A common phrase and something that has manifested into an inside joke amongst a few of my friends is I heard that on a podcast once, with a close second being I read an article in The Economist that talked about that. I know, we’re complete eggheads. Anyway, Podcasts provide an easy listening opportunity to catch up on some really fascinating topics and can help you get more informed. Below I have provided 5 podcasts that I thoroughly enjoy on a regular basis and provide a vast amount of information on education.

1.)  Freakonomics – The Hidden Side of Everything

My absolute favourite podcast, Freakonomics, taps into “the hidden side of everything”. The podcast explores why it is just as hard to get into a high-school in Finland as getting into MIT (the number 1 ranked school on QS). In this podcast, Stephen Dubner suggests teachers in the US are, well, only slightly above average and this is at the core of the education systems problem.

While Med School, Law School, Business School and so on pull from the top layer of the academic talent pool, faculties of education in the US tend to pull from the slightly above average pool. The pervasive problems we see with the US Education system starts with how talent is selected. Dubner does go on to say that, of course, there are amazing high school teachers in the US who change the trajectory of peoples’ lives. They also note there are other variables that need consideration, such as: economic challenges that face teachers, education reform and compensation

This Freakonomics podcast doesn’t simply pay lip service to problems without digging to find solutions. Freakonomics has clout, a huge pull and often very intelligent, thought-leaders are featured on the productions. This makes this series of podcasts, hands down, my absolute favourite to listen to.

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2.) Stuff you Should Know

Josh Clark and Charles W. Chuck Bryant. These two hosts provide an easy listening podcast as they set out to research and chat about anything. In this episode, they tap into Homeschooling, a concept that has seen more and more traction in the US as of late with the distrust of the academic system.

Parents are looking for more control over what their kids learn and how they learn. The belief is that free public education tends to indoctrinate students and doesn’t actually provide a pure education. Other variables like taxation, tuition vouchers, shortcomings and challenges of homeschool students also detract from pure education.

Homeschooling is a controversial topic and this podcast does a great job of opening up the discussion from both sides of the coin.

3.) The Torch: The Great Courses Podcast

In this great podcast, Ed Leon searches for some of the best courses around. In this episode, he speaks with Mark Frank from the University of Buffalo and discusses body language and non-verbal communication. Dr. Frank ties his experience bouncing at a bar to his passion of studying Psychology.

Leon also speaks with Eric Klein, discussing how he decided to pursue Archaeology as a profession.

There is a little too much self-promotion in the podcast, but everyone is just trying to get their name out there, right? The Torch does, however, present a great opportunity for undecided students to tap into higher-level conversations regarding a large collection of topics. Most high school students have only been introduced to surface level content within various studies and their scope is extremely limited. This podcast can satisfy those who are continuously searching for life-long learning options as they can listen to rock star professors discuss some of the most interesting courses available. I strongly recommend The Torch to anyone who is trying to satisfy their inquisitive mind or seeking answers about their personal direction within education.

Find a course that reflects your interest and dive in.

*To listen to this podcast, it does require an account.

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4.) Life101 – A Professor’s Night Out

This is such an interesting, raw and refreshing look at education. In this episode, Anthropology Professor Michael Wesch wants to better understand what college life is all about because he believes the best students, the ones that really understand why they are at school, learn both in the classroom and out. He goes incognito to truly submerge himself into the culture and fully grasp the concept of the other side of life at school.

Previous generations already know these stories. They lived them during their college years. Parents likely reflect on these stories and wonder how they are still alive or they have completely suppressed these memories and hope the current generation never ask about them. Students, maybe these are the answers that you are really looking for. These are the experiences that administrators or Education Consultants won’t discuss, but they are at the core of the learning process. The real tests in life aren’t given with scantron bubble sheets, they don’t require MLA formatting, they test you in ways that allow you to understand yourself better before moving forward in life. This isn’t to downplay what you will learn in school, this is still very important, but longer lasting lessons will come from outside of the classroom. This podcast is an academic way to tap into the other lessons that are taught at university.

5.) The Knowledge Project

This podcast asks: Are we too busy to pay attention to life? A great question that many of us in post-graduate education should be asking ourselves. Granted, this isn’t a traditional education podcast, but they tend to tackle higher level questions in a conversational format. This podcast is included because I appreciate the style and content, believing it is relative (or relevant?) to all of us. They tackle the amount of information we are required to process on a daily basis and why we are so addicted to our phones and more, social media, in this specific podcast.

If you are looking for brain stimulation and are introspective, you might want to consider subscribing to this series.

There are plenty of amazing podcasts, this list is far from exhaustive. This post is simply designed to help you take the first step in podcasting. If you are anything like me, once you start, you will just keep seeking the next piece of ear candy around the corner.

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