EP: 3 – Mastery-Based Learning Explained With Mike Yates

“It is essential to prepare the students for their 
future careers with confidence.”
Pam Baker (01:17-01:26)


Journeous podcast is about successful career transitions and navigating intentional journeys with insight, clarity, and confidence. In this week's episode, Pam Baker and Cindy Hunt, in collaboration with a special guest, Mike Yates, talks about mastery-based learning. When Mike Yates became a teacher, he immediately started searching for the school model that would serve students most effectively. He wanted to empower them to drive their learning.

Part One of ‘Mastery-Based Learning Explained with Mike Yates’

Educational professionals all make the same commitment. They want to encourage students to love school and teach them essential life skills. Loving school is essential because if you can make kids love school, you are winning. You can make programming adjustments. You can always create life skills, workshops, and projects. The fact is, if the kids don't love it, it won't work. It works by putting a bunch of smart people in a room. They are not fixated on a job title. They're not fixated on roles and responsibilities. People who are interested in solving problems are the kind of people that we want.

“Everything we need to learn takes constant practice.” 
– Mike Yates (20:43-20:45)


Stop thinking of school as a transitional place. We can motivate kids through coaching. We can organize learners by age, and we are charged with knowing every kid. It's more than possible. Some classroom teachers can manage up to one hundred fifty kids. Knowing kids is going to make them feel safe, and you can also push them to achieve new heights because they trust you. In terms of adaptive communication and helping people, sometimes issues need to be overcome. When your best person isn't showing up, whether teachers are stressed, or students are in distress, know that there are ways to support and everybody back on track.

It should everyone's collective responsibility to take care of each other. It's like a constant pattern of checking in with each other.

Just because you have a high position, doesn’t mean you know everything. That's not the case at all. You can show vulnerability and tell a kid that you don't know something, like math. You can tell a kid you don’t know it. It may look simple, but it levels the playing field for them. Business leaders must understand that you can be a collector of information without claiming to be an expert. Humility is something that we should strive towards because everything we need to learn takes constant practice.

Part Two of ‘Mastery-Based Learning Explained with Mike Yates’

The traditional education evaluation system is flawed. Grades are not an accurate representation of a student's performance. You have lots of people weighing in on your performance, and the ultimate truth is the average of different perspectives.

“Don’t be afraid of failure. Learn from it.”
- Mike Yates (29:08-29:17)


We want to see young people making a positive impact on the world. To do that, start teaching kids to make an impact. What the traditional school system does is teach kids to fall in line and to sort of blend in as opposed to stand out. Your whole life you're told, quiet and raise your hand to speak. We should be telling kids not to be afraid of failure but learn from it. Let kids do what they love and teach them how to be authentic. This kind of strategy helps create an environment where they can go off and do incredible things.

Learn more about Mike Yates:
Mike taught in public, private and charter schools for 5 years helping 89% of his students to earn commended on the Texas state standardized test and helping more than 75% of my students earn 4s and 5s on AP (Advanced Placement) Tests. He won teaching and coaching awards and still found himself unable to help kids the way they should be. I knew there had to be another way.

Today, he works tirelessly to disrupt and innovate school as a team leader at Alpha, an innovative, independent school that uses adaptive learning software in place of direct instruction.

Every student at Alpha performs in the top 10% of students their age on the MAP assessment. 99% of our students report that they love coming to school. Every student learns life skills, technical skills, and transferable skills. They are changing the way kids do school.

He co-founded Guide, a social e-learning app that teaches students life skills through micro-video content to provide access to innovative education options! The guide makes learning blended, on-demand and relevant! They are changing the way students use education.

Connect with Mike on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mike-yates/
Alpha Learning: https://www.go-alpha.org/



How to Get Involved:
​Today's workplace has diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and skills which can catapult creative problem-solving. This may result in communication challenges and conflicts that derail a company's fast-paced progress.

Adaptive communication enables people to understand one another and quickly resolve conflict—regardless of background, demographics, age, or educational level. Employees gain the tools to lead innovation, generate support for ideas, and reduce communication breakdowns.

Want to increase your organization's productivity, increase collaboration, and communicate so your message is heard? Learn more here: https://www.journeous.com/business/

Learn more about Pam Baker and Cindy Hunt:
https://www.journeous.com/company/

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