably the most important skill that people need to learn to be able to help others is to master the skill of empathy."

Resources/Links to Discussion Topics:

spk_1:   0:04
bonuses. Practical wisdom Scott Allen

spk_0:   0:14
Hello, I am Scott Allen. And thanks to my daughter, Kate, for developing the intro to the practical wisdom for Leaders Podcast, where we offer a smart, fast paced discussion in all things leadership. My guests help us explore timely topics and incorporate practical tips to help you make a difference in how you lead and live. If you haven't done so, please click. Subscribe. So you automatically seamlessly stay in the know when we publish new episodes. Likewise, please provide me with feedback. What do you like? What do you dislike and what else would you like to know? And now today's show My guest today is John Morgan. He is a professor of leadership at Antioch University. He was actually my dissertation chair. And John, when I think of you, three words come to mind. So these three words are energy. You just have an incredible energy about you, which I have appreciated since the moment I met you. My second word is patients because you guided me through a dissertation process in a loving and caring and mentor like way. But you were patient and partner, and that goes along with patients because you have an incredible ability to to making a learning experience, not feel like it's an authority figure and subordinate, but that we are partners in the learning. And and that's something that I've very much appreciated about you again since I have known you, which has been probably almost 20 years at this point. Yeah. No, My three words energy patient and partner have I have I nailed it. Is that Is that you and enough show?

spk_1:   1:54
Well, that's very kind. Scott. You were. You were my very first doctoral student at Antioch those those years ago, and, um, I still I still carry around that compass that you gave me. Do you remember?

spk_0:   2:13
I do. I do. And you know what? In the background of me right now is the butterfly that you gave me. How

spk_1:   2:19
about that? Yes. No, it was It was a pleasure then, and it's a pleasure now.

spk_0:   2:25
Ah, Well, I'm really excited for our conversation today, John. And you've been a busy man. You've been doing some some work, and so let's maybe start with the book that you recently released. And so take our listeners through kind of the premise of the book and maybe some of the high points.

spk_1:   2:44
Sure. Well, the genesis for this book, Scott goes back probably almost 10 years. Okay, when When I read Daniel Kahn amens book Thinking fast and slow came out in 2011. I had known of condom ins work, of course, for many years before that, but his book pulled together this incredible body of work on on how people, unfortunately, many times, don't think rationally. Um, and coming from a Nobel laureate economist, this is this is pretty radical stuff. Sure, and for, gosh, 50 years economy in In his his partners conducted research on how people simply against oh, sort of rational economic principles attend to behave and non rational, even irrational ways. Yes, and And that that book stuck with me now, and I started reading other books on the subject, and I was struck. But how many of these books painted this sort of dire picture of humans irrationality? As if there wasn't much we could do about it. I have on my bookshelf some examples of some of these titles and you'll see what I mean. Okay, 11 is called The Enigma of Reason. Okay, Another one is predictably irrational. Another one is the knowledge illusion, and there's the believing brain. Uh, the righteous mind. I think you're seeing a pattern here. Yes, on. And my personal favorite is a book called Denying to the Grave. Why we ignore the Facts that will save us. Who well,

spk_0:   4:51
in that. And those are all that's a relevant statement, given where we are in the world right now.

spk_1:   4:56
That's right. And I thought that because the of the emergence of social media, how people are able to tailor the information stream that comes their way to fit their own biases. Yep, I had never heard of the word confirmation bias until about 10 years ago, and now everybody is using it.

spk_0:   5:25
Oh, it's a fascinating concept, right?

spk_1:   5:28
It's, you know, there's a joke floating around about confirmation bias. It's ah, I never heard of confirmation bias, and now I see it everywhere will

spk_0:   5:40
define it really quickly. For listeners, confirmation, bias

spk_1:   5:44
confirmation bias is very simply filtering incoming information in a way that feeds your existing bias and rejects anything that doesn't conform to your existing bias. Yes, and so what you see is social media cable news. It's very easy for people to to only pay attention to things that fit within their own mental model framework and keep them in their comfort zone.

