Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Jon Madian?

Jon is a psychologist, writer-in-residence, and children's book author whose work focuses on human development through education. Jon believes the relevance, utility and beauty of ideas shared in meaningful social interactions are keys to inspiring learning. He believes curriculum should continuously improve to meet our growing understanding of students' diverse, evolving needs.

Who is Karen Jostad?

Karen’s curriculum development career is built on process-based learning in science and language arts. She believes learning should be built on observation, discovery, inspiration, beauty, and social interaction. Too much rote learning insults the intelligence of students and teachers.

How does HBL view assessment?

Assessment by tests inhibits growth by creating fear that discourages curiosity, exploration and discovery. Tests inhibit character development, while self-assessment develops executive function, motivates reflection and a growth or learning mindset.

Why Is HBL So Focused On Literature?

Literature is one of our most inspiring ways to transmit ideas. When well written, literature scaffolds knowledge, it cognitively and affectively stimulates engagement and inspires student exploration, discovery and expression.

Why Is HBL So Focused On Self-Expression?

To be truly educated is to have choice and voice. Memorization without reflection is indoctrination, not education. No one is educated until they can be true to themselves and discover the most meaningful choices within a given context through exploration.

What Makes HBL Lessons So Engaging?

Engagement begins with impactful feelings and thoughts stimulated by novelty, beauty and opportunities to belong and solve relevant problems.

How Does HBL View The Educator’s Task?

The educator’s task is to decide which ideas, skills and projects are most relevant to students and create processes that stimulate interest, exploration and knowledge retention while developing character traits. 

Why Should We View Traditional Curriculums Critically?

Too often traditional curriculums lack meaningful ideas. Textbooks and worksheets elicit yawns. The beauty or relevance of knowledge taught for tests rarely rises to concepts worthy of our attention.

What's The Best Way To Teach SEL?

Social Emotional Learning begins with a culture of true caring. SEL means we treat others as ends in themselves, not as means to our ends. Eye and heart contact are the mediums of SEL’s message!

Stories can play a role in SEL because we are wired to enjoy and learn from stories. For that reason, beyond recommending great, emotionally honest literature, we offer a library of SEL fables.

What Makes HBL Unique

In today’s teach-memorize-test approach, our work is unique because it aligns human development with instructional design and continuous improvement. All HBL’s resources integrate observation, reflection and expression. There is no focus on memorization. Instead, we encourage learner-centered problem-solving, service and idea-centered explorations.