Ed comes from Qualcomm and brought his World of Work K -12 curriculum to California's Cajon Valley Union High School District, which starts this career exploration beginning at the kindergarten level.
Music by QubeSounds from Pixabay - Rock Beat Trailer
And when we have educators investing in their lives, from that place of who the student is, that is a way to help them better know themselves, begin to explore their options. And then one day make more informed choices about that future possible self.
Hello, and welcome back to the learning leader lab. Super excited about today. I have Ed Hidalgo on today, we both been very interested about the world of work and the future of work. And even though our paths have crossed at a variety of conferences, we've never really had the chance to really meet or talk. And so I am truly looking forward to today's conversation, and the opportunity to share the work that Ed has been doing, both in his district and outside. So a little bit about Ed, he came from Qualcomm and brought his World of Work K 12 curriculum to California's Cajon Valley Union High School District, which starts this career exploration beginning at the kindergarten level, which is just really awesome. And as I believe you have also shared even on Twitter just a few days ago, that our work is not just about preparing students for the world of work. It's about helping students develop a vision, and a plan for their future possible selves. And I really, really appreciate that, because that's so important, especially in today's world, where I really feel like kids are having a hard time not only anticipating, but thinking about the future and their place in it. So it is that possible selves framework, and it begins with the connective tissue, a personal identity, as you add, it is so much bigger than college and career readiness. Is there anything else you want to tell us because I know this has been and continues to be quite a journey for you and the work that you're doing?
Well, David, it's a pleasure to be with you here. And I'm so psyched that you read that tweet, because really, that is at the core of the work and, and it's so much bigger than me just making that statement like what does that actually mean? And I guess I would direct your listeners to the great new book, edited by Dr. David Bluestein. And Lisa Flores called rethinking work. And maybe they would turn to chapter six, which talks about the great resignation or the great transformation. And the discussion in that essay, by other researchers really talks about this shift. Especially with the millennials and the Gen z's, this quiet quitting, and its connection back to the meaningfulness and purpose that young people are desiring in their working lives. And so when we talk about just preparing students for the world of work, it's so limiting. It's such a small way of thinking about their journeys across the lifespan, it really is about this idea of future possible selves. What is the bigger picture of me in the world? And if I do hang my hat with a particular employer? What are the values? What is the mission? What is the work that I can contribute to that I believe in? And how will that employer care for me, young people need to know what their strengths interests and values are. And when we have educators investing in their lives, from that place of who the student is, that is a way to help them better know themselves, begin to explore their options, and then one day make more informed choices about that future possible self. So that's really what the work is all about. And that is what grounds our work with districts from a K to gray model.
I really appreciate that. Because when you look at that, that great resignation, that's been happening, you really start to look across that eco system of work. And you really see people really wanting purpose, you know, because I think we spent so many years in this efficiency model of you know, it was really just about getting work done and and supporting the organization. But now it's really, you know, do I serve a green organization? Do we care about the planet? Are we doing something that's worthwhile and you're starting to really see a push of people saying, you know, I don't just want this to be about whether or not I make money, but whether or not I have purpose?
Most definitely, you're absolutely right. And really, in the research, we see that oil and gas, we can pick on them, at least for the moment. We know they do some good things, but they also, you know, have some complicated relationships with with our Earth and what they do, and not saying that we don't need their services, because we absolutely do. But it's interesting that, that those industries saw some of the highest numbers of resignation, you know, during this period of quiet quitting, and that's highlighted in the research, so we have to do a better job, really, employers have to do a better job or should do a better job at, at telling their stories, and maybe even shifting their practices. Because the workforce that we're preparing, seems to really, really care about this in different ways, potentially than our than our boomers and ourselves as Gen Xers.
Yeah, very much. So. Now, I want to go back a little bit because I know you've done a lot of heavy lifting, and you've created a whole framework that's really kind of rolled out in a K 12. System. Can you kind of just take us back a little bit, and maybe even where you came from and kind of what got you started on this path? And maybe some of the work that you've gone through?