spk_0:   6:16
Yeah, and then that creates their reality. Right,

spk_1:   6:19
That is that time frame. And so this is what really disturbed me as I was, I thought back to the 2016 election. Um, and all of this, these new words that entered our lexicon like fake news, Yeah, and truth, decay and words like that that we're now part of our popular conversation that had never really been used before. And so I was disturbed by this. But also I thought, you know, we it isn't all gloom into sure it isn't as if we don't know stuff that could help us combat this new state of affairs that we're in. The culture of tribalism that we now have isn't inevitable, and there are things we could do about it. Good. And so I resolved to try to pull together what is known out there in the social science world on ways in which we can not only acknowledge the existence of all of these cognitive traps, but also develop in ways that will lead to what I came to call constructive disorientation. And that's a space that we're in great, where we are able to get just beyond our comfort zones because of reacting to some disorientation in our perceptual field, we are able to get just beyond our comfort zones and deal with that disorientation. But in a way that we feel like it's going to accomplish something, yeah, that we will be better off for their learning. And it turns out that there is an awful lot that we could learn not just from cognitive science, which is, of course, central to this, but also from places a seemingly different as politics. Mm, the arts. You know, the importance of aesthetic experience is really important, especially these days, because we are also disoriented right now. Disorientation is everywhere.

spk_0:   8:48
So talk about that, John. Is it is it that the the learner has to put themselves in this in this situation? Or is there a developmental readiness that needs to exist for someone to be in this space? Talk a little bit more about that.

spk_1:   9:05
Well, here's here's kind of the irony, Scott. This book came out about the same time as the Corona virus came? Yes, and in the book I talked mostly about how to create a sense of disorientation that was constructive. Now what we're faced with is this sense of such great disorientation that it's not a matter of how do we get there? It's How do we pull back? Yeah, And in my in my book, I talked about three different sources of constructive disorientation. 11 is what you and I both know very well from adult learning theory called a disorienting dilemma. Sure, right. We're faced with something that we can't deal with, given our usual conceptual tools, and so were sort of forced out of that to force to look at something different. So that's clearly one source. Another source that explore in some detail is mindfulness. Okay, And that's the practice of being very much in touch with you were body and your sensations and your emotions, so that you can spot these little dis orientations before they even become conscious, and you could bring into the surface and deal with them before they become and disorienting dilemma. Okay, interesting. And then the third source is one that almost nobody talks about that. I think maybe a contribution of this book and that's aesthetic experience.

spk_0:   10:46
Talk about that. So it's aesthetic experience that experience. Okay, wonder I'm excited to hear about this.

spk_1:   10:53
Well, it's something that John do we talked about in his book on the Arts. We called it The art Arts is experience, and it's all about the way in which we deal with the perceptions of the world around us in ways that we can't really describe. Yeah words. It's I was looking for examples of the other day of art that helps us communicate with each other in ways that words simply can't do. And I saw this example Scott of ah, large mural in Italy that had the outline of the country enveloped in the arms of a person land. It was the message waas care for our first responders, huh? Now imagine how different that is to see this image of the country being held yes by medical professionals and simply saying we need to acknowledge the incredible assistance of of our health professionals. It's a completely different message, and it gets you in an emotional space. Yes, words could never do.

spk_0:   12:33
Oh, that's beautiful.

spk_1:   12:34
And, uh so in my book, I talk about artistic expression or aesthetic experience as a way to create a safe space to be disoriented. Like the the artist. Banksy is now famous for the girl with the balloon that got shredded a couple of years ago. Oh, yes, the prankster. But he really made his fame on creating images that were very disorienting in terms of the sort of the zeitgeist, No, especially in Israel and in the West Bank. Or, for example, he would He would use his girl with the balloon Ah, figure and paid it on the wall that separates the West Bank from Palestine as if this girl is using these balloons to lift up and over that wall. So this is one of the things that I think is really going to be most important for our society is we get through this Corona virus and we will and then begin to rebuild. Our society is to pay very close attention to the power of aesthetic experience because that's going to help us get a kind, the kinds of not just creative spaces, but sort of carrying spaces where people can begin to think of other ways of dealing with the problems that we face.

