My 3 favourite podcasts on university teaching

Thanks to Corona and my minimum of 10k steps a day, I now have a good hour every day that I increasingly often use not to quietly ponder my surroundings or catch up with friends in a phone call, but listen to podcasts. I am very selective about what I want to listen to, but here are three that I can highly recommend to anyone who is interested in university teaching, and that I feel have really given me food for thought and had a positive influence on my teaching practice. Enjoy!

Teaching in higher ed

Teaching in higher ed” was the first podcast I started listening to regularly. And it’s also one that is getting kind of expensive because I keep ordering the books recommended on there (like “invisible learning” that I wrote about earlier, where the interview with the author was great and the book even better). Not that I regret buying any of the books, though!

The first episode I ever listened to (on “becoming a minority“) blew me away because it exposed me to a way of thinking about minorities and experiences connected to being in the majority vs the minority that was completely new to me, especially by seeing it through the eyes of someone who grew up in the majority, then moved, and then “became” a minority, so knows both sides of the coin.

The next episode (on “teaching effectively with zoom“) then provided me with great ideas right when I needed them, and the rest is history. I love how different the different episodes are, I usually feel like I have been exposed to completely new ways of thinking. I take so many actionable ideas and tricks away from it that I don’t want to imagine what my online teaching would look like without the input from this podcast!

The professor is in

The professor is in” is a fairly new find that Steph recommended on Twitter and that I have since been binge-listening. A recurring theme there is that they have a really different view on “passion” as a driving force than I had up to that point. I was socialized in a culture where being passionate is something commendable. You should follow you passion and choose your career accordingly. Passion is what gets you out of bed in the mornings and makes you excited to run to work every day, week days and weekends. Passion is something that I have felt, and looked for and encouraged in my students. But this podcast really gave me something to think about. Because if passion is the ultimate driver, it can overshadow other important considerations. If you work because you are so passionate, it is easy to exploit you. Because how can you possibly care about wages or working hours if you are working on something you are passionate about? Which of course you are, because not being passionate is pretty much the worst that someone can be. But if passion is the driving force and if you are only passionate enough, you will surely succeed, that also makes failure an individual failure rather than maybe an issue within the system or just a case of wrong time wrong place. It builds up the illusion that passion is all you should ever want or need. And apparently it plays a big role in hiring processes and counts very much just to claim to “be passionate”! It gives you the competitive edge and people are excitedly looking forward to working with you (but they do not give you a higher salary). Many of the recent episodes focus or at least touch on this topic (and I haven’t gotten very far back yet to say anything about the older episodes), but definitely check out this podcast if these ideas are intriguing to you!

Tea for teaching

I haven’t listened to “Tea for teaching” as regularly as to the other two, but I think that’s mainly because the lengths of the episodes don’t fit as well with the walking routine as for the other two podcasts. My first episode there (and the one that made me subscribe) was on “gender and groups“, a conversation about a recent study that showed that in a setting where women are the minority when planning small group work, spreading them out over as many groups as possible is actually doing them a disservice. For the women, it is better to be the majority in the groups they are in (and then just not represented at all in others). Interestingly, being in the majority is good for the women, being in the minority doesn’t have a harmful effect on the men, so there seems to be no downside to just implement this going forward!

And then today, I listened to an episode on “engaging students“, where students were included in a project to figure out how they actually like being engaged in class, and asked for the advice they would give their teachers. While there wasn’t a big newsflash happening for me, it was still very interesting to be reminded of how important it is to learn student names (or even just call them by their name that you read off of zoom or a name tent — it’s the intent that matters), and similar small-ish hacks.

So there you have them — my three favourite podcasts on university teaching! Any other related podcasts that you would recommend?

One thought on “My 3 favourite podcasts on university teaching

  1. Renea Brathwaite

    I was the guest on Bonni’s podcast about becoming a minority. Thank you for your meaningful words. I’d love to connect professionally, if you’re amenable. My email is [redacted]. Best regards. – Renea


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