Well, you know, thanks. Thanks for that. Thanks for that, you know, opening of the dialogue around the background, because I think it it hopefully will maybe get folks thinking about their own journeys, their own lifespan, their own trajectories, because, you know, my story is is unique to me, but I think it could serve to support others as they're thinking about their future possible selves. This isn't just for young people, of course, and, and so for me, I was very fortunate to learn about this language of strengths, interests and values. When I entered into the world of work, I was about 25, and began to get access because my wife is a career counselor, an HR professional, she was getting her Master's at the time. And she's the one who first introduced me to this language of personality and the world of work. And as a dyslexic thinker myself, I struggled in school and and so I often wondered and asked myself, who would ever want to hire me? I'm so bad at math, where would I ever find my place in the world. And that's something I struggled with until I started to understand that I had unique gift teams, special strengths and interests and values that could be utilized in the world of war where I could find my place. And really, I was so fortunate to land in human resources and talent acquisition and spent 18 years there, I did finish that career journey at Qualcomm, and what a blessing it was, I had the most amazing vice president. And he often used to say, if you crushed the core of your work, which for me was staffing and talent acquisition, I'll let you do anything else that you want to do. And my heart's desire was to integrate career development within the corporate setting, and to advance this idea of strengths, interests and values in the workplace. Not just to make people feel better, but to help them learn to answer this question that so many of them seem to have, how do I manage my career. And it's really hard to manage your career when you don't know who you are, what your talents are, what your interests are, and what you value. And so that's exactly what we did. And in that first couple of years, so I'll 15,000 engineers, and help them redesign and rethink their own work lives, and equip them with the ability to have a conversation with their managers to better position themselves for the next opportunities that they could be open to that would be accessible to them. And it drove engagement scores and performance scores. And we saw this in the research. And so all of that great work that was the seed led to starting a makerspace for middle school students called the Think a bit Lab, which folks can look at online. It still exists to this day in a little bit of a different format, but still serving kids around STEM. And it was during that time that Dr. David Miyashiro came to that lab and said, How can we do what you're doing here with students because we had been transferring the great work with the adults strengths, interests and values and integrating that into the STEM lab experience. Challenging middle schoolers with the same questions about who they are, who they want to become and their strengths, interests and values and Dr. Miyashiro with his infinite wisdom, said how do we Do this for every child every great every year, because I can only bring one class. And so that led to working on theory of change at University of San Diego at the Jacobs Institute. And then the district ended up hiring me to deploy this work across 28 schools with 17,000 students. And so seven years now, from that initial start in Cajon, we've been able to really distill down, what are the core elements, the essence of what has been so successful there? When the adults come and speak to the students, and have a conversation with a fifth grader about their strengths, interests and values? What is it? What is it specifically, that enables a child to be able to have that conversation, because for most of the adults that arrive, they've never had that kind of a conversation with a young person before. So that's been the journey. It's all related to human development, career, of course, Incorporated. But certainly we know that career has much greater effect on people's overall well being their lives. And so that's why that has to be incorporated in this process. It's just not a deterministic process. It's just not preparing students for the marketplace. It's so much bigger than that.
Wow. And so I'm going to share a couple things that you really made me think of, and then I'm gonna kind of come back to another question a few years back, and unfortunately, it sadly passed away, Richard Elmore, who, out of Harvard who had done a lot around instructional rounds, I had a chance to sit down with him just a one on one for a little bit. And he one of the things he discussed, and you made me think about this, when when you were sharing some of that story, he said, the one thing that I noticed, he said, when I've really seen something very different or innovative happening in a school, either someone's really struggled with learning, or they didn't feel like they had a good go with the system, like it wasn't working for them. And he said, those are the people that I've really seen, try and do something very different. And when you talked about those struggles, you turn that into something that in a way that became innovative in the district. And so I really appreciated that and the thing, and you can probably answer this, and then I had another question, as you were speaking, you know, and I think about even the research from OECD that, you know, kids who are having conversations around careers and able to talk about it and have discussions, at least by age 15, but if not, befor, have better careers, and they do better professionally, and they and they in like you said, are going to be happier and healthier, because then they have some targets to even shoot for. But the one thing that really stand stood out to me as you are having these discussions about possible selves, is this idea of just feeling like agency. You know, and and that anticipation for the future.
