Podcasts are the new(ish) way of learning. In fact, I'd go so far to say some of them can be life changing. Not only do they support the teaching of a critical skill, listening, they help students grow, develop, think and learn more about themselves. Below are 5 of the best podcasts I think all students should listen to. Even better: teachers and schools can turn them into lessons. I highly recommend you keep pen and paper handy whilst listening - you'll most definitely want to take notes.
1. The Diary of a CEO: Steven Bartlett and Matthew Syed
In all honesty, I recommend every single episode of this podcast. Steven Bartlett's podcast is so much more than entrepreneurship. In fact, although a great podcast name, I think it underestimates just how rich and valuable every podcast is - they're not just podcasts, they offer challenging lessons, discussions, perspectives and can support students as they learn how to master the art of diverse conversation. One particular episode I recommend to all students is his episode with author, Matthew Syed: How to Reach Your Full Potential. Matthew Syed has written some of the most life-changing books from Black Box Thinking to Rebel Ideas - all encouraging diverse thinking and the all encompassing 'athlete mindset'.
Whilst listening to this episode, make as many notes as possible and afterwards, perhaps think about:
what are the different facets and skills we continue to practice in order to develop a growth mindset?
Where are the opportunities for diverse thinking on an everyday basis?
What questions do you have about success after listening to the podcast?
2. A Bit of Optimism: Simon Sinek and Angela Duckworth
I can honestly say, Angela Duckworth and Simon Sinek have had a profound impact no my personal, professional and life in general. I need to dedicate an entire blog and podcast to both of these life-changing leaders...coming soon!
When I finished reading Grit by Angela Duckworth in 2017, I felt so much joy and belonging. If you were to read one book and one book only, I would say it has to be Grit. That's a bold statement, I know, and I'll probably say similar statements about several books, but seriously, read Grit. It confirmed, changed and seriously enriched my whole sense of self, my work, my parenting...my life.
Anyway, as sycophantic as this all sounds, Raising Resilient Kids with Angela Duckworth will be an episode every student wants their parents and teachers (and government) to listen to. In this concise conversation, every word and thought Sinek and Duckworth discuss will make a positive impact on the way students look at learning, the future and perspective.
Again, make as many notes as possible and think about the following questions:
What makes up resilience?
How do Duckworth and Sinek challenge your thoughts on resilience?
How do you define 'struggle' after listening to the podcast? Has it affected your mindset when it comes to 'work'?
3. No Stupid Questions: Angela Duckworth and Stephen Dubner
It's difficult to recommend any particular episode of this fantastic podcast, brought to you by Angela Duckworth and co-author of the best-selling Freakanomics series, Stephen Dubner. This podcast is your virtual school - it is everything school should be (!), or the lessons you need and want when at sch
ool, college or university. Every episode, lasting no more than 30-40 minutes. Duckworth and Dubner answer a range of questions we all have, never know to ask, never really discuss, or know how to address. Every student (teacher and parent) will learn a valuable set of lessons; the range of topics are so varied and diverse, I don't even know where to begin summarising.
Choose an episode or two, take as many notes as you can; have a think of questions you'd like to discuss with friends, peers and your teachers...and start your own range of discussions! Better yet, email School Should Be and we can talk about them on the School Should Be Podcast! (Silent Plug...!)
4. The School Should Be Podcast: Zahara Chowdhury and Simranjeet Kaur Mann
Of course, I have to take a deep breath and recommend The School Should Be Podcast! Nothing gives m
tudents, professionals and individuals about all the things school should be. This podcast is particularly relevant to the secondary school dynamic in the UK, which can most likely be applied globally too. It aims to cover a range of topics and perspectives relevant to the secondary school setting including politics, sustainability, diverse thinking, anti racism, the athlete mindset and so much more.
In the episode, How Can Social Media be used as a positive, complementary force by students and teachers, I speak to YouTuber, blogger and trainee solicitor, Simranjeet Kaur Mann. An extremely hard working, authentic, funny and intelligent young professional (once an ex-student!), Simran talks to me about how she has navigated an extremely healthy professional and personal relationship with social media in a world where it is considered to be extremely toxic for young people.
I hope you enjoy and learn all about navigating the world of socials from this organic, fun and valuable episode. Feel free to browse the others where you'll find some brilliant discussions with a range of students and professionals. Even better - email me if you'd like to be on the podcast or would like to recommend a topic for the pod!
I know how overwhelming lists can be, so for now, these episodes and podcasts are my recommendations for every student and classroom (maybe try one a week for a month?). They will genuinely have a positive impact on your thinking, learning and listening skills. Each one has made such a difference to my professional and personal life and I KNOW you will benefit too!
Let me know what you think and email School Should Be if you'd like to share your own recommendations - podcasts, blogs, books and media...all is welcome!