This summer, Reshan and I have been developing a theory that can be concisely summarized as “everything is teaching.” With that on my mind, I answered some questions from Thrive Global about my podcast, Inquiry to Insight. The full interview can be found here. But I’m copying below the part where I focused on the ways that, I believe, successful podcasting is just like intentional teaching.
Podcasting is Teaching Excerpt
As I’ve said, any success I have as a podcaster comes from my training as a teacher at a school that takes the training of teachers very seriously — it’s almost like a teaching lab. And, in my own writing and research, I’ve thought a lot about how teaching practices apply to fields outside of education. In fact, at the close of Make Yourself Clear, my last book, co-authored with Dr. Reshan Richards, we wrote a chapter called “Think Like a Teacher.” That invitation holds true for podcasting, as well. Successful podcasts do what successful teaching does, with one caveat. I’m not talking about the kind of teaching that most of us grew up experiencing, wherein a “sage” (teacher) offers lessons on a “stage” (the front of a classroom). I’m talking about teaching that puts the student at the center of the action.
So here goes…
- First, successful podcasters, like successful teachers, practice active listening — they don’t listen until they get to speak or enlighten, they listen with the intention of helping the speaker (student) to articulate their understanding and enlightenment. Their job, as listeners, is to show the speaker that they are fully hearing them or to ask questions in order to promote successful discovery and communication.
- Second, successful podcasters, like successful teachers, practice preassessment, helping them to understand where their interviewee (student) is situated at the start of the conversation. Preassessment yields information that preps the ground for a successful interaction.
- Third, successful podcasters, like successful teachers, use formative assessment. They’re not listening to their interviewees with the intention of judging them or forcing them into a box. Instead, they are listening in order to adjust their own plans, their own questions, their own posture, their own view of the interviewee (student).
- They may have an idea about where they want the interview to end up (which is the fourth teaching move, called understanding by design), but they are willing to follow the needs of the interviewee.
- Fifth, successful podcasters, like successful teachers, attempt to create an experience for their interviewee that is meaningful, relevant, and personalized. If you’ve ever been in a classroom where those elements were not present, then you understand why they are so important. Your interviewees will engage and share to the extent that the conversation is in service of transformation for all involved rather than a mere transaction. If it feels meaningful to them, and it’s obviously meaningful to you, then together you will make something that could only be created in that particular circumstance — like a great class.
All of these practices — active listening, preassessment, formative assessment, understanding by design, and meaning making — make for a successful classroom or podcast. Podcasting is teaching.