55 min

Episode 25: What Happens When We Believe All Young People Are Brilliant? with Dr. Sonn Sam The Learner-Centered Collaborative Podcast

    • Education

Sonn Sam, National Director of Partnerships at Big Picture Learning, discusses his experiences and insights on creating learner-centered education systems.

Sonn shares how his experiences as a refugee from Cambodia shaped his educational journey and how he did not feel seen or supported in traditional school environments. He found mentors and purpose through community programs focused on his interests, like dance.

Later, transformative educators helped Sonn discover his passion for empowering youth by asking him questions no one had asked before about what he cared about. This led him into education and working with Big Picture Learning.

Key topics covered include:


The importance of knowing students' interests and passions to drive relevant learning
Small group advisory structures for relationship building- Connecting students with mentors and internships in the community
Developing competency-based systems and authentic assessments
Moving from theory to action by starting small and evolving practice over time

Sonn emphasizes the need to build ecosystems that honor the brilliance in every student, not just those who fit traditional measures of success. His vision is for an education system where every child feels seen, heard, and loved.

Sonn Sam, National Director of Partnerships at Big Picture Learning, discusses his experiences and insights on creating learner-centered education systems.

Sonn shares how his experiences as a refugee from Cambodia shaped his educational journey and how he did not feel seen or supported in traditional school environments. He found mentors and purpose through community programs focused on his interests, like dance.

Later, transformative educators helped Sonn discover his passion for empowering youth by asking him questions no one had asked before about what he cared about. This led him into education and working with Big Picture Learning.

Key topics covered include:


The importance of knowing students' interests and passions to drive relevant learning
Small group advisory structures for relationship building- Connecting students with mentors and internships in the community
Developing competency-based systems and authentic assessments
Moving from theory to action by starting small and evolving practice over time

Sonn emphasizes the need to build ecosystems that honor the brilliance in every student, not just those who fit traditional measures of success. His vision is for an education system where every child feels seen, heard, and loved.

55 min

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