Amy and Jon talk with educational innovators about creating ethical learning environments, helping students overcome the effects of trauma, and empowering young people to make change. Tune in weekly.
Early childhood classes: Crucial (and endangered) developmental support
We talk with Lesley Koplow of the Center for Emotionally Responsive Practice at Bank Street College and Allison Demas, an instructional coordinator in the NYC Dept. of Education about the recent struggle in NYC to save social worker and IC positions and why these roles are so important for children's emotional and academic development.
Reimagining the school system: Centering children, families, and teachers
Guest interviewer Lev Moscow joins Jon in conversation with Santiago Taveras, principal of Charter High School for Computer Engineering and Innovation and former deputy chancellor of the NYC Department of Education. Santi talks about false assumptions that school systems make about teachers, students, and parents. He discusses why so much professional development wastes teachers' time, why college for all is a misguided target, and why so much DOE money gets misspent.
Technology: What’s hype and what helps
We speak with Dr. Justin Reich, director of the MIT Teaching Systems Lab, and host of the TeachLab podcast, about education technology. Hailed by some as the great equalizer, the beneficiaries of ed tech tend to be white and affluent. Focused on equity by design, Dr. Reich observes that when teachers learn, they have insufficient opportunities to practice. So he and his colleagues are creating digital clinical simulations, practice spaces for teachers. They’re also helping educators to figure out what they can stop doing, to allow more time for what's useful.
Going public: Education scholars as policy advocates
We speak with Dr. Kevin Kumashiro, a founder of Education Deans for Justice and Equity and organizer of the International Conferences on Education and Justice. Dr. Kushimaro describes how education scholars across the country are forming professional communities, both to build their capacity and to speak collectively on issues of public policy, leveraging their research to promote justice and equity. He argues that progressives must cease ceding the framework of education policy to corporate forces.
Looping: It’s all about the relationships
We speak with Dr. Leigh Wedenoja of the Rockefeller Institute of Government about the benefits to students of having a teacher for more than one year. Test scores improve, behavior problems subside, absenteeism decreases. Very few schools have intentional looping policies, but many students have a teacher more than once, especially in middle and high school.
Descriptive inquiry: Teachers talking about hard subjects
We speak with Dr. Cecelia Traugh and Dr. Cara Furman, co-authors of “Descriptive Inquiry in Teacher Practice: Cultivating Practical Wisdom to Create Democratic Schools.” Descriptive inquiry is a structured, collaborative process in which teachers share and get practical feedback on classroom challenges. Breaking down teachers' isolation, descriptive inquiry encourages non-confrontational conversations about racial and other biases. Teachers benefit not only from the wisdom of their colleagues but also from the safe space and supportive community.
I don’t usually like listening to interview heavy podcasts, but Amy and Jon seem to ask the right questions and invite such interesting guests, that basically each episode contain very compelling stories and information without much back and forth.
Great resource for new teachers!
As a new teacher looking for all the practical wisdom I can find, I’ve come to consider Ethical Schools a great resource. At the same time, the podcast is one of the few accesible platforms for people outside of the research and policy world to engage with a diversity of big ideas and issues related to education. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness with which Amy and Jon approach each episode and the consistent high quality of the quests they invite on to the show.