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The Cult of Pedagogy Podcast
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The Cult of Pedagogy Podcast

Author: Jennifer Gonzalez

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Teaching strategies, classroom management, education reform, educational technology -- if it has something to do with teaching, we're talking about it. Jennifer Gonzalez interviews educators, students, administrators and parents about the psychological and social dynamics of school, trade secrets, and other juicy things you'll never learn in a textbook. For more fantastic resources for teachers, visit
252 Episodes
When teachers and students feel heard, the climate of a school just gets better, and semantic pulse surveys can make that happen. In this episode, we'll learn what about this fresh approach to surveying and how teachers and administrators can create their own to gain better insights about the students and teachers they serve.  This episode is sponsored by Alpaca. School leaders can get 15% off a year of Alpaca's pulse surveys — visit to learn more. To read the post, visit 
You can never have too many ideas for helping struggling students, right? In this episode, you'll get a few more that you may not have tried. My guests are two teachers — learning specialist Sarah Riggs Johnson and math teacher Nate Wolkenhauer — who share their system of strategies that help all students learn better, a kind of pyramid where the ones at the bottom apply to all students, the middle layers are used with a smaller group, and at the top are strategies that are only needed for a few students. If you teach math or special ed, this one is a must, but even if you don't, you're going to come away with some new ideas for how to help students who struggle — even if they don't have an identified learning disability. Thanks to Scholastic Magazines+ and Studyo for sponsoring this episode. To read Nate and Sarah's post, visit 
The rights of parents to choose the best school for their children — also known as school choice — may seem simple on the surface, but it's anything but, and it has the potential to impact teachers and students all over the country. In this episode, I talk with Cara Fitzpatrick, author of The Death of Public School: How Conservatives Won the War Over Education in America. We discuss why school choice is actually pretty complicated, we dig into some of the key groups that have historically pushed for it, and we explore some things concerned citizens can do to ensure that families can still get their children the best education possible. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thanks to WeVideo and The Modern Classrooms Project for sponsoring this episode.  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- To read a transcript and get a link to Cara's book, visit and choose episode 228.
Annotation can be a powerful way to improve comprehension and increase engagement, but its effectiveness can vary depending on how it's taught. In this episode, two teachers share their classroom-tested approaches to teaching students how to effectively annotate texts: 3rd grade teacher Andrea Castellano and high school English teacher Irene Yannascoli.  Thanks to Listenwise and Studyo for sponsoring this episode. To read a full transcript of this conversation, visit  
If your school is lucky enough to have a full-time certified librarian, it's likely they are not being utilized to their full capacity. In fact, yours may be one of a growing number of schools that are eliminating librarians altogether, and that is a terrible idea. In this episode, I sit down with four accomplished librarians — K.C. Boyd, Barbara Paciotti, Lauren Mobley, and Karina Quilantan-Garza — to explore all the ways a certified school librarian can make teachers' work easier, more efficient, and more effective, and to make a strong case for why every school needs one. Thanks to WeVideo and The Modern Classrooms Project for sponsoring this episode. To read a full transcript of this conversation, visit and choose episode 226.
Many states are seeing record high numbers of teacher turnovers and vacancies. While the problems that caused this shortage have not gone away, there are groups of people who are coming up with some creative ways to address this situation, new and surprisingly affordable pathways for training good, enthusiastic teachers. Two of these programs are Oxford Teachers College at Reach University and Educators Rising. In this episode, educator Kimberly Eckert talks with me about how and why both of these outstanding programs work. Thanks to Edge•U Badges and EVERFI for sponsoring this episode. To read a full transcript of our conversation and find links to all the resources mentioned in this episode, visit
Crying in front of your students can be a humiliating experience. Not the kind that happens when you're moved to tears by a poignant story or you react to upsetting news; those moments can actually bond you to your students. It’s the kind that comes from frustration, shame, anger, or loss of control. It might be something you experience as a new teacher, but it can also happen well into your career. Regardless, if it happens to you, it can shake you up. In this episode, I share a few thoughts that might help. Thanks to Edge•U Badges and EVERFI for sponsoring this episode. To read a written version of this episode and find links to all the resources I mention, go to
It's happened to so many teachers: You teach your heart out. Really just knock it out of the park. Then you ask a question all students should know the answer to … and nothing. What's going on? In this episode, educator and writer Blake Harvard offers four possible explanations for why we get the blank stare, along with four solutions that will help us see a lot less of it. Thanks to Edge•U Badges and The Modern Classrooms Project for sponsoring this episode. To read Blake's article, go
As our student population grows ever more diverse, many schools haven't been quite as successful as they'd like to be when trying to connect with students' families. If current efforts aren't working, it's time we tried a different approach. In this episode I talk with Nawal Qarooni, author of the new book Nourishing Caregiver Collaborations about the specific approaches teachers can take to more authentically involve families in their children's education  Thanks to Listenwise and Khan Academy Kids for sponsoring this episode. For links to Nawal's book and a transcript of this conversation, go to and choose episode 222.
