The Problem We All Live With

There is this one recent episode of This American Life that I just can’t shake. I shared it on Twitter time and time (and time) again. And now I’m sharing it here. Seeing as this blog is bit a of a confluence of education and podcasts (among other things), it seems fitting to write about it.

This American Life has been a gateway for a lot of now-podcast junkies. Perhaps because of its longevity, but also because of moving and poignant episodes like this one. When I first heard it during a flight to Las Vegas, I failed miserably at hiding my tears and suppressing weird mouth noises from the strangers between whom I was wedged. (They gave me some concerned glances, but generally ignored me otherwise.)

Working in the education field, I am constantly barraged with products that claim to be The Next Best Thing to fix the increasingly dire state of public education in the U.S. Don’t get me wrong, there are many technologies that are making a meaningful difference in the lives of students and teachers, and they are doing amazing and important work. But there is something we’re forgetting.

There is something that has proven to be effective, and with long-lasting, positive effects on students. It’s nothing novel or revolutionary, and that’s what makes this episode so infuriating to listen to.

But listen you should, because it’s important. Then, share it with someone you know.

Listen to the podcast:

TAL-PWALW

Update (September 9): Conveniently, I came across this article today that provides additional context to this very real and complex issue.

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