Curious about the new HundrED Head of Research? Crystal Green has been working remotely from California over the past few months but we are excited to welcome her to our Helsinki office early next year. Crystal has been working closely with our Education Specialist Clara Garcia Millan to develop the HundrED Research Process.
Tell us a little about yourself
Hi! I’m Crystal Green and I am the Head of Research at HundrED.
I came to Finland in 2010 with my husband as education pilgrims to study at the University of Jyväskylä. The experience was so impactful that we decided to immigrate to Finland and start our family in this cold, beautiful Nordic wonderland.
In this world of global mobility, my childhood was quite stationary. I was born and raised surrounded by cornfields in Terre Haute, Indiana, down the street from my great-grandparents' house and across the cornfield from where my Irish ancestors were buried. It was the same town where my parents were born and raised, and I attended the same high school they attended. By 15, I knew I wanted two things: a PhD and adventure. I studied history as an undergraduate in Minnesota and returned to Indiana to get my certification in teaching English. I taught English in Chile as a Fulbright scholar, in Japan on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme, and then returned to the US to earn my Masters of Education in International Education Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. After completing my doctorate at the University of Jyväskylä I did my postdoctoral research in the comparative education division of the Education department at the University of California Los Angeles. My research has been about teacher education in comparative contexts, with a focus on equity and teacher agency.
I enjoy winter, walking, and the quiet of snowfall. In my free time, I love singing and jam sessions with my family.
Why do you want to work at HundrED?
As soon as I heard about HundrED, I knew that it was an organization I wanted to be involved with. In 2020, I volunteered as a HundrED Ambassador and got to know the amazing global community that HundrED has built. As an Ambassador I also got a peek into the excellent working culture and global reach of HundrED as a dynamic and young organization. I share HundrED’s passion for education globally and a commitment to evidence-based innovation. HundrEDs’ commitment to facilitating ongoing research of what works on the ground contributes to the potential for developing global partnerships and reimagining the possibilities for teaching and learning.
As Head of Research, it is so exciting to get an in-depth look at what people are doing all over the world to help children thrive and to be part of an organization that is connecting innovators globally. Education changes when we exchange ideas - dialogue across contexts is how we learn about ourselves and one another. The innovators and young people I have engaged with at HundrED are brilliant and enthusiastic. Together, they are doing the work of rebuilding and innovating education from the ground up.
Why should we change our schools?
The primary reason we need to change schools is that they don’t currently serve the needs of all students. Education should help all children thrive, but in order to do this teachers need professional development, in addition to support from parents and policymakers. The connection needs to be strengthened between what students learn in school and what students need to know for working life, political participation and practical daily living. The educational response to the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that it is possible to pivot very quickly, but some systems were able to do more quickly and with better results.
Schools are a place for growth and change. Every year there are new students, new teachers and new things to learn. At the same time, the contexts of schools are changing - social needs change, resources change, technology changes and research improves our knowledge about learning. Amid this continual fluctuation from within and without, schools and education systems often find it difficult to adopt meaningful adaptations. However, the ability not only to craft a response to change but to make change happen is the great possibility of education.
Why is innovation in education crucial today?
Innovations are ideas that work. Implementation is key to turning great ideas into genuine improvements in education. Focusing on innovation in education highlights the need for curiosity, creativity, adaptation and scale as core components of educational change. An inquiry stance of curiosity is the germ of innovation. Innovation questions the current approaches, asking ‘Can we improve this? Is this working for everyone?’ Creativity means thinking about education in new ways in terms of purposes, process, contexts and outcomes. Adaptation implies practical implementation and iteration over time. Scale is the final piece of innovation because schools are institutional and systemic. Education should attend to the needs of each child as an individual and within their community. Innovation is the process that mediates the need for dynamic change between the individual and societal levels of education, allowing education to change at scale over time in order to make sure that every child can flourish.
Three HundrED innovations you love and why
- De-a Arhitectura- The space and environment shape our thinking and learning, so I really love the idea of a learning innovation that connects kids and architects.
- Roots of Empathy - Babies in classrooms! Intergenerational learning is beautiful.
- Slam Out Loud - I love the idea of having professional artists in classrooms for a 5-year program.