Penny Rabiger takes over our ‘blogs of the week’ slot once every half-term to point to the best of the education podcasts
In this podcast, brilliant women reveal the secrets of brilliant speaking. Viv Groskop meets a wide range of women who use their voices in their work and who each have different ideas of how to make yourself heard and be true to who you are – particularly useful for teachers. My favourite episode so far was with tech entrepreneur and inclusion campaigner Abadesi Osunsade. You’ll need to persevere past the clumsy opening by Groskop’s “have I pronounced your name correctly?” and “we haven’t had someone quite like you on the show before…” to hear Osunsade talking about diversity, confidence tricks, the power of your personal story, and why you must never believe that the problem is you.
At their worst, values are used as an empty buzzword in schools. And yet, when made genuinely central to school life, they can be hugely impactful for staff, students and the local community. This podcast series is specifically focused on values, and the episode that brought me to it features Bukky Yusuf, who you may already know as a science and edtech leader, consultant, Leadership Matters ambassador and keen member of the BAMEed Network and WomenEd. Here, Yusuf’s energy and enquiring mind really come across as she helpfully unpacks and explores values in practice in school leadership.
Anyone who knows me, knows I am a people-collector. I have an obsession with human stories, and this Radio 4 podcast is just brilliant for getting an extraordinary glimpse into ordinary people’s lives – many of whom you might never get a chance to meet in real life. The series has a breathtaking range of subjects that might interest fellow educators, including a 33-year-old woman learning to ride a bike and a game designer with autism, and many, many more besides. The one I’ve chosen for you is about Kent sixth former Anoushka, entitled ‘Should I study at Cambridge?’ This follows a young black woman who describes herself as being used to being “the only one” in a predominantly white school system locally, and who decides to explore Cambridge university as an option for her. It’s an interesting insight into one young person’s experience, thought processes and journey of discovery, which should be informative for any teacher encouraging their students to aim high.
This podcast is produced by the Australian government, and the episode I have selected is called In conversation with Viviane and Pasi. It features Viviane Robinson, a leading professor from the University of Auckland who is passionate about developing student-centred leaders, and Pasi Sahlberg, who is famous for his book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland, which explored how the country’s shunning of school competition, school choice and external testing led to it being considered one of the greatest education systems in the world. It turns out that the issues we face seem to be similar around the world, but the ways in which they are dealt with differ. Taking note of the global context in which we operate, this podcast is an excellent way to stimulate some critical awareness of policies and practices in this country and should lead any teacher or school leader in England to ask some probing questions about our schools and school system.
Finally, to honour the recent sad passing of PiXL founder and director Sir John Rowling, it seems only fitting to signpost this podcast, where for the past year or so he has been sharing his leadership pearls. Sir John draws on his 50-plus years’ experience in education to explore different elements of what it is to be a leader and how we might become even better at it. The episode I have chosen is about leadership meetings. As the proud owner of a pair of “I Hate This Meeting” socks, this one was of particular interest to me.