A Dash of SaLT Podcast: Fresh discussions on Society and Learning Today. Seasoned with just the right touch of experts in education, and a dash of sociological imagination.
Ep 11: Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors: Preparing teachers for diverse classrooms through professional conversation workshops on implicit bias with newly qualified teachers in the field

Ep 11: Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors: Preparing teachers for diverse classrooms through professional conversation workshops on implicit bias with newly qualified teachers in the field

June 13, 2021

In this episode, I talk with Dr Amy Kavanaugh, Dr Andrea Kitomary, and Dr Lindsay Stoetzel from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, USA about their work preparing rural teacher candidates to work with diverse student populations.

Accessible Transcript is available HERE

This is very much an international conversation that will benefit teacher educators, those currently in teacher training and education, as well as parents, families and community members concerned with implicit bias training for fair, inclusive, and diverse practices in the classroom. 

This trio, keen social justice advocates, takes their teacher candidates through a series of professional conversations and workshops that require them to interrogate their own implicit (unconscious) biases and to think deeply about how their words and actions impact the teacher student relationship.

This project was born out of a need identified by their accrediting body to strengthen the teacher candidates' awareness and ability to work with diverse populations. This is no easy task when the university itself, and the schools that teacher candidates will be teaching in, are largely rural.  Traditionally, the teaching body in Michigan is predominately white, middle class, and female, so the problem of practice was how to teach these teacher candidates to become culturally responsive teachers. We discussed the difficulties they faced designing and implementing a programme that would be transformative and impactful for the teacher candidates in such a homogenous environment.

They recruited Ferris alumni, teaching in several different states, to come together with their teacher candidates in a series of professional conversation workshops. They felt that practicing educators who have been where their teacher candidates are, and are now in the field experiencing the reality of teaching first hand, would reinforce and enhance what the professors are currently instructing, providing a richer learning experience for the teacher candidates. They specifically chose early career (newly qualified teachers) because they wanted their teacher candidates to see that you don’t have to have 20 years of expertise to be ready… and that this is a learning journey that all educators are on together.

We talk about immigration, the black lives matter movement, the recent election, and other hot-button issues across the country that push educators and their choices of what they bring into their lessons in the classroom.  We discuss the similarities and crossovers in teacher education, in the US context, the Irish context and other countries as well.  They discuss bias through the lens of racism which is historical and prevalent in the US, whereas in the Irish context bias is more likely to be discussed from a class or socio-economic lens.  There is a discussion on how implicit bias is very damaging to children through microaggressions and actions in the classroom, often without realizing we are even doing it. We share stories, nationally and internationally, about cultural norms and biases, and practicing awareness of difference in diverse classrooms. 

Research supports that the biggest indicator for future student success is the classroom teacher.  Teacher educators have a responsibility to help teacher candidates see that you have the power to make a significant difference in every student’s life and their success. It is more important than how much money the school has or the student’s family has. Rather, finding an awareness of the power the classroom teacher has and the expectation for success of ALL their students. Teachers make more of a difference than they know, and words and actions matter. Interrogating our own implicit bias and embedding collaborative and reflective bias training in teacher education programmes is essential.

Author: Catherine Compton-Lilly

Website: Learning For Justice

Book: Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain

Ep 10: Nothing About Us Without Us:  A call to action for embedding transformational change and widening social experiences and participation for disabled students in higher education.

Ep 10: Nothing About Us Without Us: A call to action for embedding transformational change and widening social experiences and participation for disabled students in higher education.

June 6, 2021

In this episode, I talk with Dr Vivian Rath.  Vivian is a teaching fellow in Trinity College Dublin and recently completed his PhD on the “social engagement experiences of disabled students in higher education in Ireland”.

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

We talk about his personal journey accessing higher education as a disabled person himself.  The barriers that he faced, and how his own social experiences in higher education influenced his desire to research this important issue for disabled students.  He explains how the use of the Transformative Paradigm and the Bioecological Model put his participants at the centre of his research and at the same time working alongside them for transformational change by using a social justice approach and human rights.

