Interview with Bryan Goodwin, MENA Teacher Summit Keynote Speaker


As Clay P. Bedford once said, “You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.”

On the 7th and 8th of October 2016, Bryan Goodwin – a former teacher, educational author and the President and Chief Executive Officer at McREL International – was the keynote speaker at the MENA Teacher Summit organized by KDSL Global and the GCC ASCD Connected Community. Following his speech about improving student outcomes, I was fortunate enough to interview him about his research and findings.

As the author of ‘Simply Better: Doing What Matters Most to Change the Odds for Student Success,’ Bryan Goodwin had embarked on a challenging journey in order to deliver an inspiring book to readers. You may be questioning how Goodwin had written such a successful book. What had inspired him to write a book that could potentially change the future of education? The answer is that seven years ago when Goodwin was the Director of Communications at McREL International, they had engaged in several research studies to identify the principles of effective school systems and improve student outcomes. Seeking to see what the world wanted from a research and service organization like McREL International, the CEO delegated the effort to Goodwin. After countless conversations with staff members and educators, he explained that “the answer was (and still is) two-fold: deep down, we (and the people we work with) were driven by a desire to change the odds for success. It’s not enough that a few kids beat the odds, we should be changing those odds so all kids can be successful.”

When an individual has achieved success, he or she will strive to do more; consequently, Goodwin’s accomplishments “have slowly emerged over the course of writing several dozen monthly research columns for Educational Leadership and three books for ASCD.” Today, Goodwin’s “North Star is curiosity – namely, putting curiosity at the centre of what we’re doing with schools, creating a new generation of students who, by remaining curious about the world around them, will be able to think creatively and solve big challenges.”

During his speech, Goodwin shared with the audience an anecdote about how his daughter had made some classroom rules for herself. I was reflecting on what he had said, and wondering whether such behaviour could lead to better success in a student’s future. According to Goodwin, “Classroom rules work best when they are owned by students as shared agreements or norms for behaviour. This can create peer pressure for behaving well as kids are typically more motivated by peers than adults.” Conformity explains why children are motivated by their peers – children conform to a norm or a behaviour in order to be socially accepted into the favouring group.

To learn more about Bryan Goodwin follow him on Twitter @bryanrgoodwin. For more information about McRELvisit



Kimia Bayat
KDSL Global Intern
Twitter: @KDSL07
Facebook: KDSL Global