Yes, yes. Well, Dr. David Bluestein, he talks about the importance of career choice, privilege, and agentic striving and agentic striving, right, like I know myself, I have control, I can advance my journey, it ties back to the self efficacy, belief, but also outcome expectations, which is so beautifully tied into the social cognitive career theory. So your point around agency was always a surprise to me when I stepped into public education, because everyone's using that buzzword. Of course, everyone was talking about learner centered, student centered student portfolios, student student profile, student portrait learner, a portrait of a graduate. And you see all these things wrapped around the student at the nucleus. But there's very little related to self awareness, understanding who I am strengths, interests and values, my aptitudes, my skills, where I live, who my mentors are, like, I don't we don't really know the students, we don't actually know the kids. And we've created this false narrative around this portrait, which quite frankly, is useless, mostly useless if you don't tie the human into the portrait the individual. And there's, there's the place that I've seen this, where it's, it's so much of a standout to me, is in project based learning. Because project based learning is great in the fact that you help students develop sweat equity, they work together, they toil they struggle, they work in teams, that's super useful. I mean, yes, super useful in the world of work. But at the end of that PBL, what is the reflection for the child? Was I in my flow? did things go easy for me? Which of my strengths were deployed? How did I feel when I was involved in this project? What strengths did my collaborators have and interests and values? Is this something that I would want to do again? Or push away? What did I learn about myself on the stepping out of that project upon the completion? So is it just a sweat equity experience? You know, or is it a broader experience where we can really process what was taking place there? And how was I as a human engaged intrinsically versus extrinsically? What did it feel like? What was my success? It's such a deeper conversation. But it doesn't necessarily mean it's complicated. It's just we're not doing it or thinking about it in that way. And I think in many, many respects, it's because our educators haven't been trained with that lens, necessarily. And I think that's one of our opportunities.
And I really appreciate how you bring that human centeredness into it. Because I, I often feel like when you think about leaving school, and going out into the world of work, or determining, you know, that college and career, it often feels like, it's kind of like this closed door, you know, and I'm not really sure what I'm going to do what I'm going to be not getting a lot of mentoring around that I'm not sure even if I'm going after something that I would like, and then it almost feels a little bit like once you get out there that you're just trying to make it work in this really is asking them. And there's two sides of this, as I'm listening to you to really tap into, you know, who am I? And what would, like you said, allow me to really bring out the best of my possible self in the future. But the thing I also like is that there's a different awareness for the educators on how I get down to that level. And thinking about the questions that I asked and the way that I talk with students. I don't know if you want to expound on that a little more. But
well, and I know time is precious in the classroom. So it's complicated, right? Because if you start asking questions, maybe you go deeper into, you know, you know, reducing time for others. But the thing is, educators and Cajon have ruined me forever, because they've shown me what's possible. And the best teachers are the ones that realize the learning opportunity that's happening in the moment, and begin to ask more questions. And then before you know it, everyone is stepping into the conversation. So just yesterday, we were training in a district and county office. And we talked about just this point, that so often we want to step in and solve the answer, we want to have the answer or solve the question we we have the answer to the question. What if we asked two or three or four more questions to really dig deep into what is the real question, what is the underlying question that exists? Try it, it's really hard to do that. But when you listen, ask the question, ask a clarifying question and try to go two steps further. What comes out from that individual. And sometimes it's very emotional, because you want to get into some deep underlying topics, related to experiences, things that they've been involved in, or misunderstandings that they have stereotypes. And that's exactly where we need to meet students. That's exactly the learning that we want to have happening. Because it's real, it's human. And that is student centered. So I think whenever we can challenge ourselves, to be fully present, and to take that moment to really understand and career development, sits beautifully in the center of that conversation. Because career development is all about the individual. It's all about the person. And that's where students want to meet you. Do you know me? Do you understand me? Do you see me? And that's where this work has been so powerful because it provides that common language between teacher and student student and teacher within the ecosystem.