spk_0:   14:03
So John, as you were speaking and and by all means, say it's got you are so far off base. This makes no sense. The the way means tend to resonate, at least on the social media platforms they communicate thes, thes strong ideas in just a image. In a few words, as you were as you were speaking, I was thinking of Mihm's and just the rise in the popularity of these very, very simplistic yet at times powerful messages that that convey a point and in a beautiful way, sometimes,

spk_1:   14:39
yeah, yeah, it's this. It's the same way that metaphors work. Ah, you use a metaphor which which creates a bit of disorientation because you don't really translate that literally. But you see a connection with something else that that resonates with you. And that's where I think these means come from work much the same way. Yeah. So what are the one of the messages that I tried to today in this book? Is Is that what I call deep learning is all about not just thinking, but also emotion. You know, we can't learn deeply without feeling something.

spk_0:   15:20
I love it.

spk_1:   15:20
If we don't feel that we don't care about it. If we don't care about it, we don't learn deeply. It's just random information that may or may not stick in our brains. It has to be something that we care about, and it becomes part of who we are because part of what I call the deep learning mindset, which is the way of being that says, You know, we have to constantly work on examining how we see the world. Then

spk_0:   15:52
that's raising well,

spk_1:   15:53
the deep because here's the thing. Her default response is to do just the opposite. You know, we have evolved as humans as well as we have, because of our ability to make sense of the world, sure to figure things out and to put things into categories, which is what we have to do. Otherwise we would experience the world as complete chaos all the time, and humans have developed this conceptual ability to create abstractions of the world around us. But the problem is if that's all we do, and if we stick with those, you're going to miss abilities to our possibilities, rather to grow no, which is also what we have to do.

spk_0:   16:42
So for those listening that are interested in developing leaders, what are some ways that you think about creating an environment, a learning environment where deep learning can occur? I would reflect on my time with you, and I have my own my own potential answers to some of this, which we could explore. But how do you think about that? How do you think about creating an environment, a learning environment where deep learning can occur and we can be in this space of disorientation? But it's not so far that I shut down and it's not so easy that it's, you know, a walk in the park. How do you think about that? Because I felt it. I know that you can do it. Yeah, sure. What's what are some of your design principles?

spk_1:   17:28
Well, I'm very impressed with the work of Run haIf. It's yes, course. Early on, we both know him. Is his work very, very well. One of the most influential books I've read on leadership was his very 1st 1 on leadership, without easy answers. Yes, where he puts forward the notion that really leadership is about not finding the right technical solution to a problem, but rather creating space where people can engage in adaptive learning, which he defines as, uh, nobody really knows what the answer is. And so what we need to do is to figure it out together. Yes, and this is something that is again sort of cuts against the grain of how people think they need to be as leaders, they had to be there with the answer. Yes, you know, why do we put you in this position if you can't give us the answer? And what haIf, it's says so powerfully is that leaders have to resist the temptation to fall into that trap MM, and provide comfort to themselves by providing an answer even if it's not going to work? Yes. I mean, look at the behaviour of some of our top government leaders who find it very difficult to say. We don't have the answers yet. Yes, yes, for that, for what to do about this EP epidemic? We're working on it. We're working together. You will have to be patient and help us as we sort through the options and find this together We don't hear that fresher the White House because that's that's not what people want to hear. But people want to hear is this is the answer. I have the solution. You could all feel better now when the doctor is exactly the wrong approach. Yes, climate like this. So that's the first thing I would say Scott is OK is create is create a setting where people can engage in this kind of adaptive learning. What that takes is is Theo the several things I think 11 of the most important of which is the freedom to fail. Okay, One of the things that I have been most vocal about over the years is the is the tendency of of organizations and leaders toe hold people accountable for results that once gave a talk about No. It was some years ago at a conference on accountability where I said, You know, the first thing we need to do is get rid of accountability for results, and you should have seen cool looks on the faces of people in the on. It was apostasy. Sure, I made How could you dot care about results? Well, that's not the point Of course, you have to care about results. What you have here about, though, is providing an environment where people can experiment. Yep, where there is freedom to fail. Yep, and where the accountability is not for results, but for learning for learning from the experience so that you are better off next time. Yes, so that's what I would say. The way to create a culture that is most conducive to constructive disorientation is to promote an atmosphere of adapted learning where the leader doesn't always have to have the answer. The problem lies with everyone, as high flits would say, and then to listen to the pay attention to the research of motivational psychologists. Who will say that the space that is most optimal for learning is again that space, where there's an optimal downloads between the challenge that people are facing and their sense of support or confidence to meet that challenge. So one of the ways to monitor this is to monitor the anxiety level that people are experiencing. So if the anxiety level is too high as we know, people aren't going to want to learn the shutdown showdown hunkered down there, they're gonna escape where they're going to say I just get deal with this right now. So it's all about monitoring that anxiety level as best you can eso that you can begin to find that sweet spot again where humans natural curiosity about the world and how they might be efficacious in that world comes alive.

