08/10/2018 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

Our Top 7 Favorite Education Podcasts

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We’re always happy to read books and articles on education. But in the growing world of informative podcasts, we’re starting to come across some excellent podcasts on education. Many of them reach across the spectrum of public and private schools, nationally and internationally, offering insights into the life and work of educators today — from what we teach to how we teach to how we grow and learn in the profession.

Here are a few of our favorites — some with direct connection to independent schools:

Welcome to the Teachers Lounge

Started by an independent school educator, Jon Lemay, an English teacher at The Pennington School in New Jersey, this podcast offers a wide-ranging and open conversation on the professional lives of teachers. Lemay arranges these podcasts so they feel as if we are, in fact, sitting around the teachers’ lounge talking shop. But Lemay manages to keep the conversation focused on what his interviewees love most about their work. Among the educators Lemay interviews are a number of independent school educators, including J.B. Bouton, an English teacher at Proctor Academy, NH; Russell Weatherspoon, a religion teacher at Phillips Exeter Academy, NH; John Barton, an Architecture Professor and Resident Fellow at Stanford University; Mike Laramie, a special education teacher at a Charter School in Arizona; and a young boarding school teacher identified only as Randy.

The Cult of Pedagogy

The Cult of Pedagogy was founded by educator Jennifer Gonzalez, who made the shift to overseeing the website and podcast after years of experience in the classroom. We like how the podcast unflinchingly takes on challenging classroom issues, such as how to teach about slavery in the U.S., being a culturally responsive teacher, and supporting LGBTQ students. Gonzales also addresses a range of important issues such as accuracy in grading, the value of Makerspaces, and teaching narrative writing. We particularly like the episode on how teachers can improve their own resilience so they can grow as educators and people. Warning: this podcast is supported by a number of corporate sponsors, including Microsoft — which means you’ll get promotions for Microsoft and other ed-tech products. But these can be ignored.

Teaching While White

This podcast is part of Teaching While White’s website, which is designed to help white educators develop the cultural competencies to serve all students well across the racial spectrum. The podcast and website were founded by two long-time independent school diversity practitioners, Jenna Chandler-Ward and Elizabeth Denevi. With the professional help Kate Ellis, an award-winning public radio and podcast producer, Chandler-Ward and Denevi have engaged in open and valuable conversation with educators and experts on numerous race-related topics. To date, they have examined the cost of racial isolation in schools, interviewed Peggy McIntosh and Debbie Irving on white identity and privilege, examined the myth of the model minority, and discussed with teachers the question of continuing to include “To Kill a Mockingbird” in the curriculum.

Moving at the Speed of Creativity

This education-focused podcast is the creative brainchild of Wesley A. Fryer, director of technology at the Casady School, an independent school in Oklahoma City. The focus is on the forever-unfolding topic of how to best use technology in the classroom. Topics include instructional coaching, coding in elementary schools, inspiring creativity with media, strategies for integrating the iPad into the curriculum, and more. All of the focus boils down to technology for thoughtful, intentional learning.

TED Talks Daily

While the TED Talks are not specifically aimed at educators, most of them seem to connect with the world of teaching and learning. The goal of TED Talks is to present thought-provoking ideas on every subject imaginable. Some of the podcasts we’ve enjoyed lately included the power of emotional courage; the revolutionary power of diverse thoughts; the brain-changing benefits of exercise; post-crisis advice from a Parkland, Florida, teacher in the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School; and four billion years of evolution in six minutes. As the latter topic makes clear, many of these talk are summaries of research. So we often find ourselves heading to the sources for more detail. But isn’t it nice to learn that we evolved, not from monkeys, but from fish?

Equally enjoyable is TED Work Life podcast, created by University of Pennsylvania psychologist and writer Adam Grant. His goal is to make our time working worth the time.

Teaching Hard History

Hosted on Teaching Tolerance, the education arm of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Teaching Hard History is led by Hassan Kwami Jeffries, a history professor at Ohio State University. The podcast takes an unflinching look at how we teach the “hard” subject of slavery in America — and it’s ongoing effects. Topics include slavery and the Civil War, slavery and the northern economy, and what we mean by political and cultural resistance. The podcast is designed, in part, to support the Teaching Hard History curriculum, also available thorough Teaching Tolerance.

VoicEd Radio

VoicEd Radio is a young collective of educators writing and speaking on just about any imaginable education topic. One of the newest podcasts is Third Space, a conversation on diversity and equity in education led by former independent school diversity practitioner Jen Cort. In her early episodes, she interviews keys figures in diversity in independent schools. Another podcast in the VoicEd collective is “A Word in Progress,” in which educator Derek Rhodenizer examines in detail the terms (jargon?) we use in education — words like collaboration, relationship, collegiality, and grit. VoicEd is based in Canada — so many of the conversations focus on issues in Canadian education, which of course are pretty much the same as issues in education everywhere.

Do you have any favorite podcasts to add to this list? Share them in the comments below so we can listen, review, and share them in a later post!

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