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May 22, 2018 12:57 am

The podcast learns to walk.

I blogged earlier about Three Woods Minutes, our new student-led podcast.  The idea to host a podcast came from adults, and adults have been working to teach students the various reporting and technical steps required to publish an episode.  But our goal–with this leadership activity and all our other ones–is simple: put the students in position to authentically lead.  The podcast team knows that they were selected as 3rd graders with the plan to have them serve this year and as 4th graders, training their replacements next year. They are excited about that trust and independence and are invested in earning it.  We understand that this is a process and that you don’t start out by running.

Maybe you’ve had this experience: there is an interesting balance of tension and fear when adult teachers aren’t really prepared for what they’re teaching!  Certainly that has been the case for TWM, as I’ve been the adult in charge of the podcast team.  My technical skills have gaps (let’s put it like that), so at times I’ve felt too much like Indiana Jones going after the Holy Grail.  I can see where I want to go, but the path there is pretty much invisible.

Slowly and carefully, my two sound engineers (3rd graders, remember) and I have stepped across the chasm for each episode, publishing five times now with decreasing levels of panic and feelings of inadequacy.  We’ve been guided by the wise, disembodied, and somewhat monkish voice of Kyle, our adult tech consultant, talking to us on speaker phone as we navigate the net-based programs we use.

This week we were scheduled to record episode six on Monday morning.  Students had selected the subject, written questions, and arranged the interview–all good steps.  But a mix-up caused us to re-schedule, and I wasn’t told the new time.  Then late Monday afternoon, the engineers ran up to me to say that they’d recorded and saved #6 without any help at all!  This was absolutely cause for celebration, reinforcing what we know about the power of authentic student leadership.

 

 

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