Handy History Teaching Tips Podcast

hhttAnother school year is coming to a close. It’s been unique; every year is unique but this one has been significantly different. I’m not reflecting on it much yet because, if I’m honest, I don’t know how helpful it will be to reflect on this unprecedented year because – will it ever happen like this again? I think not. Even if schools close again, we will not be closing for the first time ever. We will be bringing our experiences of the last six months to the table. So, I feel like I need a bit of distance from the events before I can properly reflect on it.

Instead, I wanted to share something else I’ve been doing this year. A few years ago, I had an idea about doing a history teacher podcast, since there seemed to be a gap in the market. After a while I mentioned it to a couple of people, including Helen Snelson, long-time History teacher, History PGCE lead in York, Chair of the Historical Association Secondary Committee and superwoman, who were enthusiastic but, my goodness, we are all so busy! A year passed. Helen was a good friend and kept nudging me back to the project and we finally managed to get it off the ground in November. We started with a long series on using sources in the classroom, and intended to move on to History-specific revision tips, though ended up shelving this as the exams receded into the distance, and have instead spent the past term recording episodes looking at the different second order concepts in History.

This has been a joy of my year. I really enjoy chatting away with Helen about nerdy history topics and always, ALWAYS come away knowing more than I did at the start. It’s great watching the number of listens creep up each week and getting feedback from people that are listening, that it is a helpful thing or that we’ve helped them to tweak something in their classroom which now works better. We’ve got a long list of ideas for the future but have also been able to respond to listener suggestions – that’s where the idea for a series on second order concepts came from.

Some practicals – we try to keep our episodes short – 10-20 minutes is ideal, but we do often gab on a bit longer. We share our ideas on a GoogleDoc and script it to a greater or lesser extent, depending on how confident we feel with the topic. We record it over Skype, usually doing a few at a time; I edit it in Audacity (free to download) and it’s hosted on Soundcloud (it was free until we reached 3 hours of content, by which time I was convinced that enough people were listening to it to warrant forking over the annual fee). I’ve also submitted the RSS feed everywhere I can think of, so it is searchable on Spotify, Podcast Addict, Podbean and iTunes. It has been fun working out all the technical stuff, although I am painfully aware of some of my vocal tics that I wouldn’t necessarily have noticed if I wasn’t listening back to every episode to edit. I keep telling myself that nobody likes the sound of their own voice. Who knows, maybe next year I will add a musical intro and exit.

If this sounds like it would be up your street, give us a listen!

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