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170. Learning Through Failure & Mastery with Tony Wagner

Tony Wagner is a globally-recognized expert who is currently a senior research fellow at the Learning Policy Institute founded by Linda Darling-Hammond in 2015. Prior to that, he held a variety of positions at Harvard University for more than twenty years, including a few years as the expert in residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab and the founder and co-director for more than a decade at the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

In his latest book Learning By Heart, Tony gives an autobiographical telling of his unconventional educational journey. His background was of hating school. He dropped out of high school, and after going back to get his degree dropped out of college twice. His experience with school, along with getting deeply involved in the 60s political movement, led to two realizations: That he wanted to make a difference in the world, and that education needed to be completely reinvented. We talk about what that reinvention looks like, and how a shift to mastery-based education can prepare students for the world after school.

To learn more, visit:

We unbox:

  • Shifting the focus of education from time served to mastery

  • What’s at stake if we don’t make radical changes to our education system

  • How legislation can free up educators to innovate by removing testing requirements

  • Breaking down the content barriers

  • How to find room and space for innovation in your classroom today


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