"Cult of Pedagogy" podcast review
The first pedagogical podcast I listened to was Cult of Pedagogy, hosted by Jennifer Gonzalez. It was recommended in passing during my first semester of credential school back in 2017. One episode in and I subscribed; I’ve been a faithful listener ever since. What Gonzalez accomplishes in her podcast that, at time of this publishing, is at 204 episodes. Gonzalez balances her longer episodes, which are comprised of interviews filled with research and anecdotes, with shorter episodes containing a quick tip or two for a common classroom practice. No matter if short or long-form, all of Gonzalez’s content helps enhance understanding of current topics and pedagogical practices for her listeners. Gonzalez’s friendly nature and easy-going conversational interview style makes this podcast a top recommendation from me. Below are three episodes I have found particularly helpful:
Episode 24-“Five Teaching Practices I’m Kicking to the Curb”
This episode was a shock to the newly-admitted credential program student. Why am I already hearing of practices to not embrace, adopt, or at least try out before I’ve learned all the techniques and tricks to use in my future classroom? It’s because Gonzalez has no fear in dropping practices that aren’t working for her. Her experiences aren’t mine, but they do come from Gonzalez’s career in being a educator who strives to improve the classroom. Gonzalez is the first to give stipulation to all practices she endorses and tosses aside, and this episode allowed me to not only sidestep some practices that weren’t ideal, but also have the realization that not everything taught to me needed to be adopted as concrete must-dos in my future classroom. This episode is universally applicable for K-12 educators in any content area, as are most of Gonzalez’s tips.
Episode 201-“How to Build Psychological Safety in Professional Development”
This episode had a two-fold benefit for me.
1) It allowed me to appreciate how safe I have felt in PD (professional development) sessions I have been part of since becoming a full-time teacher.
2) It gave me insight into how to detect if future PD sessions I’m involved in or (gasp!) leading aren’t creating a safe environment.
A few highlights to ensure your PD session is safe:
*Start the session knowing that people come in with different levels of knowledge, experience, and feelings from the day already. Jumping in with demands of ice breakers or deep discussion may be exactly what the doctor didn’t order, and can turn off your staff. But easing into it while keeping expectations and time intact may be more effective and beneficial.
*Activate norms, make them meaningful, and keep the group accountable. Like our students, adult educators want to know what needs to be done, how it’s going to be done, and that if that isn’t followed then there will be someone (the PD leader, of course) will ensure the group is called out if they’re drifting away or praised if the session is clipping along nicely.
So often I see our colleagues engage in the same behavior we lambast our students for. It seems to "not matter" because "we’re the adults and they’re the students." But adults should be modeling and engaging in the same behavior we expect from our students. How else will we be fair in our reaction to the student who may drift a bit or helps the class clip along? This episode was a great discussion between Gonzalez and guest Elena Aguilar.
The Tech Episodes
Every year, Gonzalez comes out with “Ed Tech Tools to Try” to keep you up-to-date on what’s available for use in your classroom. Often times these apps, sites, and equipment can be used across various subjects, and are free or inexpensive. Gonzalez dives deep into the practical applications, what subject(s) the tech is best suited for, and the logistical info, like pricing, availability, and any anecdotal experiences she can share. If you’re a tech-in-the-classroom enthusiast, these episodes will be of high value to you.
Supporting her podcast are accompanying blog posts, filled with links and other information to help you grow as an educator. Give Cult of Pedagogy a listen and carry on as a more-informed and prepared educator!