Vivian explains how the presence of disabled students in higher education is a relatively new phenomenon and their presence is surprisingly low… but dramatically increasing.  We discuss the lack of agency and a sense of disempowerment when disabled students feel unseen and unheard.  It is critical to listen to the voices of ALL students and to be aware of the barriers that many different students face. He shares the endearing voices of his participants, their sense of belonging, their desire to be seen and heard, and the impact a lack of awareness by higher education institutions has on them. While he does see changes being made, it is largely sporadic across university settings and much more needs to be done.

University leaders and stakeholders need to realize that social engagement is important for ALL students.  If disabled students can’t access a coffee with a fellow student because the campus canteen’s lift isn’t working, and their request to have it repaired goes unheard, they are left feeling like their needs don’t matter. Disabled students just want to be able to access facilities, events, or opportunities to volunteer and engage.  They want to have meaningful connections and relationships with others as part of their social engagement experience, and to be heard and valued, just like every other student on campus.  

Come, listen and learn!

Website:

AHEAD.ie

Twitter:

@RathVivian

@aheadireland

@UDLChatIE

 

Ep 9: Something for a Monday:  Exploring the beauty and authenticity of informal professional learning conversations, finding community and belonging through #TeachMeet networks

Ep 9: Something for a Monday: Exploring the beauty and authenticity of informal professional learning conversations, finding community and belonging through #TeachMeet networks

May 30, 2021

In this episode I talk with Mags Amond, a retired post-primary school teacher and PhD candidate, about her research on a form of informal continuous professional development among teachers all over the world.  It is called TEACHMEET where teaching professionals come together to encourage, edify and ‘teach’ each other through their own lived experiences.  #TeachMeet is a phenomenon that is completely organized and facilitated on a voluntary basis.

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

Mags reflects on the influence of her parents and their lifelong commitment to volunteering and supporting her educational pursuits.  Mags talks about life in ‘the slow lane’ as a part-time PhD, her relationships with fellow research colleagues, the back channels of communication on the journey, and the unexpected twists along the way that have significantly impacted her understanding of research as a scaffolded process.

Mags explains that a newfound awareness of herself as a ‘pracademic’ has transformed her way of thinking about research and practice. Mags likens the beginning of TeachMeets to that of a love child of the unconference world and the growing social media presence in 2006. We talk about how pivoting online due to Covid_19, has had a positive effect on #TeachMeets because educators are hungry for connection, community, belonging and ownership of professional conversations and learning outside of the school environment.

Mags shares her philosophy on the importance of attending #TeachMeets to find ‘something for a Monday’ that you can use for personal or professional enrichment or your classroom teaching practice. She provides a mental visual of ‘desire lines’ that are worn into the ground through a desire to take oneself from where they are to where they want to be – as part of the #TeachMeet process that just becomes a natural path for informal authentic professional learning.

Come, listen and learn!

Website: magsamond.com

Twitter:  #TeachMeet @magsamond

 

Ep 8: Never Give Up! How volunteering fuels a passion for lifelong learning and relentless determination to overcome educational barriers and achieve the dream of becoming a school teacher

Ep 8: Never Give Up! How volunteering fuels a passion for lifelong learning and relentless determination to overcome educational barriers and achieve the dream of becoming a school teacher

May 23, 2021

In this episode, I chat with Hayley Myerscough, who is currently studying to be a primary school teacher. 

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

We talk about her volunteer and learning experiences growing up and what fueled her passion to become a teacher.  How her experiences volunteering in Girl Guides really solidified her determination to become a teacher.  She says ‘volunteering allows you to see a different side of yourself that you don’t normally see and the difference you make for others’ that is motivated by voluntary rewards and not paid rewards.  Hayley explains how volunteer work can help you find out what you are passionate about and what you want to do as a career. Girl Guides helped her to see what it is like to lead and to inspire and to help. 

