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Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers

The podcast designed to speak encouragement and truth into the minds and hearts of educators, and get you informed and energized for the week ahead.
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Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers
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Now displaying: February, 2024
Feb 18, 2024

There has been a significant increase in mental health issues among young people in America since 2012, including anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicide attempts, and suicide. Contrary to popular belief, these trends started before the pandemic, with rates of major depression among teens doubling between 2011 and 2019. Girls and young women are more likely to experience these issues, and the gender gap has been widening.

The introduction of smartphones and social media around 2012 is believed to be a major factor in the decline of mental wellbeing, as it has led to less face-to-face interaction, increased sleep deprivation, and constant exposure to social media.

Dr. Jean Twenge has conducted extensive research in this area. She’s a renowned psychologist and scholar who specializes in generational differences and technology based on a dataset of 39 million people, and has published more than 180 articles and books.

In our conversation, Jean emphasizes the need for conversations about healthy phone and screen habits, as well as the importance of setting clear rules and boundaries for phone use.

We talk extensively about getting student and parent buy-in around Jean’s recommendation that cell phones be banned in school from bell-to-bell, including during lunch time and breaks. Jean asserts that the research supports this policy, and emphasizes that it should be school-wide and not left to individual teachers to enforce. 

Despite the challenges, we discuss our hopes for Gen Z and what makes Jean optimistic about the future. She encourages educators to take the mental health crisis seriously and understand that it is not just our perception or feeling that something is wrong.

Her challenge is for educators to help students understand the love-hate relationship they have with their phones, and provide structure and clear rules to help them navigate technology in a healthy way.

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion.

Feb 4, 2024

“Making a conscious and intentional effort to tap into your own personal power and being courageous” is the way today’s guest defines “teaching like yourself.”

I’m talking with Dr. Gravity Goldberg, whom you might remember from a 2019 interview I did, which ended up being one of the most downloaded Truth for Teachers episodes ever. It’s Episode 171, called “Teach like yourself: Why YOU are the person your students need most.”

Gravity has over 20 years of teaching experience, including positions as a science teacher, reading specialist, third grade teacher, special educator, literacy coach, staff developer, assistant professor, educational consultant, and yoga teacher. Gravity holds a B.A. and M.Ed. from Boston College and a doctorate from Teachers College. As the founding director of Gravity Goldberg, LLC she leads a team that offers side-by-side coaching and workshops that focus on teachers as decision-makers and student-led instruction. 

Since our last conversation, Gravity — who has authored 9 books on teaching — has released a new title called Active Learning: 40 Teaching Methods to Engage Students in Every Class and Every Subject, which she co-wrote with the late Barry Gilmore. 

We touch a bit on that book and what Gravity’s working on now, but I thought of this conversation as a “Teach Like Yourself, Revisited”. I wanted to know how her thinking has changed around this topic, and the role authentic teaching plays now. Listen in as we discuss:

  • How “teaching like yourself” (making a conscious and intentional effort to tap into your own personal power and being courageous) is more important now than ever
  • What Gravity has learned about authentic teaching and learning since publishing her book on that topic Has she changed her mind on anything? What would she add?
  • How teachers can integrate engagement strategies in a way that feels authentic and meaningful, rather than just tossing something into their instructional day because they think (or are told) they should
  • The impact of authenticity on students, and specific, practical ways we can make sure students are able to be their true, authentic selves in the classroom

Click here to read the transcript and participate in the discussion.

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