30 episodes

An Irish perspective on news and stories from the world of education

Inside Education - a podcast for educators interested in teaching Sean Delaney

    • Education
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An Irish perspective on news and stories from the world of education

    Inside Education 426, Mark Windschitl on Teaching the Science of Climate Change (12-12-22)

    Inside Education 426, Mark Windschitl on Teaching the Science of Climate Change (12-12-22)

    Presented and produced by Seán Delaney
    On this podcast I spoke to Professor Mark Windschitl from the University of Washington about teaching science and especially the science of climate change. As usual with these podcasts we covered a wide range of topics, including the following:
    What core practices are in teacher education (e.g. teachers need to elicit ideas students already have about the topic being taught).
    Why, although important, there is much more to teaching than core practices, such as developing respectful and trusting relationships with students.
    As teachers gain experience, they add nuance and flexibility to the core practices.
    What ambitious science teaching is: willingness to constantly improve one’s practice, to take risks to improve their practice and to base changes on students’ response to their teaching.
    The need for a teacher pursuing ambitious science teaching to understand topics (e.g. the greenhouse effect) in great depth, with flexibility, and connected to children’s everyday lives.
    The biggest ideas in biology that can be taught in a second-level school setting (e.g. how ecosystems function in the world).
    Trees extend their roots out to other trees and can cause chemical changes in other trees.
    Selecting candidates for teaching science and engaging in ambitious science teaching
    How the impact of testing in schools shapes the curriculum.
    The importance of academically productive discourse in the classroom about science ideas. Productive talk in a classroom is a process of sense-making and meaning making.
    The need for teachers to have models of ambitious science teaching that is relevant to the setting in which they teach.
    How to teach children the science of climate change without elevating eco-anxiety.
    Why solutions need to be threaded into the teaching of climate change
    The importance of understanding the greenhouse effect and why understanding that is not enough (the need to know about ecosystems, the oceans, the cryosphere – the frozen parts of the earth, and tipping points)
    The scale of climate change phenomena
    The idea of “carbon footprint” was introduced by a petroleum company (BP)
    What schools can do to mitigate the effects of climate change (e.g. making Prom night – the Debs – greener)
    Plastics pollution is different to climate change but both are connected in many students’ minds
    Students being exposed to sceptical points of view in some areas. Although such perspectives need to be managed carefully, sceptical views might not be as big a problem as we would expect. It may help to focus on the science of the greenhouse effect.
    The challenge of beef production as part of the climate change discussion
    The difficulty of conveying the scale of climate change
    Finding and evaluating climate change data – the challenge of media literacy. Among the known reputable outlets he identifies are: NASA, NOAA, WHO, and the UN.
    The importance of having a reason when sharing data about climate change.
    Assessing students’ knowledge of climate change
    How he became interested in education research
    How he conducts his research to find out how novice teachers become “well-started beginners”
    Helping novice teachers use agency to move beyond reproducing someone else’s teaching
    How he finds time to write – bringing a notebook with him when going out for a stroll and doing 14 versions of an article before it’s ready for publication
    Who research in education is for and how does it influence practice in education? Is it through instructional coaches? School leaders?
    Having children do well-structured work in small groups (that is equitable and rigorous) in class, at least part of the time, is hugely beneficial for their learning.
    Productive academic discourse in science is difficult to find in classrooms in the Unites States.
    Another research question is why technology failed to deliver for education during COVID
    Why schools and the communities around them should have porous boundarie

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Inside Education 425, Social Emotional Learning with Sara Rimm-Kaufman (5-6-22)

    Inside Education 425, Social Emotional Learning with Sara Rimm-Kaufman (5-6-22)

    Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.
    On this podcast I discussed social and emotional learning with Professor Sara Rimm-Kaufman from the University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development.
    Among the topics discussed were:
    What social and emotional learning is
    The implicit and explicit process of learning social and emotional skills
    How children can learn empathy
    Her book for teachers: SEL from the Start
    From listening to respectful communication to respecting others’ perspectives
    Where social emotional learning fits in the regular school curriculum
    What service learning is and examples of it in practice
    Three possible categories of service learning solutions: Educate others, change a policy or take direct action.
    The relationship between service learning and project-based learning
    How Sara Rimm-Kaufman and her colleagues (including Tracy Harkins and Eileen Merritt) developed Connect Science, a scheme that uses the service learning approach to combine social emotional learning and academic content
    Applying service learning in different curriculum subject areas
    The notion of “fidelity of implementation” in education research (and an “intent to treat” analysis)
    The theme that characterises her research interests: the centrality of social emotional learning (e.g. for racial equity) and the widespread practices in school that have never been studied but would benefit from research into their effectiveness or lack of effectiveness
    The source of her research interests
    Her early research on primates and working with Professor Jerry Kagan to subsequently working in schools with children in first grade.
    Why she likes conducting research in schools, despite the challenges such research brings
    Relational trust – what it is and why it is important among the adults in a school
    Who has responsibility for building relational trust among the adult community in a school?
    Building relational trust with and among children in a school
    The relation between a teacher’s beliefs and their practice – a bidirectional process.
    She loves the work of Dan Willingham, a former guest on this podcast.

