Natalie Wexler is an author and journalist who became interested in educational issues when she began to work with students in disadvantaged schools in Washington. Natalie is co-author of The Writing Revolution, with Judith Hochman and author of The Knowledge Gap. In this episode, Natalie talks to Greg Ashman about her journey into education, the Impact of The Writing Revolution and how its methods align with cognitive science. Natalie and Greg then discuss The Knowledge Gap, the reason why we need more of a knowledge focus in schools and some of the objections and barriers to this idea before discussing some possible solutions.
Emina McLean is an Australian language and literacy expert. In this episode, she talks to Greg Ashman about her training as a speech language pathologist, her imminent career move to a brand new primary school in Melbourne, the science of reading and teacher professional development. Along the way, Emina and Greg discuss the controversies that surround literacy teaching, such as the recent blog post by Diane Ravitch complaining about the term the 'science of reading' and New South Wales' decision to roll-out a phonics screening check in all public schools, as well as the best and worst ways of changing people's minds and hopes for the future.
In the episode, the tables are turned and Kate Barry, an English and French teacher from Ireland, interviews Greg Ashman about his new book, The Power of Explicit Teaching and Direct Instruction. Greg and Kate discuss Greg's route into teaching, the nature and value of education research, the meaning of the terms 'explicit teaching' and 'direct instruction', the different perspectives of academics and practising teachers, the need to look for disconfirming evidence, differentiated instruction and solution to avoiding progressivist/traditionalist pendulum swings. Thanks to Kate for asking the questions. You can read an excerpt from The Power of Explicit Teaching and Direct Instruction here.
David Didau is a teacher, blogger and author of seven books about education. In this episode, David talks to Greg Ashman about how he became a teacher and the writing and blogging journey that has resulted in him changing his views about education over time. David and Greg elaborate on the conditions needed for people to change their minds before talking about David's new book, Intelligent Accountability. David explains the importance of humility and why 'mimetic isomorphism' - which David cannot pronounce - prevents us from learning through the wisdom of crowds. Finally, David explains why treating people equally is different to treating them fairly.
Briar Lipson is a research fellow at the New Zealand Initiative. Prior to this, Briar worked in think tanks, became a teacher and assistant principal and was involved in the Free School movement in England. In this episode, Briar talks to Greg Ashman about he newly released book, New Zealand's Education Delusion, and her thesis that child-centered teaching approaches have led to the decline in performance that New Zealand has suffered on international assessment such as PISA. Along the way, Briar and Greg discuss teacher training, the New Zealand curriculum and John Hattie's comments on her book. Briar's book is available for free on this link.
Doug Lemov has been a teacher, a school principal, a researcher, a writer and played many other roles in education in the U.S. He is perhaps best known internationally for his practical teaching guide, Teach Like a Champion (TLAC). In this episode, Doug talks to Greg Ashman about the genesis of TLAC, making content relevant to students, reading instruction and the importance of reading, Charter Schools, the tumultuous state of U.S. education debate and his efforts to help teachers maximise the potential of the remote learning that has been forced on them by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Emily Hanford is Senior Correspondent with APM Reports at American Public Media. Over the last few years, Emily has been researching, broadcasting and writing about reading instruction in the United States and it is fair to say that, as a result, she has shifted the dial on the discussion there. In this episode, Emily talks to Greg Ashman about how she became interested in reading instruction and what she has learnt from her research. Along the way, Emily and Greg discuss explicit and direct teaching, balanced literacy, the nature of the evidence on reading, models such as the simple view of reading and what teachers have told her about how they were prepared to teach reading.
E. D. Hirsch Jr. began his career as a literary theorist. As a result of this work, he became aware of the importance of background knowledge for reading comprehension. However, when he looked to the education system, he found knowledge was undervalued. Since then, he has worked to highlight the importance of knowledge though his numerous books, including the best-selling Cultural Literacy, and the Core Knowledge Foundation that he set-up to further these aims by developing the Core Knowledge Sequence, now used in many schools in the US and beyond. In this episode, Don talks to Greg Ashman about knowledge, education, the importance of a 'speech community' and commonality more generally, as well as his new book, How to Educate a Citizen.
Jasmine Lane is a teacher and education writer based in the United States. In this episode, Jasmine talks to Greg Ashman about how she became a teacher, why the killing of George Floyd makes it even more important for Black people to fight distraction and disengagement from education, what Shakespeare has to offer kids in the inner city and why learning standard English is important. Along the way, Greg and Jasmine discuss the literary canon, researchED and so-called 'carceral pedagogies'.
Calvin Robinson is a teacher, podcaster, journalist and consultant to the UK's Department for Education. In this episode, Calvin talks to Greg Ashman about his switch from the computer science industry to teaching, the events surrounding the Brexit referendum and how this played out in the school where he worked at the time, the wider issue of balance in the curriculum, the Free Schools movement in the UK, computing as a school subject, STEM subjects more generally, educational research and Calvin's role in the 'Don't Divide Us' campaign.