It takes about 15 minutes to drive from Edgewood to Alamo Heights in San Antonio, Texas. Yet the schools in each neighborhood are worlds apart.

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.

In the past few episodes, we have spent a lot of time discussing the future: the future of unions, the future of the planet, the future of propaganda, the future of democracy and so on.

But how can we even begin to conceptualize the idea of future?

My guest today is Noah Sobe, Senior Project officer for Education Research and Foresight at UNESCO. Later this week at the UN general assembly, he will be joining others in the launch of a project entitled “Futures of Education: Learning to Become.” This new project aims to generate global engagement and debate on learning and knowledge in relation to the multiple possible futures of humanity and of the planet. In our conversation, we interrogate the meaning of the future and what this might mean for education.

The past few shows have focused on climate change as being the biggest issue facing teacher unions globally. There are, of course, other big issues. One of them is propaganda. Misinformation campaigns have been on the rise partly due to the turn towards right-wing extremism in many parts of the world. Social media has created new ways to spread misinformation and propaganda, making education a powerful tool to combat the spread of lies and what we might call fake news.

My guest today is Maria Ressa, a Filipino-American journalist and author. Co-founder of online news site Rappler, she has been an investigative reporter in Southeast Asia for CNN and was included in the 2018 Time’s Person of the Year for her work combating fake news. She has been arrested for her reporting on Duterte, the Philippine president, and is currently on trial for cyber libel.

 

Kailash Satyarthi won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for his activism for children’s rights and education. He has been at the forefront of creating and leading global change against child labor and child slavery.

Today I speak with Kailash about his activism and the power of civil disobedience. In the context of the global climate crisis, what can we learn from Kailash’s experiences? Is there a way to mobilize humanity to fight against climate change similar to the way in which he organized hundreds of thousands of people to fight against child labor?

Kailash Satyarthi is a Children’s Rights Activist and Nobel Peace Laureate.

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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How does change happen? What role do unions play in creating decent quality lives for its members? When is more militant action needed?

These questions are asked by all unions. So, in our quest to explore education unions in more depth, I want to explore how transport unions answer these questions. In many ways, the struggles facing teacher unions worldwide are similar to those facing the transport sector.

My guest today is Stephen Cotton, the general secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation. The ITF is composed of 677 national trade unions and represents over 19 million workers in 149 countries. It represents the seafaring, ports, roads, rail, tourism and aviation sectors. In our conversation, Stephen shares his history in trade unionism and reflects on the process of making change. He also talks about the climate crisis as one of the biggest issues facing unions today.

Citation: Cotton, Stephen, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 168, podcast audio, August 19, 2019. https://www.freshedpodcast.com/stephencotton/

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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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