And just going off of what you said right there one of the things that we we a word because we talked about words that get thrown around a lot. A word to me that gets thrown around a lot is transformation, which is often either incremental innovation or reform? And the thing that I'm kind of, not kind of, but pulling for it, is that you're really asking educators to transform their mental model of how they approach the classroom and our conversations. Has that has that been a bit of a process, because I mean, I know as I know, you get we get in habits and and sometimes, you know, disrupting those mental models of how we do things, it can be really difficult. But this is really requiring a much deeper and, and I would even say maybe more emotional way of approaching the learning,
Hundred percent. And you're spot on with that. And that's why we say, and I have an article about it on my LinkedIn page. But we have to start with the adults first because we can't ask the adults, you know, to give this gift to young people, if they haven't gone through this process for themselves, which was, again, the great foresight of Dr. Miyashiro, who wanted me to take this personalized learning to the adults first and I visited all 28 schools, spent two hours on site with everyone. And we went through the process of experiencing our own strengths, interests and values, and beginning to develop a common language for ourselves. And those people, those adults, not all of them because, you know, there were plenty that had no interest in what I had to say. And a lot of educators listening to this will understand what that looks like. But there were many others who were locked in to the conversation. Why? Well, for some of them, they were thinking about retirement in a couple of years. And all of a sudden they're thinking about, well, how are my strengths, interests and values going to align to that next transition period. Some of them were thinking about their children, who maybe had not been as successful in colleges, they would have hoped and, you know, stepped out after the first year and we're at home, maybe working odd jobs, and all of a sudden, the parents are wondering, is there hope for my child? What's missing here, like all of a sudden, this is something that I'm learning about? I can't even answer these questions for my own child. And then for others, it's maybe people that they mentor, or volunteer projects that they're on and, and realizing that in that community where the service is just so needed, that those young people don't have hope, or those adults for their future possible selves, they don't have this language either. So this is the way to start. And when we bypass this part, we really aren't honoring the adults in the system, we really do need to start with them. And it needs to be handled very carefully. Because as you say, this could be very emotional. And for some, it really is. And we probably don't have time to get into some of those experiences when the tears start revealing themselves. But, you know, for many people, it's a new beginning, in the way that they are seeing their kids for the first time through this shift from their inabilities or their deficiencies or their problems. And starting to see them now, through their unique talents, their unique interests, and what they care about through their values. And that is a gift in the work that should be deployed, I think, for all educators
It's interesting. I was listening to a podcast coming in, it was about storytelling. It was Brian Sully's famous entrepreneur. And one of the things he mentioned was that we have become very focused on what's not right, instead of really looking at assets. And he said that really needs to change and I appreciate how you really brought that out. Just because to me, that gives you a different lens and, and a much more positive lens of you know, I think of the Heath brothers and all that they used to talk about. But um, so one of the things that often happens in and this goes back to the framework that you've created, is that a lot of times when we talk about work, we say, okay, that's just for high school, right? Let's start getting kids ready in high school. And really, you've brought this all the way down to the kindergarten level, you know, for the early grades and and like you would say you'd call them the littles and and that's something I think that for a lot of you People might be a bit foreign. Like, I don't see where this really works. And so I thought it was important, maybe to touch on that, because you've driven this all the way down.