spk_0:   22:27
Yeah, And so, as an educator, John and you're you're looking for this space on each individual. It's a different space. Yes. How do you think about that when you're working with with young men and women developing their skills, Is it is it just a tacit knowledge at this point that you're looking for these indicators of the terminology you're using? Constructive disorientation? What do your indicators for constructive disorientation?

spk_1:   22:57
Probably the most important skill that people need to learn to be able to help others get to that space, I think is, is to master the skill of empathy. You can't assume that everybody is going to react in the same way to some kind of potentially disorienting stimulus. And so the only the only way that you can find this out is to listen, huh? Engage in active listening. Uh, imagine yourself in someone other, some other person's space. And the point I try to make is you don't have to agree with where there are coming from. You don't have to agree with the values that are underlying their attitudes about whatever the situation may be. That's not what it's about. It's about trying to discern where other people are coming from the sources of tension that make them anxious toe listen carefully to provide a setting where you could develop trust and social capital. The board's social capital exists. The greater the band whipped you have, right? Yes, for for taking chances and experimenting and engaging in what I call reasonable risk taking. But that's not gonna happen without without a sense of trust, you know, among the people who are participating in this. So that's what I would say. It's about developing not just a skill to empathize but a disposition to the empathic. And that's different.

spk_0:   24:33
Let me let me suggest one thing, as I think it's. I reflect on my own learning in the program. Something that stands out for me is that the space that was created helped me place my passion at the center, which then was a fuel for my learning. I came in and I was passionate about leader development and what people thought about leader development. And how do we better develop leaders? And And I tapped into a fuel. That boy, I rode that fuel for four years.

spk_1:   25:06
You dio

spk_0:   25:07
empowered me eso at least for me to get to that deep learning place. There was a fuel for the content, and I think so. So from a structural standpoint, the structure of the program helped me identify and tap into a passion. And then I was on, I was turned on. I don't I'm literally designing a class for this summer right now. And I'm as I'm speaking with you thinking, how do I create that environment for 40 people online and create a space where that can occur?

spk_1:   25:40
Yeah. Exactly how can you How can you present them with a learning challenge? Yes. That will ignite that energy. Yes, without pushing him over the edge. That's the art of to me to be. You know, I've been teaching for a long, long time and, uh,

spk_0:   25:58
make 10 years now, right?

spk_1:   25:59
Oh, yeah. It must have been that long.

spk_0:   26:02
Yeah, I think it was 2010.

spk_1:   26:04
Uh, what goodness Jesus Seems like 50 but yeah, it's it's an art again. It's it. It's It's creating a challenge that through experience, you think is going to be just enough of a challenge to promote deep learning students. And as you pointed out a few minutes ago, it's not same for everybody and eso, particularly when you're engaged in a one on one relationship between an adviser and advise E. You have to be very much attuned to where that person is at all times. And I know I mean, I don't want to unearth dirty laundry here, Scott, but but you had some challenges yourself the first couple of years of the program. I did my good. You would you remember what those words?

spk_0:   26:55
I had a number of challenges and whether that was the terminology or not understanding the language or just my own the world view I walked in with, as opposed to the world view of others and their lived experiences. It was it was such a transformational learning experience. It was incredible. But you

spk_1:   27:17
imagine, could you imagine pursuing this energy? Ah, in this passion that you brought into the program with you by yourself?

spk_0:   27:26
No, no. I needed guidance and I needed mentor ship and

spk_1:   27:30
you needed to be pushed. You needed to be challenged by not just the faculty but by other students in the program.

