What I Do When I'm Preparing for a Podcast


The podcasts I produce focus on pedagogy and reflection of practice.  This involves a lot of reading, research, and thought ahead of the actual studio time.  I like to come into these conversations with some background knowledge.  Usually, I've had exposure to the topic I'm discussing ahead of reading the work, though not always.  The most recent finished podcast was the one I did with Dr. John Almarode, around his book Visible Learning for Science.  For that episode, I read the book cover to cover and wrote 4-5 pages of notes in my moleskine.  I find that doing this not only gives me a reference point for scanning my reading to revisit relevant sections, but it also cements the concepts in my mind, so that when the actual conversation occurs, I've internalized many of the ideas from the book.  If there is additional material online, say a podcast, an article, or blog that the guest has, I'll check it out as well.  Then, after I've had some time with the material, I'll formulate my questions.

For my upcoming podcast with Elena Aguilar, I've not only read her works, but I've implemented them as a coach.  And, with her new book, Onward, there's a bit of a shift from what my normal pedagogical awareness is around her work.  She is very prolific, running multiple blogs, and with the new book, she's been doing press via her own YouTube Channel, a new website, and by being featured on The Cult of Pedagogy.

Long story short, as I prepare to talk with Elena in a little over a week, I'm finding that I have an awful lot of material to work with.  Luckily, I am familiar with her prior work.  In fact, the very first episode I did of The Ed Narrative, is a book study of The Art of Coaching, and Episode 5 is about the companion piece, The Art of Coaching Teams.  So, I've been taking notes in my notebook, and I've been highlighting and pausing to think of implications of what I read.  The thing that's interesting with this book compared to her others is that it is directed toward teachers.  The other two are intended to be more for a coach or coach-leader, but this one reads more like a close partnership between coach and teacher.  True to her inclusivity, there are also notes for leaders who might want to engage with the work of collective resilience.

I can see several connections between her blogs and books to Onwardwhich is pretty cool to notice, as I'm hunkered down doing a deep read on the book.  I'd like to read through the companion workbook (I'm thinking the start of the next school year) that is referenced often during the read, but my deadline is tight with end-of-year responsibilities in my coaching position with Albemarle County Schools, and with what is shaping up to be two additional podcast episodes I'll be recording by the end of the month.

The book is intended to accompany a reader's year-long process, and the work begins (ideally) in June.  So, I'll be releasing this episode June 15th.  I'm about two-thirds of the way through, and so far, I'm really appreciative of the chapters on emotions and storytelling.  As far as the approach I generally take with the final product, I look at these podcasts as an opportunity to have a long-form discussion over an idea, a chance to dive deeper.  Providing a synopsis, or an overview of a book or concept is helpful when it comes to determining whether you want to buy, or read it, but my preference is to approach these podcasts from the perspective that people have read the book, or are reading the book, and they want to fine-tune their understanding.  I know I do.  I'm looking forward to it.  Catch you all on June 15th.