    • 46 min
    Inside Education 424, Art Baroody on Early Mathematics Learning (16-3-22)

    Inside Education 424, Art Baroody on Early Mathematics Learning (16-3-22)

    Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.
    In this episode I speak to Professor Art Baroody from the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign about matters related to counting and early mathematical development. Professor Baroody shares insights from his extensive research in children's early mathematical learning with anecdotes from his life and work. Among the topics we discuss are:
    The word “count” is ambiguous; he prefers the terms verbal counting and object counting. Along with subitising, these are foundational for children’s sense of number.
    The rote portion of numbers (up to 12 in English) and the rule-governed portion of numbers (13 onwards in English)
    Being able to meaningfully count objects means understanding the cardinality principle
    How a teacher can assess a child’s competence in object counting. The “hidden stars” game.
    The importance of subitising (easily recognising, without counting, the number in a set). If a child can subitise small sets of objects and connect it to their verbal counting knowledge, the child can get insights into the structure of the count sequence and into our number system.
    The importance of children understanding the “increasing magnitude” principle of numbers.
    Subitising and learning addition and subtraction concepts
    The value of playing dice games.
    The successor principle: Each step in the counting sequence means you added one more.
    A child who starts out behind in kindergarten, typically gets further behind as school goes on, indicating the importance of informal mathematical knowledge for school readiness.
    Three components of a hypothetical learning trajectory: a goal, a learning progression, instructional activities that help children move from one level to the next.
    The relevance of a hypothetical learning trajectory for a teacher’s work: questions and instruction need to be developmentally appropriate for children.
    What number comes after 9? Whether you need to start at 1 or can answer this directly depends on your current level of understanding numbers.
    How schools typically target instruction at a level that is too low or too high for students.
    There are many published learning progressions and hypothetical learning trajectories available to teachers now, especially in number, arithmetic and counting development.
    A child’s mathematical power, routine expertise (learning something by rote – hard to apply it to a new problem and easy to forget) and adaptive expertise (learning something with understanding)
    Mathematical power comes from understanding, engaging in mathematical inquiry, to reason mathematically, to solve problems, having an interest in mathematics and using it. In short, conceptual understanding, mathematical thinking skills, and a positive disposition towards mathematics
    Example of applying knowledge to finding the area of a parallelogram
    Why memorising mathematics by rote is crazy.
    All children, even those with learning disabilities, can develop mathematical power up to lower secondary school level, if properly taught.
    Teaching mathematics by rote is cheating children.
    Things that can be discovered are the additive commutativity principle (3+5 = 5+3)
    Children are capable of much more than we give them credit for.
    Why getting children to learn off tables of number facts is cheating children. The importance of seeing patterns and relationships in the number tables – make it a thinking exercise and make mathematics learning fun.
    Working with his mentor Herb Ginsburg
    The use of manipulatives in teaching mathematics, even to college-level students.
    The value of children inventing procedures themselves.
    To understand fraction multiplication, the analogy of multiplication as repeated addition does not suffice. You need a more powerful analogy. A “groups of” analogy is more helpful. And it helps you understand why multiplication doesn’t always make something bigger.
    How to make sense of fraction division.
    How he

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Inside Education 423, Philosophy and the Practice of Teaching (21-11-2021)

    Inside Education 423, Philosophy and the Practice of Teaching (21-11-2021)

    Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.
    In this episode I speak to Professor David T. Hansen from Teachers' College, Columbia University about the philosophy of education and the practice of teaching. Among the topics we discuss are the following:
    What it means to see teaching as an art, as a political activity and as a moral endeavour.
    Direct lessons about morality/values/ethics versus the continuous enactment of moral values.
    What hand-raising and turn-taking reveals about classroom culture and establishing dialogue among students (teachers and their students coming closer and closer apart and further and further together).
    Teaching as a profession? Teaching as vocation, calling, practice, craft? The attraction of teaching for people who want to live a meaningful life.
    Reworking his original book, The Call to Teach in 2021 as Reimagining the Call to Teach in response to (a) Accountability movement in the United States, linked to No Child Left Behind; and (b) Having learned more about the practice of teaching.
    How the implementation of No Child Left Behind in the United States was tone-deaf to classroom life. Huge resources benefited private testing companies rather than professional development for teachers.
    A poetics of teaching: What poetics means (comes from Aristotle trying to figure out why drama on a stage has the kind of effects it has on the spectators long after the play has ended). In this article, Hansen tries to understand the impact of teaching.
    Recognising the poetics of teaching; teaching is a rhythmic practice where poetics can be found alongside its drudgery/frustration/failure.
    How we all fail regularly in teaching but we rarely discuss it.
    What he means when he says that anyone interviewing a teacher for a job wants to know if the teacher loves life.
    Finding meaningfulness in teaching
    Programmes for veteran teachers to rejuvenate, reinspire, renew and refresh themselves.
    One example of such a programme is a “descriptive review” of a child.
    The importance of working on craft with initial student candidates; more can be done on the art of teaching – draw out a sense of their own humanity, possibly through story, poetry, film or a painting.
    How teaching is saturated with “why” questions – invitations to philosophy.
    Philosophy as theory and as an art of living (wisdom tradition)
    Cosmopolitanism: being reflectively loyal and reflectively open
    Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke.
    Plato and John Dewey.

