Two Mr P in a Pod (cast) | Podcast
teach me a lesson | BBC Sounds
Separate schools (BBC Radio 4) | BBC Sounds
Analysis: what is childcare for? (BBC Radio 4) | BBC Sounds
Drama on 3: He makes the waste Land at different voices (BBC Radio 3) | BBC Sounds
With all the fuss about who has, or should have, their finger on the education record, I think it’s time to revisit some teacher audio. First, let’s listen to the teachers themselves. Two Mr P in a Pod (cast) is a cheerful weekly offering hosted by two former elementary school teachers who are still involved in education: Mr. P (Lee Parkinson) and his brother, Adam, aka The Other Mr P. Their podcast has a large social media presence and many extremely enthusiastic people. listeners.
While great at nifty online snippets – ICT is Mr P’s specialty – the Two Mr Ps podcast isn’t as sharp as their TikToks. Most episodes could take a good 20 minutes to edit. Episode 117, supposedly based on Sats exams – an interesting controversial topic for teachers and parents – spent way too much time on the Mr Ps telling us, in detail, about their recent live gigs: one had an excellent rider, apparently. Also, for a podcast that sells on funny, joke standards are, frankly, low. The Other Mr. P told us an anecdote about his McDonald’s order number 007 and he said “the name is Donald, McDonald’s” to the waiter when he was called to the counter. “That was Grade A Bantz!” he insisted. When they finally started discussing Sats, Mr P had some good points – why Sats don’t work, how they affect GCSEs – but even that could have been done with a cleaner edit. Still, their warm, cheerful tone is impeccable, as are their observations of wildly pushy parents, and they’re the ones who have won the show its thousands of fans.
For something more structured (and better produced), you can try Teach me a lesson, a podcast hosted by Radio 1’s Greg James and his wife, author and journalist Bella Mackie, which brings teachers their most engaging lesson live. James is, obviously, a great presenter, and Mackie is good too. But that’s not why we’re here. The meat of the show is an abbreviated lesson (or abbreviated series of lessons) on a subject, given by a real-life teacher. These are surprisingly interesting. Miss Sheridan’s Grade 6 lesson on How to Never Lose a Penalty Shootout covered history, geography and some fascinating statistics and data. Can Mr. Grindrod’s Mathematics Explain What We Find Beautiful?, a high school lesson covering the Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio, is also interesting. This podcast isn’t going to change your life, but it definitely reminds you how much good teaching can enlighten and excite us all.
Some inspirational content in these lessons, but let’s not forget that all teachers must follow the national curriculum. A few days ago, an interesting Radio 4 program examined whether this approach served all students. In Separate schools, film and theater producer Anwar Akhtar has returned to his old school, Loreto College, in Hulme, Manchester. Although a Catholic school, Loreto is a multicultural and multi-denominational community. The son of Pakistani immigrants, Akhtar believes the school has served him well and would like to see a similar mix at other schools. This is not always the case: in some mixed areas, schools become monocultural due to the influx of students. In Oldham, he spoke to a headteacher who solved this problem by merging two schools: the predominantly white Counthill School and the predominantly Asian Breeze Hill School to form a new academy. It is a great success. Teachers also discussed whether the current curriculum includes all students. It’s fine to expand the program to include the experience of Blacks, Asians, and ethnic minorities, but it’s important to make sure that minority lives aren’t simply portrayed as traumatic. An interesting program, presented in an engaging way.
Also on Radio 4, in this week’s show To analyses, More or less‘s Charlotte McDonald took a look at preschool childcare. Is it for the parents or for the children? Different governments have given different emphases, although it is striking how much there is talk of getting parents to work, rather than ensuring that these very young children are helped in their development. McDonald spoke to a public leader in Quebec where, in the late 1990s, only 50% of women with children under five worked. Once the cheap daycares were introduced ($5 a day! Imagine!), that jumped to 70%.
Finally, for those who would like to be better educated, Radio 3 offers a 20-minute preamble to a specially recorded version of TS Eliot land of waste, released today. As an Eng Lit dunce, I found this fascinating. And the reading is well done too, although sometimes too scenic. I like the working class sections, but the chic fruity and where I am parts sometimes disappear in meaningless modulation, like a pop song where you like the beat but can’t lead or tail the lyrics. Back to school for me.