Halla Holmarsdottir discusses her DigiGen project, which focuses on the impact of digital technology on the lives of children and young people primarily in Europe.

Today we look at counter narratives to Teach for All, the global network of affiliate organizations that recruit people to make 2-year commitments teaching in high-need schools.

Most children are now out of school because of the pandemic. How should we think about teaching and learning during the crisis? How can we ensure the basic needs of students continue to be met out of school? And can digital learning teach the whole child?

My guest today is Armand Doucet, one of the world’s foremost pracademics and teachers in education for the Digital Age. He has recently co-written a report with Deborah Netolicky, Koen Timmers, and Francis Jim Tuscano entitled Thinking about pedagogy in an unfolding pandemic: an independent report on approaches to distance learning during Covid 19 School Closures.

I spoke with Armand from his home where he was taking care of his son while speaking with me.

Teach For America developed an alternative teacher education model that spread not only around the United States but also across the world.

My guest today is Rolf Straubhaar, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and School Improvement at Texas State University. In his latest article in the Journal of Teacher Education, Rolf looks at the Teach For All affiliate in Brazil called Ensina! In our conversation, Rolf explores the history of TFA, the motivation of people to join the program, and how their perspectives changed over time

Citation: Straubhaar, Rolf, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 176, podcast audio, October 14, 2019. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/rolfstraubhaar/

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Teaching is a profession that must respond to the changing social world. From new technology and curriculum reforms to privatization and climate change – teachers are on the front-lines of a complex system that has huge consequences for the future.  In this context, what is it like to be a teacher today? How do teachers manage the competing pressures?

My guest today is  Armand Doucet, an award-winning teacher recognized around the world. Nominated in the Top 50 for the Global Teacher Prize, Armand is a high school history teacher in New Brunswick, Canada and the author of the new book Teaching Life: Our Calling, Our Choices, Our Challenges.

Citation: Doucet, Armand, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 170, podcast audio, September 2, 2019. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/armanddoucet/

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Unions are on the front lines of advocating human rights. That puts them in natural collaboration with non-governmental organizations doing the same. Amnesty International is one such NGO that has strong ties to global trade unions.

Today I speak with Shane Enright(@ShaneEnrightTU), a Workers’ rights campaigner and global trade union adviser at Amnesty International. He recounts various campaigns organized by Amnesty that have tried to pressure governments to release some teachers held prison. He also talks about climate change and the September 20th general strike.

Citation: Enright, Shane, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 169, podcast audio, August 26, 2019. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/shaneenright/

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In the second installment of our focus on the big issues facing education unions, we focus on union renewal.

My guest today is Howard Stevenson,  Professor of educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Nottingham. He has researched teacher trade unions around the world to try and understand the best way to revive the power of unions. In our conversation, he talks about his findings and contextualizes the state of education unions.

Citation: Howard, Stevenson, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 167, podcast audio, August 12, 2019. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/howardstevenson/

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Education International is the global federation of teacher unions, representing some 32 million teachers worldwide. Every four years EI, as it is commonly known, holds a World Congress to determine its policies, principles, programs, and budget for the future. It is also where the President, Vice Presidents and General Secretary are elected to new terms. The World Congress this year was composed of some 1,400 delegates nominated by and representing member organizations.

I had the privilege of attending EI’s World Congress where I met and interviewed people from around the world. Over the next 2 months, FreshEd will air some of my conversations. My hope is that these interviews will show unions in their complexity. Profoundly democratic, unions struggle to figure out how best to address the biggest issues facing the world today in ways that have material consequences for the lives of teachers and students.

But unions are often misunderstood. Right-wing politicians and capitalist elites have systematically tried to destroy the labor movement for decades. These attacks on unions have decreased union membership, lowered public opinion, and even found union leaders and members harassed, imprisoned, and – in the most extreme cases — killed. I actually met some teacher union members at the World Congress who recently got out of prison. Fearing for their safety, these members could not join me for an interview, but their stories stick with me.

So to kick off our mini-series focused on the big issues facing education unions today and into the future, I begin with a two-part show. The first part is a short interview with Susan Hopgood, president of Education International and  Federal Secretary of the Australian Education Union (AEU). She explains what the world Congress is and some of the big issues being discussed.

In the second part, I interview Sharan Burrow, the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, which represents some 207 million workers in 163 countries and territories.

Citation: Hopgood, Susan & Burrow, Sharon, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 166, podcast audio, August 5, 2019. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/susanhopgood-sharanburrow/

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