Yeah, yes, well, so one of the reasons that I left I left to do this work was because I was so interested in the green field of career development in the earliest grades. And that's what also why I went to USD and spent a year working on the theory of change with the researchers, their professors and counseling psychology, because I wanted to do no harm. I wanted to make sure that my ideas and ideas that we are working on collaboratively could benefit children. And so the real success or the real kudos has to go to the teachers in those elementary grades who deployed this work, because, you know, as well as I do, if it doesn't work, they're not going to do it. I mean, flat out elementary teachers not going to do it. And the fact that the work has thrived in these early grades not existed, you know, not been doable, but what I would say is thrived. And you can read the article about RIASEC, and relationships on LinkedIn, as well, from a second grade perspective and a classroom that I'd experienced. The thing is that the self that a person makes themselves into is a function of language. And that's a quote from Dr. Mark CIVICUS, an incredibly well known counseling psychologists, the self that a person makes themselves into as a function of language. The thing that we're doing in the earliest grades that we're not testing students on this framework are, we're inviting them into a process of absorbing and understanding the language of self. And in that process, we're inviting them to make natural connections, to demonstrate to get comfortable with to learn their classmates giftings through this same language, it's not a gotcha, it's not a right or wrong. It's just an invitation. And the surprise to most of the adults is that young people gravitate towards it. The simplicity of Hollins language makes it accessible, we often say it's so easy, even the adults can do it. And what makes it beautiful, is that a child is able to associate elements of who they are, and make simple connections to the things that matter to them, right in that classroom, or in the world. And the teachers who have really spent some time crafting that language, as we talked about earlier, starting with the adults, they're the ones who have made natural connections to all of their content areas, this inserted into the scope and sequence within the instructional core. And when that language lives, in the day to day that students are interacting with, they begin to see it naturally everywhere. And so the power of that becomes a relationship building experience between the teacher and the child and the child and the teacher. Because the most gifted teachers, which I think this should just be table stakes, quite frankly, the teachers are able to begin to differentiate their instruction based on student's interests. Teachers are able to begin to integrate performance management techniques, if we want to use that language, self regulation strategies, based on that language based on knowing this child. And that's where those incredible wins begin to flourish. That's where students get more excited. And quite frankly, that's when parents begin to ask the questions. Is my child going to get this next year? Because I want them to? So that's a long response to your question, but I believe that it deserves that type of color, and that all the credit belongs with the teachers because they are the ones who have been the absolute artisans in the integration of this language.
And let me ask you a question following up on that. Because I'm not sure if this is what I was hearing. So I want to ask, it almost feels like then, very often what we see in education is a lot of interventions and and scaffolding and support are really based around gaps or areas that have been shown to be a challenge and what You're really kinda also bringing into the picture is now where we're personalizing to amplify your assets, and allowing you to, to explore what you're really good at. Because if I'm a if I'm a, you know, like, in third grade, but I know I really love the idea of leadership and and that really challenges me and I want to grow that it's almost like you're allowing that personalization to happen around, hey, this is something I'm really feel like I have a strength around and and I want to get better with it.
Perfect example. Yes. So the student who's chatty, chatty, chatty, and third grade that the teacher is always fighting with or, you know, struggling with is a better term struggling with managing that behavior. But that child all of a sudden knows that they lead with enterprise and, and we should talk about the RIASEC. So we build some context around this, but the child understands that they lead with enterprising. Well, the teacher, you know, potentially might say, and these are things that I've observed. You know, I know that that enterprising wants to come out, I see it all over the place. And you know, that we've been working on that, you know, strategy, to make sure that that voice, you know, finds itself at the right times during the class, and you know, we've been working on that, we're gonna go to lunch in 15 minutes. And when we come back, you're going to have the opportunity to tell that story. So I want to use, I want to help you navigate and manage that enterprising theme that you have, I see it, and I know you have it. And I'm going to promise you that we're going to make sure that is, you know, accessible to the rest of the class when we come back. And it's, it's simple things like that, because there's this respect that's going on, where again, teacher knows me, I know the teacher and that teachers got me. And because we're speaking that common language, I know that I'm going to get my turn, it's going to happen. And as I've witnessed that in classrooms, it wasn't, this wasn't why we started this work, this was a complete, you know, side benefit that has evolved as part of the practice. But again, this goes back to the mastery of teachers, they're seeing the gifting of the child. Sometimes that gifting, undeveloped is problematic. We often talk about strengths in the basement, or the balcony, undeveloped in the basement, well developed in the balcony. Of course, there are many that are going to be undeveloped for a child. But in seeing the child's strengths and interests, now we can start working with them, we can actually work together to moderate those challenges for the better of the child, because they're not getting in trouble as much, and the benefit of the classroom, because now that teacher is modeling, that, you know, approach and, and that approach will be similar to the others in the classroom. So that's, that's the power in the work. And it's fun to watch
That's incredible in and one of the things we've talked a lot about is just that relationship and and knowledge between the teacher and the student, do you and you've touched on this a little bit, but maybe you want to expand a little more, it also seems like it's changing the relationship between the child and the in the parent of of just opening up different understandings and, and maybe seen talents maybe that weren't noticed before? I don't know if you want to expand on that a little bit.