spk_0:   27:39
Oh, sure, my peers and those conversations that lasted well into the night. Of course, we had our our formal learning experience during the day. But then often times we would spend an entire evening learning, discussing, reflecting, exploring, challenging. And that was it was like the other half of the day right in the learning just continued and continued. And so, no, I think I think the whole design was one that, at least for me, facilitated a transformational learning experience. Or maybe

spk_1:   28:16
I think I think that's right. I did. I saw it in you. You were not the same. You are not the same person four years later on. But it wasn't just that you learned a lot of stuff.

spk_0:   28:27
It wasn't It wasn't the no. It wasn't regurgitation of concepts or exams. It was something much deeper than that. How does that translate John to a traditional classroom?

spk_1:   28:43
You have to create ways that students can learn from each other. If there. If there's if there's one learning principle that sort of sticks out in every single scholar on human learning from John Dewey on down, actually from Aristotle on down. Okay, it's that if you want people to learn deeply in the sense that I'm talking about, it has to be with others, okay? It has to be with others. We we all need other people to a challenge. Our worldview okay, through dialogue, because their world is not like our world. Yep, the more diverse the group is in terms of ideas and values and so forth the better. Now, of course, there are. There are problems with groups that are highly diverse because it takes them longer to develop the social capital and trust each other. But the payoff is huge. But the central point is that our understanding of the world is deepened by others helping us with that understanding. You know what we What we need to be able to do is to is to develop a way of being that that invites us to try on the perspectives of other people, for sides again, through empathy, to see the world through their eyes. That doesn't mean we have to, you know, adopt every difference that we encounter. But we use it as a stimulus to reflect on who we are, how we think what we value and to, you know, begin to build our own identities. According in the book, I write about a whole series of what I call essential tensions and adult development theory is evolving to a place where the mark of a well developed adult who was able to engage in the complexities of dealing with modern life, she asked to be able to hold a bunch of paradoxes. Yeah, and one of one of these paradoxes is between the self and the other, right. You have to be able to have your own well developed sense of self and who you are and to be comfortable with that. But you also have to be able to see yourself in connection with other people and, you know, to learn from them, have them learn from you and engage in this kind of dance between developing yourself in the presence of the other. I think that's really important, so one of the things that we have really have never really done very well, and higher education particular is working on maintaining that balance. It's mostly been, you know, the sort of model where professors air there to profess it's not download. Yeah, memorized something I need to. I need to share my air addition with you. And so it's all about received knowledge, not about how knowledge is constructed, using the multiple realities that exist that help us to deal with complexity. And, you know, if there's one thing that I think higher education needs to take from this pandemic, you know where everybody is. Forced has now been forced into online kinds of learning. Has been to say, OK, what can we dio in terms of providing the kind of information that students will need to succeed, develop the skills that they will need? And but the more, more important thing is what kind of settings can we provide that will help people develop not just a set of skills but a way of thinking about dealing with complexity, and we have not been very good at that at all. If there's an opportunity here and I think there will be higher education is gonna have to rebuild, just like every other sector of American society. And the rebuilding, if we're smart, is not going to be to try to go back to 2019. But to say here is an opportunity for us now to create a different kind of higher education environment, not one that's totally dependent upon technology, but one that also recognizes the usefulness of technology in conjunction with other ways of people getting together and learning from the trouble. I think I think that could be the future. If if we're able to craft it that way,

spk_0:   33:32
well, it's a It's a beautiful question. It's It's a wonderful puzzle to think through what that design would look like.

spk_1:   33:39
Yeah, I think it's if

spk_0:   33:42
you've been experimenting, John, you've been experimenting with that design. Yeah,

spk_1:   33:46
we have. I mean, the our program now is about 20 years old, believe it or not, and the curriculum that we have today is not like the one that you were in sure, out of a lot of the things that have remained to saying. But we have tried to behave in ways that I've talked about, which is to experiment toe, learn from that experience to build it in, to pay very close attention to what our students. They're experiencing what we're experiencing and to try to evolve our program. According

spk_0:   34:23
So for me, John is I hear you as I hear you spoke. I I experienced higher education at times. Is not that not a continual process that's paying close attention to what's happening in the system close and empathetic or empathic viewpoint or mindset? And I I experienced higher education is very different from that, and I think that's I think you're right. I think there's an opportunity for us to shift some of the some of the narrative some of the norms, some of the the way of being that higher education is because ultimately, I think that's what's gonna differentiate the learning experience for students.