    • 57 min
    Inside Education 422, How Voice Recognition Software is Changing Teaching (30-10-21)

    Inside Education 422, How Voice Recognition Software is Changing Teaching (30-10-21)

    Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.
    Theme tune composed by David Vesey.
    On this episode of Inside Education, engineer Patricia Scanlon of Soapbox Labs discusses how improving how well software can recognise children's voices can support how teachers teach, assess and give feedback on reading and enhance equity in the classroom. Among the topics discussed are:
    How children’s voices differ to adult voices
    How voice recognition software has been found to be biased in favour of some populations over others
    How she became interested in applying speech recognition technology to education after watching her daughter experience the limits of educational software when she was learning to read and do mathematics
    Applying speech recognition technology to teaching reading – the software acts like a helpful adult who “listens” to and “assesses” the child’s reading.
    The software is used in dyslexia screeners, reading practice products, fluency assessment products, speech therapy.
    Use of the software at home and in classrooms
    The use of rapid naming as one of a suite of tasks in a screening tool that aims to predict dyslexia in pre-literate children, thus making earlier intervention possible
    The promise of voice recognition software for making school more inclusive for children of all abilities
    Applying the voice recognition software to languages other than English
    How practising reading can be formatively assessed using voice recognition software
    Feedback to encourage the student, to correct a child’s pronunciation of a sound, or to identify errors for the teacher
    Why Soapbox Labs’s niche is with children’s voice recognition software
    How they worked alongside teachers to develop the software
    Collecting data and looking at data privacy
    Future plans for developing the software

    • 43 min
    Inside Education 421, Cognitive Scientist Daniel T Willingham on Reading, Critical Thinking and More (16-10-21)

    Inside Education 421, Cognitive Scientist Daniel T Willingham on Reading, Critical Thinking and More (16-10-21)

    Presented and produced by Seán Delaney
    Theme tune composed by David Vesey
    On this week's podcast I speak to cognitive scientist, Professor Daniel T Willingham from the University of Virginia. We discuss learning to read, learning styles, multiple intelligences, education research and more. The full range of topics includes:
    Applying the science of learning in school and at home
    Paradigms of cognitive psychology (reasonable assumptions)
    How cognitive science replaced behaviourism
    How cognitive science might inform the teaching of different subjects across the curriculum
    The relationship between basic science and applied science for teachers
    Why an opportunity exists for teacher organisations to review science and provide periodic updates for teachers to critique ideas (such as say, grit).
    Initial teacher education should provide a grounding in the science of learning and subsequently teachers’ knowledge needs to be updated as the science evolves (and why the onus for such updating should not be on individual teachers)
    Among the few reliable publications for teachers he'd recommend are American Educator, and Phi Delta Kappan.
    Evaluating the relative importance of technical competence (decoding) and motivation in learning to read.
    The difference between reading a book and listening to an audio book (How prosody helps comprehension in audio books and how regressions help us in comprehending text) and why textbooks are different.
    Can audiobooks help a child who is having difficulties learning to decode?
    Criticism of the learning styles theory of the mind – there’s no scientific basis to pedagogies based on learning styles. Why style differs to memory and ability and the importance of meaning in learning. Learning styles may offer a different ways for a teacher to think about topics they’re going to teach.
    The construct of mental ability and multiple intelligences. Is intelligence one single construct or is it several independent constructs?
    Can critical thinking be taught? Can being a good critical thinker in one domain help you think critically in other domains? The importance of seeing the same underlying structure in various guises when practising critical thinking.
    How he evaluates the value or potential contribution of a research article in education.
    Contradictions in educational research – parallels with COVID-19 research. Why professional organisations need to tease out research implications for teachers.
    Why he reads very broadly in education.
    Daniel Willingham’s “2002-style” website. He’s on Facebook and Twitter @dtwillingham. His most recent books are Why don’t students like school (2nd out now) and Outsmart your brain (August 2022).

    • 1 hr 1 min

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