Absolutely. Well, there's, there's so many examples of this that have revealed themselves in the classroom. But I'd like to give an example from private practice of some work that I'm doing with families. And in this case, a very unique situation. A young person, very high functioning autism, probably in the top 1% of intellect, perhaps the bottom 3% In terms of social skills, and very high achieving family, you know, at the most elite institutions, working in elite professions, but this child has struggled to, in some ways find their place within this unit, especially when the brother has also graduated from the this type of institution and follow in the footsteps of the families. Well, what they asked me to come in and start working to help this young individual to begin to find their place in the world and how can we help them because there's struggles all over the place, you know, fell out of college, and, and one of the first things that he says to me is I'm at my best when my hands are never bored. And my brain is never bored. And in that commentary, understanding the lens of the RIASEC, I'm able to understand that there's a strong potential that this young person is realistic and investigative, realistic, likes to use their hands. Investigative likes to use math and science to solve problems, deep thinking. And sure enough, after six sessions, self reporting, leading to assessment using a valid, reliable, empirically based assessment down the road when the time is right and interpreted. Sure enough, realistic, investigative off the charts. Well, at the end of this journey, the student leads a demonstration of learning of their learner portrait that we've created together with the families, mom and dad are present. And their response is, we've never known the student in this way, we've never had this language of strengths, interests and values for our child. And all of a sudden, this is painting a new mental map, a new understanding of who he is, and where he might fit in the world. So all the effort that they're doing to support him, now has more of a target now has some direction, now has some movement, some wind behind their sails, so to speak, and the child knows that, you know, my folks understand this. And together, we're using this common language. So it's an example of an experience that I believe that any family any caregivers can have with the young people that they are responsible for, and in doing so, would be able to see so much more. So much more clearly, potentially, the unique gift teams that are aligned within the child may be latent, but maybe very out in the world, but they didn't know what to call it. This is a way to get everyone on the same page to really support that child in a deep and meaningful way.
Wow. And I mean, that I can't imagine how that must have felt. Because I mean, it just blooms with new opportunity. And, and, and possibilities, not only for the child moving forward, but even the dynamics in the family. So yeah, that's a that was a wonderful story. Um, one of the things if you let me know if I'm correct or not. It seems like currently, you're kind of now moving out beyond the district level. And this work is happening in different arenas in and you can tell us a little bit about that. And then do you think there's been more of a notice? Because I know you've done this, prior to the pandemic, and now through an after the pandemic? Do you think there's, it's kind of like when generative AI came out? You know, I used to talk about AI in 2017. And no one wanted to hear about it. And I couldn't understand why, because it was bringing so much to the table. I read a McKinsey article the other day, and the one thing that really spoke to me is that you can touch it, now. It's real. And so in for many people, the realization that, you know, even beyond the possible cells is that the world of work is is not only shifting dynamically, it's continuing to shift and change in so many different ways. Do you think that is becoming more noticeable? Or it tilts a little bit? If I gave you a lot there?