When high school English teacher Dan Tricarico started taking photos of his colleagues, he didn't expect them to create new bonds among his staff. Teachers rarely get an opportunity to have their humanity and uniqueness showcased in this way, but these beautiful portraits do just that — and anyone with a smartphone can do the same thing for the teachers at their school.  Thanks to WeVideo and The Modern Classrooms Project for sponsoring this episode. To view the full portrait gallery go to and choose episode 221.
Standardized testing has, without a doubt, created a lot of problems in education, and far too often, our conversations about these problems end in statements like "we need to just get rid of them all" or "Oh well, nothing we can do to change things." In this episode, education researcher Jenn Binis joins me to talk about a different approach to solving the problems around standardized testing: moving away from all-or-nothing thinking and towards the idea of reducing harm. Jenn offers 5 specific strategies educators can take to make things better. Thanks to NoRedInk and Edge•U Badges for sponsoring this episode. Read Jenn's full blog post by going to
It's a brand-new year, and to celebrate the launch of the 10th edition of our Teacher's Guide to Tech, we're exploring 8 tech tools that are worth a look in 2024. I'm joined by my team of ed tech geniuses — Brandie Wright, Lucia Hassell, Kim Darche, and Marnie Diem — to talk about a collection of tools that can make your teaching richer, more efficient, and more satisfying. Enjoy! Thanks to WeVideo and The Modern Classrooms Project for sponsoring this episode. Check out the 2024 Teacher's Guide to Tech at
As a teacher, you probably find yourself in situations pretty often where you're made aware of a student having needs or challenges that exceed what your school typically offers them. The list of student needs in so many schools is never-ending, and your desire to help meet them is probably pretty strong, too. But attempting to meet these needs on your own — to become a kind of "savior" to your students — can not only lead to burnout for you, it's also not ultimately that helpful to the student long-term. In this episode Alex Shevrin Venet, author of the book Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education, returns to talk about the danger of getting into a savior mentality when helping our students, how to tell if you're slipping into that kind of thinking, and how to shift toward healthier and more helpful ways of thinking about and approaching student needs. Thanks to NoRedInk and The Modern Classrooms Project for sponsoring this episode. You can find links to Alex's book and a full transcript of our conversation at
Our classrooms have the potential to be spaces where we learn how to have conversations about challenging topics with respect, curiosity, and kindness. Contrary to the voices that say race is not an appropriate topic for school, in this episode we're saying just the opposite. My guests are Matthew Kay, author of the book, Not Light, But Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom, and Jennifer Orr, Kay's co-author of the follow-up book, We're Gonna Keep On Talking: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Elementary Classroom. I talked with Matt and Jen about the value of discussion as a teaching tool, the elements that are necessary for creating a healthy ecosystem for race conversations, some strategies for having these conversations in organic and authentic ways, and a message for teachers working in states that are hostile to conversations about race. Thanks to NoRedInk and The Modern Classrooms Project for sponsoring this episode. You can find links to both books and a full transcript of our conversation at
I have no new strategies or tools or books to share with you this week. Nothing new to implement. Just a simple call to action for administrators to start giving your teachers more specific, genuine positive feedback. They need it.  Thanks to NoRedInk and The Modern Classrooms Project for sponsoring this episode. You can read this podcast as a post at
Cooperative learning can be a powerful learning strategy, but only if it works well. In this episode Connie Hamilton, author of Hacking Group Work, returns to the podcast to share 17 small changes you can try that will make group work more effective in your classroom. Thanks to EVERFI and Verizon Innovative Learning HQ for sponsoring this episode. You can read a full transcript of this podcast at
At a time when student behaviors and attitudes seem more troubling than ever before, we may need to approach their behavior in a different way, too. In this episode, Alex Shevrin Venet returns to talk about unconditional positive regard, a philosophy that offers students care no matter what — they don't have to earn it, and nothing they do can make it go away. This approach can transform some of the most difficult student-teacher relationships, but it's not easy. Venet shows us how it works, why it works, and how teachers can get the support they need to navigate it.  Thanks to Listenwise and EVERFI for sponsoring this episode. Read the full transcript and find links to Alex's book, Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education at
Giving students time for reflection on their learning is so good for them: It builds their metacognitive capacity, it teaches them to take agency for their own learning, and it helps them and YOU see more clearly what they have learned and what they need next. But when we have so much other stuff to do, reflection often gets shoved out of the way. In this episode, high school teacher Marcus Luther returns to share a simple, completely free system he developed for giving students regular time for self-reflection. It's a year-long document we're calling a Learning Story.   Thanks to Listenwise and EVERFI for sponsoring this episode. Read Marcus's full blog post about this strategies, view images, and grab a free Learning Story template at    
When it comes to teaching kids how to read, what is the big debate about? And what does research say we should be doing? In this episode, literacy expert Jen Serravallo and researcher Dr. Kelly Cartwright help us understand the different perspectives on effective reading instruction and what research says teachers and school leaders should be doing now to help kids learn to read. Thanks to EVERFI and Verizon Innovative Learning HQ for sponsoring this episode. You can read a full transcript of this podcast at
Students who have learned enough English to do well socially may still need scaffolding to thrive academically. In this episode, I talk with Tan Huynh and Beth Skelton, authors of the book Long-Term Success for Experienced Multilinguals, about the specific strategies teachers can use to help these learners reach their full potential across the curriculum.  Thanks to Grammar Gap Fillers and Giant Steps for sponsoring this episode. You can read a full transcript of this podcast at
Comments (17)

