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The Teaching Space Podcast

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Oct 18, 2018

Episode 34 of The Teaching Space Podcast explores how audiobooks and podcasts can be helpful and perhaps are essential in CPD. 

Here are the show notes for this episode.


I’ve been listening to podcasts and audiobooks since before they were mainstream.

Podcasts came first. I produced my first podcast almost 10 years ago, so I’d been listening to podcasts for a few years before that.

My first podcast listening experience was an amazing knitting podcast called Electric Sheep. Sadly, she is no longer podcasting. But the fact that I could listen to someone talking about knitting, and knit was amazing to me. The division of my attention was so much better than, say, watching TV and knitting. 

I always loved the convenience of audio podcasts and that convinced me to try audiobooks. 

A Word on Multi-Tasking

If you’ve been listening to the show for a while you’ll know my position on multi-tasking. There’s no such thing! It’s called task switching. You will get more done if you focus on doing just one thing. But…

There are exceptions to the rule. The exceptions are when one activity involves very little thought. So, for example, walking and talking (you’ve been walking for years and it is a natural process for you which requires little thought). You can therefore focus on your talking.

Apply this to listening to audiobooks - if you combine the practice with something mindless e.g. going for a walk or doing housework, you can, in most cases, multi-task.

CPD in Your Own Time 

Because you are listening to this podcast, I will assume you are happy to do CPD in your own time.

It’s my belief that teachers should manage their own CPD because (most of the time) they know what their needs are. However, this has to be in complete partnership with their employer. Partnership is key.

The CPD I focus on in my time concerns productivity and pedagogy - by changing things up in the classroom my learners and I both enjoy things more and it improves outcomes.

How to Listen to Audiobooks

My favourite way is through Audible. I have an Audible membership and it’s convenient. I’ve been a member since 2011. I have an app on my phone. The app has a sleep timer which is handy. They have a no quibble return policy. 

Try your local library - you might be able to borrow audiobooks for free.

Audiobook recommendations (Amazon links provided):

  • Why Don't Students Like School? by Daniel T Willingham
  • How to Break Up with Your Phone by Catherine Price
  • What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam
  • 168 Hours, You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
  • How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K White

How to Listen to Podcasts

Because you are currently listening to a podcast I hope that you know what a podcast is and how to listen to one. 

What you might not know is that there are alternative apps to the native one on your mobile device. Personally I like Overcast. You can add audio to it. It has a sleep timer, and the interface is intuitive.

Podcast recommendations: 

  • The Cult of Pedagogy
  • Self Care for Teachers
  • Truth for Teachers

Managing Input

The convenience of podcasts and audiobooks is incredible. There are minimal downsides. The only one I can think of is the possibility of getting overwhelmed with all the content you are consuming. You can overdo it!

Here’s how I suggest you avoid getting overwhelmed:

  • Be mindful. Take breaks. Have quiet time.
  • Use your e-reader or a physical book sometimes.
  • Don’t forget fiction!

Wrap Up

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