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Hello, and welcome to “Ed infinitum,” the podcast where you can find out everything you’ve always wanted to know about the world of education, but were afraid to ask your teacher — or maybe you are the teacher, but ed-school never taught you these things. Maybe you’re a parent wondering what the heck is going on at your child’s school, how to navigate the college process, or you’re thinking of going back to school for a career change.
Whatever your reasons, this is a show where you can learn something that you might not have known before, about this common experience that nearly all of us share – school – full of all these institutions and absurdities, and promise and potential – and we’re all so busy just trying to survive it, we often don’t or can’t take the time to try and understand why and how it works the way it does, and why and how it might change to become better.
My name is David Nurenberg – as a professor of education, my job is to both study schooling, and to help train the next generation of public school teachers. I’ve spent 20 years as a high school English teacher myself, so I also have plenty of direct experience to bring to bear on this podcast.
The scope of this podcast is pretty broad – some episodes we’ll be talking about the history of how certain institutions in schools came to be, or profiling influential thinkers like John Dewey or Maria Montessori. Other episodes will deal with the nuts and bolts of the teaching practice – e.g., what makes a good lesson plan, how do effective teachers manage behavior issues in their classrooms, etc. Sometimes we’ll be taking on topics like the achievement gap or the debate about charter schools, and other times we might be looking at the neurology behind certain theories of learning. Although most of our episodes will concern public education in the United States, sometimes we might dip our toes into the world of independent schools, homeschooling, or even comparative education in countries around the world.
In short, there’s something for everyone – and I’ll do my best to keep the “edspeak” to a minimum -,frankly, even us academics can find the jargon a little absurd and unwieldy. I mean, there are only so many times you can say “Zone of Proximal Development” with a straight face.
I hope you enjoy listening to this podcast, and if you really enjoy it, please consider making a donation to keep it running. Otherwise, in the grand tradition of underfunded public schools, we’ll be reliant on only what we can make from bake sales.
If you want to suggest a topic, please do feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!