Marta Wiliams


Feb 5th

Freida Bowlby

Students don’t need to be taught how to use a search engine or read a newspaper. They already know how to do those things. They also know how to use social media, so it's not as if they need to be told what a hashtag is or how to share content on Facebook. The problem is that many students don't understand the importance of developing their media literacy skills. They don't understand how important it is for them to develop these skills and the impact it will have on their future career prospects. They do not even know about and their value in offering required help in their academics. If you want your students to become highly employable, you have to teach them about media and news literacy.

Jul 19th

saa aad

grap distractors attention by asking them about the lesson, a question they can answer without being embarraced , they're back on track thank you

Nov 4th

Susanne Greenwood

thank you!

Jul 25th

Rick Costello

you lost me with this one. I had been listening to this podcast for nearly two years until you sided with the terrorists burning our cities and terrorizing Innocent people for the color of their skin or having political ideologies right of Lenin. Have a nice life.

Jun 19th


Absolute must listen for all teachers who want to hone their craft. Invaluable information. especially with the pandemic... you need this podcast!

May 31st

Leyre Pinero

w aww, qqw

Oct 14th

Brad Camroux

as a student teacher I found that what I wore could significantly impact my confidence in the classroom. Best advice? Dress professionally and enjoy the confidence boost.

Jul 4th

Lauren Taylor

I LOVED this podcast!!!! Really makes you think about how the classroom shouldn't be a teacher begging for a students participation and respect! I cant wait to try this box method of behavior management with my next class! THANK YOU!

May 8th

mechele newell

the sad part is that those teachers were not prepared to work with the kids and the needs that they had.

Mar 30th

Neha Goyal Gupta

just wow.. love you so much for spreading such great knowledge.. . i m sure the mysery of children in schools is going to change with ppl like you devoted to the cause

Nov 29th

Brad Camroux

Think-pair-share is indeed a useful method of student engagement. We use it often in my classes as I prepare to enter the classroom as a teacher. Seems silly at first, but when done well is quite helpful and you can learn a lot.

Oct 3rd

Carla Reissman

my first time listening to your podcast. great topic. I'm going to go out and buy the book.

Jun 5th

Ashley Prata

in love with your podcasts!!!

Jun 1st


This is a gold mine for a new teacher!! Thank you!!!

May 31st

Adam Stryker

As always, Jennifer Gonzalez never disappoints. She is The Nation's Staff Developer (my unofficial title for her). If only she could be Superintendent of the "United States School District" ... you know, if that we're a thing. 😁

Sep 24th
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