Our new podcast on the history of education

Posted on 13-02-2023

My last few posts on this blog have all been about the future of education and the impact of artificial intelligence models like ChatGPT. But in the last few weeks I’ve started a podcast on the history of education. My co-host is Elizabeth Wells, the archivist at Westminster School, and it’s being hosted by Teacher Talk Radio.

We’ve released two episodes so far.

English public schools: Today, public schools are some of the most exclusive institutions in England, but they were originally set up to educate the poor. How have they changed over time, what’s stayed the same, and are they at risk of pricing themselves into irrelevance?

Working-class autodidacts: Before the advent of free state education, working-class people had to educate themselves and they often did so with remarkable success. This episode looks at amazing cast of characters including the best-selling author Catherine Cookson, the great inventor Michael Faraday, and the mathematician George Boole, who laid the foundations for the modern internet. They all educated themselves and ended up achieving great things. Their stories suggest the power of knowledge, but at the end of the episode I consider the best argument against the ‘knowledge is power’ argument, and ask if there is a darker side to self-education.

The third one will be out next week and is on the history of educational innovation. You can listen to them on Teacher Talk Radio, Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.  I hope you enjoy them.