We talk about how relying on the Leaving Cert is really a form of tracking that can be detrimental for young people when you don’t get the ‘points’ to go into a career path that you really want.  We talk about how getting into the professional master’s in education programme wasn’t easy for Hayley because of the Irish requirement for primary school teachers.  Hayley inspires and encourages others to practice relentless perseverance and determination to pursue your dreams no matter what. 

We talk about starting the initial teacher education programme right at the beginning of the Covid pandemic and the weirdness of going through a master’s level teaching programme without being able to meet and see your cohort.  We chat about Hayley being an up and coming educational ‘influencer’ on Instagram as @TheTeacherStudent, and balancing her own learning experiences with teaching and encouraging others. She explains why she believes that being raw and real and giving first-hand insight on the barriers that she faced on her journey to becoming a teacher is both helpful and therapeutic.  She tries to make sure that her content isn’t too wordy or complicated, but is delivered in a way that is meaningful to her followers and to provide a sense of community and belonging in a digital/online world.  

Hayley is an absolute joy.  Come, listen and learn.

Instagram @TheTeacherStudent

 

Ep 7: Let’s Talk About Teenagers and Sex: Finding a way to promote a socially literate approach to consent, sex, pregnancy loss, abortion and reproductive education in adolescence and beyond.

Ep 7: Let’s Talk About Teenagers and Sex: Finding a way to promote a socially literate approach to consent, sex, pregnancy loss, abortion and reproductive education in adolescence and beyond.

May 16, 2021

TRIGGER WARNING:

The content of this discussion is sensitive and may have a trigger effect for you.  Topics discussed:

  • pregnancy loss
  • miscarriage
  • abortion
  • grief
  • rape
  • post-traumatic stress
  • forced medical and community interventions
  • historical societal interactions around sex education and baby loss

Please take a moment to consider opting out if you think this topic may negatively affect you.

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

In this episode, Caroline Lloyd, a PhD candidate in her final year at Trinity College Dublin, joins me to discuss her research on adolescent development and the impact that baby loss has on young women across their lifespan.  Her previous employment background was in corporate business environments, counseling,and she has significant experience as a volunteer, particularly with cancer and bereavement charities.  As a bereavement counsellor and facilitator of bereavement support groups, Caroline saw a real dearth of information on baby losses, miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal losses and the level of affect it has on women across their life span which is what inspired her research.

We talk about how her research evolved from just looking at the emotional response to baby loss and grief, to the socio-historical and cultural factors of how others interacted with women after their loss.  Retrospectively, how were they treated by their parents, medical professionals, other students, and teachers. The blaming, shaming and the lack of agency and voice adolescent girls have. Caroline also discusses the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of sex education as formal part of learning in school and the lack of counseling or mental health care available for these young women.  

We discuss post-traumatic growth after experiences such as this, why sensitivity matters in these situations, the way someone is treated, and how words spoken can impact how girls think about themselves throughout their life.  Caroline discusses productive equality, how boys and girls are socialized, and the way that society treats boys and girls differently when it comes to sex and reproductive education.  We discuss the importance of continued research and how crucial it is to get findings like hers out to educate wider society because knowledge is power. 

While great strides have been made in sex education, proper education is important for educators, medical doctors, political figures and governmental bodies on enacting proper sex education that is not shame based or ambiguous.  We question who is teaching sex education and consent, how are they teaching it, and what messages are going out to children? Sex education should not come from friends and porn.  Sex and reproductive education needs to be presented with competence, frankness, honesty, and without shame or sex shaming.

You can find Caroline’s book on Amazon and all booksellers online.

Grief Demystified: An Introduction by Caroline Lloyd

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Demystified-Caroline-Lloyd-Foreword-Jennifer/dp/1785923137/ref=nodl_

Her book has a whole section at the end signposting to reputable organisations globally.

Caroline’s Website:

www.carolinelloyd.co.uk

Caroline's Twitter:

@CLloydTCD 

Ep 6:  What The Mountains Can Teach Us About Life: Unleashing independence and confidence through outdoor living and learning.

Ep 6: What The Mountains Can Teach Us About Life: Unleashing independence and confidence through outdoor living and learning.

