Artwork for podcast Podcast Pontifications
Are You Teaching How To Podcast Or A Podcasting MFA?
Episode 7325th January 2022 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
00:00:00 00:12:37

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As an experienced podcaster, it's only a matter of time before you're

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called on to teach what you know.

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But what will you teach?

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And is it designed to make the next generation of podcasters better?

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Hello, and welcome to another Podcast Pontifications with me, Evo Terra.

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It takes a certain amount of skill to make a podcast, any

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podcast, really, of any format.

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And those are skills that require some sort of a learning process to acquire.

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It's not like podcasting is baked into our DNA, right?

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It's not genetic.

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So, obviously, every podcaster needed at one point in time to learn how to podcast.

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No, not groundbreaking insight thus far, but I promise I'm

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going somewhere with this.

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So I've never taught a real podcasting course.

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I've guest lectured a lot of times about podcasting.

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Some of those appearances, most of them, what I said about podcasting

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to the class was pretty much the only thing they learned about podcasting

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in the entire course that they took.

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This wasn't a podcast-specific course, obviously, more like

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a marketing or communications course, something like that.

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More recently, I've been seeing podcasting taught as a multi-week module, if you

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will, as part of a larger curriculum.

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Then there are also the myriad workshops and seminars and other tightly-focused

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programs I've been asked to participate in over the last seventeen years it's been.

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Now, I'm fascinated by these formal attempts to educate

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the new group of podcasters.

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By that, I mean, the people who take the courses, and it's not

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any slight against people who sign up to take a podcasting course.

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I applaud anyone who seeks to learn a new skill however they

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best need to acquire said skill.

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Nor am I here to cast any shade at all on anybody who teaches.

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Listen, I live with a professional curriculum developer.

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She taught in the public school system for many, many years, and even I

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have taught at the university level.

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So I understand the rigor that it takes to teach something.

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No, what fascinates me about this is the mindset of the students who seek

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out that education and to a somewhat lesser degree, I suppose, how they

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choose to acquire that information.

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Because see, I'm old.

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So everything I know about podcasting was learned on the job, making it

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up, quite often, as we went along.

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A better way to say that is that the accumulation of a wide range of

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skills from many different careers and disciplines and interests over the decades

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informed the kind of podcaster I am today.

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For me, and for those who came up with me in the podcasting space,

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podcasting is just where we wound up.

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I wanted to be an astronaut as a kid, not a podcaster, but here I am

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talking to you instead of prepping for a mission to Mars, but whatever.

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Now here we are some two decades on and podcasting is actually a career choice

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for many, hence the proliferation of classes and workshops that finally

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makes sense today to streamline that educational process for students who

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want to become professional podcasters.

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Classes and workshops that people like you and me might wind up teaching.

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So what kind of educational experience would you provide if you used your

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skills to teach a podcasting class?

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I think a painter metaphor will best explain what I'm thinking.

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So there's a painting that hangs on the wall of this studio.

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That painting depicts a mother turtle and three of her babies crawling over

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the sand, headed towards the surf.

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Nevermind the fact that turtles abandon their egg clutch

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after they lay their eggs.

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This is not a biology course, this is about podcasting, please.

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That painting isn't going to win any awards.

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No, I can promise you that.

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But no one ever walks in here and says, "What is that?

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Oh, right.

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It's a turtle.

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I get it now."

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Come on, it's not that bad.

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I painted that picture back in 2019, and, in case you're

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curious, no, I am not a painter.

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As a matter of fact, that might have been the first time in my entire

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life that I ever put brush to canvas.

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No, I'm not a painter.

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To paint that picture, I took a class to paint that specific picture, that picture.

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I didn't learn how to be a painter, but how to paint that very scene.

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So did every other student in the course that I took.

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We all painted that very same scene with varying degrees of success,

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with beer involved, quite possibly.

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If you ask me to paint anything else after seeing that I have clearly painted

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that picture, I will tell you no.

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I don't even remember how I painted that picture so I couldn't even

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recreate that turtle scene if I tried.

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Now contrast that to the experience of actually becoming a painter.

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No, not a house painter, but a painter of pictures on canvases.

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An arts education is vastly different than what I learned when I learned

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how to paint that one scene, right?

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A student painter, someone who is truly a student of painting, is going to learn how

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to work with, I dunno, oils, watercolors, charcoal sketches, and because it's 2022,

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probably also a variety of digital tools.

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They, the student of the art of painting, will be given exposure

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and training in a slew of different techniques and styles and mediums.

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And over time, what will likely happen is the student will develop their

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own affinity and likely gravitate towards a particular style of painting.

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But they've been trained on many, many others.

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They know how to do more than just that one thing.

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So if you were training the next generation of podcasters, would you teach

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them the equivalent of how to paint a single turtle-based scene, how to make

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one single type of podcast, if you will, or maybe even a single podcast episode?

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Or would you go deep and wide, teaching them the entirety of podcasting, including

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all of the various disciplines and skills that go into making content in our space?

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And is that something you can do?

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Maybe you, too, would need to go back to school to round

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out your own education first.

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There's a lot that we, and I'll include me in this as well, might've

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missed as we made it up as we went along to make our podcasts.

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Welcome to the vast and complex world of podcasting.

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With that, I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.

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Cheers!

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Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra.

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He's on a mission to make podcasting better.

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Links to everything mentioned in today's episode are in the notes

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section of your podcast listening app.

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A written-to-be-read article based on today's episode is available at

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podcastpontifications.com where you'll also find a video version and a corrected

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transcript, both created by Allie Press.

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Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.