The Brandon Zhang Show
#025 "Ana Lorena Fabrega - Synthesis School and The Future of Education"
November 05, 2020
Today, I am speaking with Ana Lorena Fabrega, she is a former elementary school teacher who is now an edupreneur, a passionate educator outside the classroom with a vision for the future of education and a strong desire to break the mold. She writes a weekly newsletter on education called Fab Fridays and hosts "Show and Tell" on Youtube with David Perell. In today's episode we are going to talk about Synthesis School, an exciting new startup in education, setting anti-goals, and what schools can learn from Y-Combinator.
1. Ana's Twitter
2. Ana's Website
3. Brandon's Twitter
4. Brandon's Website
5 Key Takeaways:
- Synthesis is a new online school built by the founding teachers of Ad Astra, the school started by Elon Musk at SpaceX. It is an online school with no speed limit for kids who want to solve problems and think outside the box.
- I got tired of creating compliance and teaching kids to embrace the status quo. And it just didn't feel right to me to enforce things that I didn't generally value, like tests and grades and memorization and homework. And it's interesting because these are all things that I had to unlearn. Because if you go to teaching school, you know, I went to ed school, and they teach you this way, right? Like, oh, this is how you assess kids. This is the incentives that you use in order to get kids to learn.
- What I really like about micro-schools is that it's tailored to the kid, right. And you don't have like this gigantic class that you need to teach to, but it's just a few kids. We were talking about the benefits of that, right, like kids rise to the occasion, and they teach each other. And you really get to form the curriculum around the merging interest of the kids and what they need at that moment. And they also like that, it's really flexible.
- In school, we learned prescribed methods in order to achieve prescribed outcomes, right. And this typically involves just mimicking existing ideas. And often we don't even question things. We just do them because that's the way we've always done them. But if we want to come up with something really original, and solve problems in new ways, then and actually see what's truly possible, then we need to think from first principles.
- I'm fascinated by Y Combinator, because I feel like it's the kind of project-based learning experience that I envisioned for kids, right. And there's a lot that we can learn from there. But basically, it's this idea that you know, kids and humans, and we just learned by doing and by being really actively engaged on whatever it is that we're learning, this idea of being a passive consumer and listening to a lecture and you know, yes, it works for some people. But really, when it comes to applying that knowledge later and making it stick, you need to be working on something. And good schools are able to set that culture for learning and the conditions for invention, right, and then just let the kids build and create. And this, again, doesn't happen through lectures.