May 9, 2021

In this episode, I chat with Cormac Lynch, a Mountain Leader who has been hiking, rock climbing and mountaineering for over 25 years.  He is a highly skilled member of the Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team and owner of Fia Mountaineering.

We discuss his experiences growing up in Wicklow Town with a sense of adventure through reading and exploring his childhood playground that consisted of the Wicklow Mountains and the Irish Sea.  We talk about the book he is writing around his personal odyssey '32 Summits with 32 Friends' about his experiences climbing the highest mountain in every county in Ireland, each one with a different friend.  He tells us that early on in the project, while standing in a 4,000 year old passage grave listening to whispers of history echoing down through time, he came to realise that this project wasn’t about him, but about commemorating those who have gone before us, relationships with those in our lives today, and connections with the landscape in which we live and how we engage with one another.

He talks about bringing your ‘A’ game… and how the quality of informal learning is just as important as the quality of formal learning and translating informal learning experiences into valuable life skills is vital.  He reminds us that when people give you well-meaning advice, you need to remember that it isn’t instruction and you can’t necessarily take the advice of strangers at face value. He also explains that a teacher just being good at their subject is not enough, they have to be good at teaching as well, and why curriculum and instruction is so important, because you have an incredible responsibility to NOT get it wrong.

We discuss how variety, and pursuing something with a little more bite in your professional worklife is not a bad thing at all. He attests from his own experience that valuable lifelong learning is gained through what he calls a ‘module’ career and how important volunteering is in not only a personal capacity but in a professional one as well.  I encourage you to listen and learn.

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

You can find out more about Fia Mountaineering here:

http://fiamountaineering.ie

https://www.instagram.com/fiamountaineering/

Ep 5: The Lonely PhD Epidemic: Exposing the symptoms of isolation and exploring the cure through practices of inclusion.

Ep 5: The Lonely PhD Epidemic: Exposing the symptoms of isolation and exploring the cure through practices of inclusion.

May 2, 2021

Are  you a PhD student?  Do you support one, work with one, love one? Do you know someone who has finished a PhD or is thinking about starting one?  This episode is for you! 

They say that the PhD journey can feel very isolating and lonely.  It often feels like you’re battling a contagious illness all alone.  Don’t fear!  You’re not alone, and the cure is found through the process of making the invisible visible.  My conversation with Maeve O’Regan, occupational psychologist and part-time PhD herself, covers everything from symptoms to cure for today’s PhD candidate.  Through her research on the lived experience of surviving the PhD, we unpack:  

The symptoms…

  • Feeling like the Invisible learner
  • Fumbling in the darkness
  • Fighting a Disconnected Culture
  • Suffering with Unconscious Incompetence
  • Keeping your PhD a secret
  • Battling Imposter syndrome

The cure…

  • Practice Personal Agency
  • Visualize Resilience
  • Gather Support
  • Embrace Human Centrered Design
  • Adopt Dynamic Interaction
  • Promote Linking in and Listening
  • Find your network
  • Encouraged by Shared Experiences

We talk about how Covid has leveled the playing field and laid bare the ‘gap’ in supports for PhD candidates that must be addressed and how we can bridge that gap between what she calls ‘zoom and room’.

We discuss the importance of space and place, as a physical connection that provides a sense of belonging for a PhD who’s world is really quite isolated, and if you can’t find an ‘in’ within a physical space as a part-time PhD, you can become very lost - missing that ‘in’ to navigate the Phd journey. We explore the biggest barrier that many part-time PhD’s face -  those important informal connections within the institutions through face to face contact.  Just by the nature of being there, full-time PhDs benefit more highly from informal community and ‘coffee culture’. 

Maeve shares so many nuggets of wisdom and implications for policy, practice and support.  Including the difference between cultures where PhDs are valued, not just in the ‘academic community’ but in the business community and wider society.  Everyone has a responsibility, to support our learners, and promote the ethos of continued learning by creating a feeling of belonging for part-time and full-time PhDs alike.

