A MiddleWeb Blog
When school finished this year, I followed an unexpected desire to immerse myself in podcasts about civics education. A couple of dozen hours into listening, I think I’m done for the moment.
However, I was so heartened by the dialogue and reporting that I wanted to share four podcasts that you might want to try, each with its own spin.
A Podcast to Share with Your Students
Civics 101 bills itself as “a refresher course on the basics of how our democracy works.” It’s lively and interesting, and its website features lesson plans and graphic organizers, among many other resources provided by sponsor New Hampshire Public Radio.
Recent topics include Precedent and the Supreme Court, The Shadow Docket, Freedom of the Press and What is NATO? I learned so much to enhance my 8th grade civics and history classes. Also, the episodes are short enough, around 20 minutes, that you could share them with your students in class or give them for homework.
A Podcast to Remind Yourself What Civil Dialogue Sounds Like
This spring our school’s pedagogy book group read A Search for Common Ground: Conversations About the Toughest Questions in K-12 Education by Rick Hess, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Pedro Noguera, Dean of the USC Rossier School of Education. The companion Common Ground podcast features the polite but probing back-and-forth between the authors that made the book compelling.
A Podcast to Convince People That History Matters
In just six episodes of about 45 minutes each, Reframing History summarizes a report on history education commissioned by the American Association for State and Local History. Topics include The Case of the Misunderstood Historical Method and Making Progress Toward Justice (with Teaching Hard History host Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries as a guest).
The episodes focus quite a bit on place-based history, particularly at museums and historic sites. Listening to public historians discuss making history relevant to a wide audience was fascinating and obviously applied to the classroom too.
Two of the research-based communication tips from the report’s succinct toolkit include “Explain the process of historical inquiry and interpretation using the metaphor of detective work” and “Make the case that history is essential for us to make progress as a country.”
A Podcast to Root Educational Systems in Democratic Ideals
Education for Sustainable Democracy “explores how we can prepare the next generation for informed civic engagement, environmental stewardship, and the development of a more just and peaceful world.”
To accomplish this, researcher and professor Brett Levy often investigates educational systems that are working to further democracy, such as Building a Movement for Civic Education, about DemocracyReady NY, Helping Youth Become Critical News Consumers, with the News Literacy Project, and Democracy Prep: A Charter School Focused on Civic Learning.
The episodes feel like a real conversation, and I found myself thinking of ideas for my own classes while tuning in.
Want to Listen?
Actually, after writing this piece and browsing titles of additional episodes, I don’t think I’m done listening after all. I hope you find a spark in one or more of these worthwhile projects – and, if you come across other excellent civics education podcasts, please list them in the comments!