spk_1:   35:04
Oh yeah,

spk_0:   35:04
I can get an online course anywhere right now. Sure, can I get a transformational learning experience? That's a That's a different story. The difference tonight to your point. I think it's an adaptive challenge. I don't think anyone has that answer. And so it's that process of experimenting, challenging, supporting, walking with the learner versus the old. I'm gonna profess and stand at the front of the room and you regurgitate this content. That's a dime a dozen. Yeah, And how do we How do we evolve and develop something new and different that for me, it's a beautiful puzzle.

spk_1:   35:41
Well, what makes it such a wonderful puzzle for our field? Scott is that leadership programs are by definition, highly interdisciplinary. Yes, And what we know as we look at the evolution of scholarly knowledge over the decades, is that the most exciting areas of scholarship or not in the middle of a discipline There on the edges? Sure, there on the edges, the places where the disciplines intersect. Yes, that's the exciting part. Yeah, and one of the one of the wonderful sort of Energizer is for me, as as I was in the middle of writing this book is the verification of that over and over again, you know, looking for connections, for example, between social psychology and, um, and the arts or, um, or political science of all things and human learn. That's that. That's where the really interesting stuff is taking place and leadership programs. I mean, it's a beautiful kind of opportunity to pull together and integrate and synthesize and develop new insights based upon all of these other fields of knowledge. If we let ourselves let that come together for us, I think possibilities air endless,

spk_0:   37:14
you know, tomorrow I'm speaking with K Anders Ericsson, who is a psychologist, and and he's kind of deep into the expertise literature. And so I couldn't agree with you. War. I mean, we we authored an article on the intersections of leadership in adult learning. You have intersections of leadership in adult development to the intersection of the experts, heese, literature and leadership. I mean, there's so many bodies of knowledge that can inform our work. It's at times, it's incredibly humbling. It is. It's it's so vast. But it's such a wonderful opportunity. And it's the reason this puzzle keeps my mind still to this day. It keeps my mind active. How do we do this better? How do we better prepare people to serve an informal or formal leadership roles? Because leadership is incredibly difficult to do? Well, yeah, John, we're close on time. We've been going about 44 minutes, so I have a little bit of a lightning round for you, so get ready for the lightning round because it's coming.

spk_1:   38:21
Right? Okay.

spk_0:   38:22
What do you streaming right now? What have you What have you been watching? Anything interesting?

spk_1:   38:28
Oh, mostly stuff to escape. From what? I see something. Whose? Every day. The board. The greater the difference that the better British procedurals. For example, the sixth season of Bosch, which just start off Amazon. You know that, immigrants, it's fun to To to get into a world where people are actually in groups there, actually engaging in regular kind of social interaction going Wow,

spk_0:   39:02
it's It could remember that.

spk_1:   39:04
I remember. That s So what

spk_0:   39:06
are you listening to or reading? That's caught your eye.

spk_1:   39:09
I'm, uh I'm almost finished with this incredible biography of Frederick Douglass. Oh, wow. By David Black one. The Pulitzer Prize several years ago. Okay, I made. And this is a doorstop of a book. Okay, It's got about has more than 700 pages. You know how some of these biographies can be.

spk_0:   39:35
Oh, yeah.

spk_1:   39:36
It is just amazing Journey through, You know, the life of this icon who were reminded almost every page that that that icons never depict the complexities of the real person. And and Frederick Douglass was an incredibly complex human being. Really? Yeah, Yeah,

spk_0:   40:00
I'm excited to take a look

spk_1:   40:01
east. He was, for example, just a just a little nugget. I mean, these this is this is how people are just bundles of contradictions. Okay. Yeah. Frederick Douglass. And in the same speech, talk about equal rights and the end up and the fight for equality of the newly emancipated Friedman, as they were called in the day and compare them to the Indians as he called, who he compared unfavorably to African American African Americans, he said believed wanted to integrate themselves into American society. The Indians were incapable of it. Interesting, and he somehow never, never saw the contradiction in that point of view. And he was a product of his times. Of course, I love biographies. For that reason, it's your able Teoh. Really. When they're done well, you're able to get inside someone for all of their complexity and contradictions. And that's what makes them so interesting.

