Practical Bravery: DR BENJAMIN FREUD



In this episode, we unravel some of the threads of culture, technology, and human experience, exploring how education shapes our understanding of ourselves and our place in a rapidly evolving global society.
We ponder questions central to our time: How does the digital age redefine our learning landscapes? What roles do empathy, creativity, and connection play in crafting a more inclusive and compassionate world?
From the classrooms of prestigious international schools to the boardrooms of Silicon Valley, our guest’s diverse experiences have shaped his understanding of education as a dynamic, living ecosystem. His philosophy champions a holistic approach to learning, one that nurtures not just academic prowess but also the emotional and social well-being of individuals.
A warm welcome to you, and to our guest as we explore practical bravery in coconut thinking – with Dr Benjamin Freud.

Key quotes:

“The word ‘coconut’ is a little cheeky and frankly came off the tip of my tongue because I love coconuts. But a coconut is both a fruit and a seed, and it’s also a nut. And I like this idea of being able to be multiple things at the same time.”

“Education is my second career but I brought so many lessons about the way things could be from Silicon Valley — but they don’t necessarily have any anchor in what’s good for the world.”

[on Silicon Valley] “…It was indulgent, it was hedonistic, there were so many dark sides to it, but I’ll take back this rule breaking, I’ll take back these long-haired kids who just didn’t care and were going to say I’ll quit my job so I can make something for myself.”

“It was really when I had a child that I realised I get a lot of my energy from kids. I find them hilarious, I find them more interesting than many adults I meet. That’s how I got into education.”

“Why is it that you’re an outlier school if you put the needs of the students and relationships with the students first? What is more important than our relationships with each other?”

“Anything that’s a living system — this can be organisations as well, of course — exists because of the networks in which they are. There’s a certain kind of weird boundary between it and the world.”

“I do think education has to be values-driven: we layer a certain amount of values that allow us to create more conditions for life to thrive on the planet. Just like a living system grows and re-structures and re-organises.”

“It’s better to have no plan and a new vision, than a new plan with an old vision.”

“I’m a little bit nervous about words like ‘regeneration’, I’ve used it for a while but now that I see that if you type in ‘Coca Cola’ and ‘regeneration’ there’s a web page that comes up, I’m thinking there’s gonna be a whole bunch of teal-washing coming on.”

“Sustainability and regeneration are, let’s face it, issues for the global north.”

“You ask how we get policy-makers to change? Force universities and employers to require eco-literacies, just like you require math and reading and writing literacies. That would do a lot.”

This episode was recorded in June 2023

Interviewer: Richard Freeman for always possible

Editor: CJ Thorpe-Tracey for Lo Fi Arts


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