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

Ep 4: Lessons and Reflections on Engaged Learning in the European Context:  Forming mutual partnerships between university and community through the CaST Erasmus+ Initiative.

Ep 4: Lessons and Reflections on Engaged Learning in the European Context: Forming mutual partnerships between university and community through the CaST Erasmus+ Initiative.

April 25, 2021

In this episode, I am joined by Dr Courtney Marsh, a senior researcher at Ghent University.  Our discussion covers a wide range of themes around Engaged Learning in the European context and forming mutual partnerships between university and community through the Interdisciplinary Consortia (IDC) at Ghent University and the Community and Students Together (CaST) Erasmus+ Initiative.

Dr Marsh talks about the importance of doing community and social research, making real world connections and societal impact through international partnerships. She says that the IDC helps to facilitate and even stimulate new collaboration and then deepen what’s already there.

We talk about her own learning background, how she wishes she had been given an opportunity to participate in engaged learning in her own community, and finding a passion for teaching through her research projects.  We also discuss the impacts of Covid_19 on the adaptability, design and efficacy of CaST initiative, nationally and internationally, and so much more!

Near the end of our discussion, we engage in a jolly mini-rant on the importance of of rethinking ‘pretentious academic writing’ and why disseminating research to the community in plain language, that is easily understood and relatable is being inclusive rather than being so exclusive.

*Warning* A single expletive is casually dropped in the last 5 minutes of the episode

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

Here are some links you may be interested in. 

Twitter: @Crime_UGent

https://www.ugent.be/crime/en

https://www.cast-euproject.eu/

Ep 3: The Glass Half Full… Honouring Every Learner at Every Level through Universal Design for Learning

Ep 3: The Glass Half Full… Honouring Every Learner at Every Level through Universal Design for Learning

April 16, 2021

This is a conversation about all things Universal Design for Learning (UDL) with Dr Margaret Flood.  She is an expert in inclusive learning, teaching, teacher professional learning design and delivery, policy development and curriculum design.  It is safe to say, Mags knows her stuff!  Dr Flood is also a passionate, vocal advocate for the use of Universal Design for Learning for inclusive learning and teaching.  

In this episode, we talk about Universal Design for Learning, what it is and how it can be enacted in education, learning, and society.  We discuss how UDL more fully embraces the UN guidelines for inclusion and inclusive learning, how planning lessons 'up or down' have negative connotations and requires more time for retrofitting which means less time for meaningfully engaging with learners and their depth of learning.  

We pick apart cultural biases that are built within the current curriculum and talk about how vital it is to incorporate lessons focused on wider cultural perspectives, global consciousness, and equity (not equality), for every learner across all levels of education and life development. 

Mags is a wealth of knowledge and wants to share it openly in UDL fashion.  She shares an open source link for finding and engaging with resources about Universal Design for Learning.  

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

The link to her open source toolkit is provided for you here: https://tinyurl.com/MFlood2020

 

 

Ep 2: Learning through Reflection and Reflective Writing for Personal, Academic, and Professional Growth

Ep 2: Learning through Reflection and Reflective Writing for Personal, Academic, and Professional Growth

April 5, 2021

Have you thought about reflective writing for personal, academic or professional growth and development and you're not sure how to get started?  Maybe you have been journaling for a long time and need renewed inspiration.  

Join my conversation with Simone Cameron-Coen, Civic and Community Engagement Officer at Trinity College Dublin as we discuss the importance of reflection and reflective writing for personal, academic, and professional learning.  We explore Bloom's and Gibb's reflective models for writing and the significance our perspective and the perspectives of others have on our learning and enrichment.  Simone shares significant experiences in her life that inspired writing and how she uses different journals and writing styles depending on what she needs in the moment.  

Whether it is for volunteer experiences, academically working through concepts in learning, keeping on task in your daily work goals, or just a way of coping with the stresses of everyday life... Reflection and reflective writing can deepen your understanding of experiences, anxieties, stresses and help you cope with the rapidly changing pace of living in today's society.  

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

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