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Education in the Media, Leadership and Activism

Action Steps for 2011: Teaching Out Loud

I love to think in broad, idealistic (sometimes naively optimistic) terms and so the call to identify specific action steps for 2011 is a good exercise for me! I have sat back with more than a certain degree voyeuristic envy over the past few months as the energy, passion and vitriolic spittle has been flying south of the 49th parallel. It would take a great deal more than a documentary or two about education to get folks fired up the way they have been this autumn. I’m not saying that I wish all of the conflict that currently surrounds the schooling enterprise upon our relatively docile population (!), but I’m looking to work with others to light a few sparks around education up here in Canada.

One project that I began last month–and its one that has been rolling around in my mind for a couple of years now–is the development of a podcast series that raises the voices of Canadian teachers to the level where they are heard by policy makers and the formally identified leaders in the field. As teachers, we are often told what we want, but we’re never asked a whole lot about what we think.

To this end, I was able to garner enthusiastic support for the project from the Canadian Education Association. They gave me the go ahead to produce a series of 6 podcasts this year which feature teachers talking about some of the issues facing those who call school home. The Teaching Out Loud series will be accompanied by a blogspace and will be promoted in the organization’s magazine, Education Canada.

Our very own David Wees participated in the very first episode, “So What Brings you Here?”, which was posted at the beginning of December. You can have a listen to the results at

This is a bit of a dream come true for me on two levels. First, I have always had a passion for broadcasting. At one time I was set to pursue a training program in the field but was persuaded by my parental units to get a legitimate degree first. I never returned to the idea of formal training, but I’ve always harbored a lustful enthusiasm for everything connected to radio. The opportunity to find my own voice through podcasting is something very exciting.

Second, I believe that the teaching profession is often cast as a type of monolithic organism–one that breathes the same breath, thinks the same thoughts and values the same things. I know that this isn’t true, and I really believe that through allowing individual teachers to tell their individual stories, a greater sense of why teachers are not interchangeable widgets might emerge.

So, that’s my concrete action step and, although it began as a seed of thought in 2009, became a proposal in 2010, I fully expect it to take flight in 2011.

If you’re a Canadian teacher, and you would like to contribute your voice to the project, I would love to hear from you!

About Stephen Hurley

After working for over 30 years in Ontario's public education system, I continue to work passionately throughout Canada, still very committed to the idea of effective, powerful learning experiences for all participants. A musician, technology-watcher, father, husband, I find life in the world of education, even when the conversations get a little contentious. If I were to be doing anything else right now, it would be hosting my own syndicated radio program on--you guessed it--education. I blog in a few spots. My personal blog can be found at I can also be found hanging around and, most recently, I can be found on twitter as @stephen_hurley


5 thoughts on “Action Steps for 2011: Teaching Out Loud

  1. Great plan! Good luck and I look forward to listening to some of the podcasts in the future.

    Posted by David Britten | January 1, 2011, 7:44 am
  2. Excellent, Stephen – thanks for taking on such a positive project.

    What issues do you think need to be more visible and understood by schools’ stakeholders?

    Happy New Year!

    Posted by Chad Sansing | January 1, 2011, 9:35 am
  3. What issues do you think need to be more visible and understood by schools’ stakeholders?

    I think that I can answer that in one word: complexity. I’m not confident that the complex reality of schools is understood by everyone. The rather simple and straight narrative threads that have been woven through the spate of edu-mentaries in the past year indicate that we still believe that the learning process, and the schools that are meant to embody that process are linear.

    If we could get people thinking of schools as a type of eco-system, and exploring how that metaphor applies to schools and schooling, then I think we might be on the right track.

    You take student and teacher voices out of the equation and you lose that sense of schools and classrooms being living, breathing organisms.

    That would be my first shot at answering that question.


    Posted by Stephen Hurley | January 1, 2011, 9:45 am
  4. Go! Want to hear about it.

    Posted by Kirsten | January 4, 2011, 5:11 pm


  1. Pingback: Blog 4 Real Education Reform – The Sequel « Cooperative Catalyst - December 31, 2010

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