Yeah, no, it's great. I think you're right on point, I think states really are feeling the pressure, more than ever to integrate career related learning or career related teaching, or some checkboxes associated with career development in their, in their, in their states. And so there's, there's, I think, new pressure on districts to begin to do this work. At the same time, I think folks are noticing that, you know, this AI is happening, and we see what it's doing. And, you know, recent layoffs and, you know, kind of mass layoffs in the technology side of things. So I think there's some unsettledness Of course, now also with what we see with interest rates and inflation, and so the time is really, you know, and then look at higher ed, right. I mean, we're at the, you know, from a confidence level of in higher ed, it's the confidence level and from families and students has never been lower. You know, folks aren't finishing they're not enrolling. I think everyone's a little bit concerned. Now. And at the same time everyone's running towards things that kind of don't work, like technology as a solution to career development is not the answer. And if it was the answer, then we wouldn't be having this conversation. Because technology and career development has been in our schools for two decades. You could answer that question better than me, because I hadn't been in schools for two decades, but from what I understand, had been around for a while. And, and the reason is, because career development is a human process. Career Development is a relational, behavioral, developmental, it's constructivist, it happens over time. And so what have I heard this week, from educators from superintendents, you know, in my listening sessions this week, who owns this work, but it doesn't have to be another thing. You know, we push in one time and middle school using the technology. And we wonder why the students, they they're really not getting a lot out of it. Our counselors are overwhelmed. And, you know, it's these constant questions. And, you know, we have to have a different approach to this work, if we really want it to work. Because what we've been doing isn't working, and, and quite frankly, is as valuable as CTE pathways are, and they are valuable, that only meets a certain type of student and many cases, a child who knows they want to go into these specific fields. It's, and in many cases, they're oversubscribed, like we've had in our listening sessions this week. Not all kids can get into those CTE pathways, not all CTE pathways are available. So what are you doing for all the gen ed students who are just going through their traditional pressure cooker of AP, maybe maybe it's dual enrollment, or whatever is going on. So really, there isn't a comprehensive solution. To prepare students for these big decisions, they have to make the big debt they may have to take on, and then thinking about these decisions that they're going to have to make. And I mean, I have more stories about that, than I can share. But I think it's all coming together at the same time. And for those superintendents and boards that are interested in new approaches, I think that's where we fit in, because when we talk about this approach, it's different, and it's human. And I think that's very much especially coming out of the pandemic, what they need, and what they want.
And just to build on that, one of the reasons I felt it was so important to have you on the learning leader lab is that, and I don't know if this is the correct term, but for me, you're a bit of a unicorn. In this space, there's not a lot of people. Not only just taking that human centered approach, but just it's, it's just a very different reframe, of how we consider work, and how we've always considered work. And it's in its, it's much deeper, it requires a lot more, it develops relationships and understandings around self and others. And which is not something that we usually talk about, you know, it's like, what do you want to do? What are you passionate about? How are you going to turn that into a job, you can't live in my basement, you're going to have to go to college, I guess. And so it's never really about who I want to really become and find my purpose as much as it is about, you know, and in some respects, it's been about, you know, safety and and the fiscal side, which is all really important, because we want we all want our children to do well. But this is asking them to do well, beyond that to be well. As a person. Yeah.
Yeah, you're absolutely right. And, and it's not complicated. Honestly, it's not complicated. The process is simple. We often refer to it as a minimum effective dosage, you know, through our, you know, seven years of distilling down what actually works and visiting and classrooms. We do the opposite to teachers, we give them the maximum ineffective dosage. You like standards and textbooks that you can't even, you know, complete. We look at it from a different perspective. We look at the minimum effective dosage that is required to help an adult be able to have these types of conversations with other adults and the young people in their care. And that is not overwhelming. It's not difficult. It's really much more of an aha moment. You know, and Hour and a half or less. I mean, really, in 20 minutes or less, we can get folks understanding the language in a couple hours, they're starting to offer some demonstrations of learnings around tasks and challenges and problem solving using these themes in this language. That's really impressive. But again, the, you know, the all the credit goes back to Dr. John Holland, without whom this framework in theory wouldn't exist. And so while the RIASEC has really been given a bad rap, it's it's not the RIASEC, or the language or the themes, it's the way that those themes have been deployed and used within assessment. And what we would consider a form of malpractice, because in most cases, those assessments have been deployed much like standardized tests. And we know that in those scenarios, there's no reflection that happens as a relates to the results that are revealed through those testing experiences or assessment experiences. And that is the last thing that we should be doing to young people. So our process is different. And that makes it accessible, so that it lives within the schoolhouse owned by the adults, and deployed within their areas of artistry. So, you know, again, thanks to my partner's Ed Co Op, thank you to Dr. Miyashiro, for his vision. And thanks to the teachers who have taught me so so much. Again, this is a human process that grounds in a dialogical experience that anyone can learn.
And it's incredible. And just so appreciate everything that you shared today. And and I always end with one question, it's maybe not the best question. But you know, when you start to think about the future of learning, I everyone kind of has their own idea. Where are you at right now? You know, and we'll wrap up with that.
