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Backporch Education Podcast
23 minutes | Sep 7, 2021
A New Season and Some Reorientation
Poem: “Ox Cart Man,” by Donald Hall Statement of the Whole: Amazing to think about, but Backporch Education Podcast is now beginning its fourth Season! Jason and Steve take a few minutes to lean back and think about where we have been, where we might go from here. Join in the dreaming.
43 minutes | Aug 24, 2021
The Whole and Its Parts
Poem: “Work without Hope” by Samuel T. Coleridge Statement of the Whole: Moving from the image of a car engine spread out on the back lawn to the inner workings of the inquisitive mind, Jason and Steve discuss how analysis and synthesis are both necessary to every lesson. Pulling an idea apart and putting it back together keep learning from its dangerous extremes. Listen as the Backporch breaks it down and puts it all back together again.
41 minutes | Aug 10, 2021
Of Church, School, and Family
Poem: “The Hippopotamus” by T.S. Eliot Statement of the Whole: When we began a while back to separate our lives into various spheres, especially as we moved education in the schools away from any form of religion, a new set of questions were birthed. What role does the American church play in the education of the modern child? Is it possible to teach children in a manner free of any religious instruction? If it is, is this good? Join in this long and important conversation with us.
51 minutes | Jul 27, 2021
What are School Administrators Good For?
Poem: “Sonnets from the Portuguese, #23” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning Statement of the Whole: Would a teacher’s life be better or worse if Administrators disappeared from the Earth? So begins a lively repartee between Jason and Steve, both of whom currently divide time at their respective schools between teaching and administrative duties. Why do we need such people? How are their duties best attended to? If an administrator holds a faculty meeting in the woods, will teachers still have to come? Join us for these and many more compelling questions.
37 minutes | Jul 13, 2021
Teaching the Love of Literature
Poem: “To a Critic” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge Statement of the Whole: In this episode, an article sparks lively discussion between Jason and Steve on what it will take to revive the love of literature in our day. Why do so many people dislike literature today? How can we change this? What kinds of literature are better suited for us to love? This and much more fly around the rocking chairs on the Backporch Education podcast. The Article that got us going: Taking Literature Personally by Dwight Lindley
39 minutes | Jun 29, 2021
Poem: “The Third Day” by Edith Lovejoy Pearce Statement of the Whole: Recently an Italian artist sold an “immaterial sculpture” for about $18,000 and the Backporch dudes let the fun begin. Join them in a far-ranging discussion about this moment in art and education history. Did he sell nothing or a “vacuum”? Is this legit? What did the buyer get? The questions just keep coming, a perhaps the beginnings of some answers as well. Pull up a chair and have fun with us.
52 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
Margins in the Classroom
Yet Another Farming Metaphor Poem: from “The Church Porch” by George Herbert When thou dost purpose aught, within thy power, Be sure to do it, though it be but small: Constancy knits the bones, and makes us stour / When wanton pleasures beckon us to thrall. Who breaks his own bond, forfeiteth himself: What nature made a ship, he makes a shelf. Statement of the Whole: In agriculture, every farmer knows you need margins: spaces between your fields. The carefully planted crop needs some wildness, some weeds, some room about it to flourish. So goes the classroom as well. In this episode, Jason and Steve walk out into the fields to see what can be learned about the margins of the classroom. Put your boots on and come with us.
48 minutes | Jun 1, 2021
What to do When a Student Does Not Get It
Poem: “The Master Speed,” by Robert Frost Statement of the Whole: Every teacher knows that moment when one or many students demonstrate that the lesson was not learned, or misunderstood, or missed. What do we do when this happens? What are the common causes for such? What are strategies for our teaching that will help us in these murky waters? Jason and Steve discuss such things in this episode.
45 minutes | May 18, 2021
Have You Met? Lisa Bailey and Classical Conversations
Poem: “Story Telling” by Edgar A. Guest Statement of the Whole: Home schooling can be daunting to those considering for their children, but it can also be one of the most rewarding adventures of you and your child’s life. Join Steve as he interviews Lisa Bailey about her own experiences educating her two daughters, and the community that helped host the adventure: Classical Conversations. Enjoy the stories and practical direction with a nice big glass of ice tea!
47 minutes | May 4, 2021
Our Annual Teacher Appreciation Week Episode Poem: “Like Snow” by Wendell Berry Statement of the Whole: In our annual “Teacher Appreciation Week” show, we discuss what it means to appreciate, to show honor to, our teachers. What is the difference between a gift of honor and a gratuity? Why did Socrates warn against paying teachers for their teaching? What does Christ’s distinction between the shepherd and the hireling have to do with teaching? All this and more is discussed in an attempt to appreciate what teachers do.
32 minutes | May 19, 2020
The Role of Seminar in Education, with John Donohue
Poem: none Statement of the Whole: Talking. Conversation. Dialectic. Can words that pass between us really change the world? In this podcast, Steve brings in a guest, John Donohue, to chat about the use of Seminar in education. What are the benefits and possible pitfalls of just having a conversation be the central method of a classroom? Join in the conversation. Resources: Great book on using Seminar with younger readers: Socratic Circles Steve’s written description of his high school Seminar Course Old video about Steve’s community roundtable, an evening type of Seminar for high schoolers in his town
36 minutes | May 5, 2020
Whatcha Got in the Steam Pot? How Do Teachers Relax?
Our Annual National Teacher Appreciation Day Show Poem: “Italian Food” by Shel Silverstein Statement of the Whole: This is our second annual National Teacher Appreciation Day Show. To celebrate, Jason and Steve have fun discussing what “down time” looks like for a teacher. What does one who loves to teach all day do to take it easy? Because they both find cooking relaxing, that is what is in the pot for this episode. Try some of their relaxation stew. Resources: Link to Steve’s infrequent foray into food blogging: Bringing It to the Table Jason’s Onion Ring recipe: click here For those who want to enter the fragrant and soothing scene of offset smoking, click here. Salt: A World History The Art of Teaching
45 minutes | Apr 21, 2020
Have You Read? The Abolition of Man
Poem: No poem, Jason tortures Steve with Spanish instead Statement of the Whole: Is all truth relative, or are there some things that all men can agree upon? The implications of this issue on education cannot be overstated. If all truth is relative to the individual, or to culture, or anything, then education cannot cultivate wisdom and virtue, because it cannot assert any one thing as wise or virtuous. With adept skill, C.S. Lewis brought this to bear in his small work, The Abolition of Man. Jason and Steve talk their way through his insights in this podcast review of Lewis’ work. Resources: A great blog about Lewis, among others: click here The official CS Lewis website
49 minutes | Apr 7, 2020
What Do You Do When Truth Sneaks into the Classroom?
Allowing space for profundity, welcoming revelation. Poem: “Adam’s Curse” by William Butler Yeats Statement of the Whole: Many times, it is the unexpected appearance of a moment of truth that makes everything change in the classroom. We had it planned to go this way, and then up pops the head of truth and now we are going in another direction. The boys of Backporch Ed discuss ways to deal with this mystery, and basically bask in the glory of the unknown. Will you join them?
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