spk_0:   41:12
What are you working on right now from a personal growth or a personal development perspective? Where is John? We're going Need to improve. Well, I'm speed. Rounds ago, Greg

spk_1:   41:29
Wrestle kept Okay. All right. Real quick. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to bend my time as I sort of dip my toe into retirement next year. This is my last year is a full time faculty member. I'm going to be working part time, so I'm developing my skills as a bartender. For example, I'm coming up with new cocktails. I do A I do a little stick every year for my neighbors who do a Super Bowl party. And I dress up like a bartender with that, you know, white shirt and bow tie and cumber bun in the whole nine yards. So, yeah, I mean, seriously, I'm trying to work on, you know, what is my new balance going to be, you know, in terms of I'm always going to be sort of intellectually curious. I can't imagine ever retiring from that. Uh, probably have another writing project coming up. Not quite sure what that will be. Uh, but mostly it's about cultivating other parts of my life at this point aside, begin to make that transition.

spk_0:   42:32
So, John Morgan energy just an incredible energy about this man patients. I don't know that you saw that on. Heard that on this podcast. But I can tell you he's a patient man and and partner. Uh, doesn't he just sound like an incredible man to be a partner in your learning? And then I can tell you that he is. And so, John, thank you so much for being with us today and sharing your wisdom Very, very excited to have you in these first few episodes. Thank you very, very much. Really quickly. Where can people find your work? Right now,

spk_1:   43:09
the book is deep Learning in a Disorienting World, published by Cambridge University Press 2020. You can find it on Amazon or most of the other online outlets.

spk_0:   43:21
Okay. Well, John, have a wonderful day shelter in place. Be well, and we will talk soon, Sir.

spk_1:   43:28
It was great talking with you, Scott. The time just flew by.

spk_0:   43:32
Take care

spk_1:   43:33
of. This is really fun.

spk_0:   43:36
I mentioned to John while we were recording that I was literally designing a class for this summer as we were speaking. And I think it's a wonderful opportunity to do a little bit of experimentation, especially around this notion of constructive disorientation. Kind of that sweet spot where people feel challenged outside of their comfort zones. But they also feel supported by the educator. And John discussed three elements that can kind of create this place of constructive disorientation. We discussed disorienting dilemmas, mindfulness, really paying attention to our body or sensations or emotions, and then this notion of aesthetic experience, which was kind of fascinating. We also discussed having a deep learning mindset. John suggests that this is a way of being, and he suggested that we can't learn deeply without feeling something. So again for educators listening, How do we create an environment where people are feeling something now? I really wanted to explore this notion of deep learning and the environmental context, the educational context, and John had some really, really important things to say about this. So he emphasized that empathy is critical when it comes to doing this work on the educators part, the educators paying very close attention to the anxiety level of the people with whom they're working, He also discussed in an important ingredient is that you're learning with others and if it can be a diverse group of learners, that that's a strength that can take some time to build social capital. But a diverse group of learners brings different perspectives and takes on different conversations, which can be of great value. And he also discussed the need of what's called perspective taking, really working to take on the perspective of others and trying it on for size, he said. You don't have to agree with it long term, But can we bake in that experience of perspective taking for learners? And I really loved. When he spoke about his own thinking around designing, learning experiences, he said that we're running experiments. We're learning from those experiences. Paying close attention to the students, experiences our experiences, educators and then, of course, evolving the programme accordingly. So is that continue to design for summer? These are some things that I'm going to keep in mind. You have been listening to the practical wisdom for leaders podcast. If you liked what you heard, please share it with others and let him know it were up to. And one last quick reminder to click Subscribe. So you know, when we publish new episodes and of course, we'd love to hear your feedback. You can stay in touch with me by visiting Www dot scott, J. Allen dot net or any number of social media platforms. Be well, be safe and make a difference wherever you are on this beautiful planet. And now here's Cates, twin sister Emily with the Outro. Even the same two from nieces. Practical Wisdom with Scott Allen.