Oh, man, well, you know, I have two dyslexic thinkers at home, much like myself. And so I've I've seen the struggles of dyscalculia and dysgraphia. And, you know, when you have this language and understanding of giftings that people have, you see their potential, and you naturally as a parent, reduce the, the weaknesses, not that we can't navigate or manage those or have to talk about those we do. But, but we can focus so much more of our attention and time on building up the child's heart, in their areas of giftings. And I think school does a really good job of breaking kids spirits, because they don't fit the process the model. And, you know, if I was an employer, and I know that I'd be really upset because we're damaging the talent pipeline from a very early age. So to answer your question, if, if we could truly personalize learning for a student, if we could really integrate custom processes for young people to take on tasks in the classroom, it doesn't mean you're doing a different project, or doing a working on a different problem to solve. But if we could activate students to integrate their strengths and their interests towards that project, towards that deliverable. And if those students could have permission to build teams that offer heterogeneous groupings, based on well rounded giftings, much like Gallup talks about let's not build well rounded people, let's build well rounded teams. And if we could give students that flexibility to take on work and collaborative work groups based on their strengths, interests and values. I think students in that with that simple shift, could feel seen and heard could have some agency around how they get their work done could have some agency around how they demonstrate their learning, which doesn't require a dramatic shift. It just requires that we see the human on the other side of the lesson. And again, through this language, I think we can get there. And that is really my passion. My purpose I'll say, although passion too, because I'm willing to suffer to help others do this is to really help others have this language and learn how to integrate it in instructional core. So what I just said can be possible for all children, every child every grade, and every year.
I will tell you this that your passion and purpose really comes Were and, and for me, it was great to have you on here today to be able to share that because I believe it, it, there needs to be an opportunity for people to hear the work that you're doing, because it's really important. And and I truly appreciate it. And I don't know if there's anything else you want to add as a as a lot last little bit. But I'll give you a quick opportunity. And then we'll wrap up.
Well, for anyone who's listening, this just happens to be on my heart right in this moment, because one of my son's classmates is staying with us, his parents moved to another state. And he's actually getting ready to transition from his community college program to Berkeley. And this is a young person, like many others, who wouldn't have been able to make it into Berkeley, you all know what Berkeley is as a freshman. And he had the opportunity as a freshman, to pay for a $65,000 a year college program, not too far away from where we live. Or he could decide to enroll in the TAG program at Southwestern Community College, which he did. And now two years after completing that program, he's going to enroll at Berkeley. Not once ever, did his high school counselor, talk about the benefits of starting and Community College, the benefits of the auto matriculation program, the benefits of what two years without debt, because it's free, can mean to a lifetime of financial independence. And not only is it getting to financial independence, he's going to Berkeley doesn't matter where you start, it's where you finish. So for anyone who's a parent listening to this, who has high schoolers, the California College Promise is one of the best gifts that this state offers to our citizens. And if you're not familiar with it, and you're feeling the pressure of your social network, to send your kid to a name brand College, without looking at these other opportunities, you're doing yourself a disservice. And maybe especially if your child is going to be the one who's going to own some of that debt, you're doing a disservice to your child. So I highly recommend they're not all created the same, but get to know your community college districts, because they are adding so much value for young people. And I'd hate for you to miss it. So while that situation is in my world, I just wanted to share it. And believe me strengths, interests and values. And the work that we're talking about is all wrapped into that beautiful experience that I've been able to learn about and I'm so proud of that young man, and so happy for for his future and where he's headed. So I hope was okay to share that. But I thought that might be a nice way to share a hack to the system that so many of us and the traps that we fall into as parents.
Oh, thank you very much. And Ed Hidalgo, we truly appreciate having you on our the learning leader lab today. We appreciate all the people who listen in and and just the opportunity to hear you sharing your passion and purpose. We are really thankful. And I really look forward to the work that you're going to continue to do and see how that changes lives. So thank you again for your time today. And we really appreciate it.
My pleasure. Thank you for having me. Thank you for what you do.
On behalf of San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and myself, we want to thank you again for tuning in for this episode of the learning leader lab. And we look forward to you joining us again for future episodes as we engage leaders inside and outside of our county to explore leadership that is having real impact for the future.