Political Podcasts for Social Studies Classrooms

Best Political Podcasts- https://resonaterecordings.com/2019/01/political-podcasts/

Dr. David Childs, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University

Today’s political climate can be tumultuous and taxing to the average person when witnessing the constant fighting between Republicans and Democrats. If there is one word that describes the political situation of our country right now, it is divided. The two major political parties can often be seen on the various news outlets in heated debates. They disagree on social issues on all levels. They clash on ideas about race and social class, policing, women’s rights, abortion, marriage and a whole host of other issues. It is truly an unsettling time in history and we wonder how bad things will get. But hope lies in youth and others that want to try to bring about unity through educating one’s self and being more civil and peaceful. However, young people along with the average citizen are often confused about what is going on in the political realm, so they cannot be effective unless they are more educated on the topics. 

The social studies classroom should be a space that can offer some clarity on these issues. With the rapid advance of technology there are more resources than ever before to assist in educating students about political issues on both sides of the aisle. However, with the plethora of media outlets and resources such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, CNN and Fox News, it is often difficult to keep up or know what is going on in our city, state, nation and in the world. One of the roles of the classroom teacher is to help navigate this rough political and ideological terrain. But teachers have to be politically educated themselves and that can prove to be a challenge. The proliferation of new podcasts can offer incredible resources for teachers to prepare themselves for discussions and lessons surrounding various political issues. In turn, educators can bring middle and high school students up to speed on important topics. Many political podcasts stay up to date on current events and thus offer a great resource for social studies classrooms. We have spoken in the past about the importance of podcasts in teaching civics and history. We want to revisit the topic today and offer links to good podcasts that provide information to keep the public abreast on the latest news and current events. 


Political Podcast as a Social Studies Resource
Pod Saves America
Slate Political Gabfest
The NPR Politics Podcast
The Daily
FiveThirtyEight
Pod Save the People
Slate Trumpcast
Political’s Nerdcast
Can He Do That?
Still Processing
NPR- Code Switching

17 Comments

  1. I really liked how you considered the Country today, ‘divided.’ There is no better way to put it, which in some aspects is heartbreaking to think about, especially when thinking about how much the Country is not getting along. It seems as if friendly conversations with differing views are not even a thing anymore, it will just turn into a huge argument. The idea of letting students listen to podcasts is very interesting. I feel as if it will be a good way for students to get differing views of what is going on in the US today in a scholarly fashion. I think these podcasts listed will come in handy one day when I am teaching.

  2. As a teacher, it is very important to educate our students on the current political climate and what that looks like next to an ideal and civil America. The two are very different things right now, but the education and expectations that our youth places on the future state of our country has never been more important. Our students need to know that there is a difference between having an opinion and perpetuating hate and discrimination. They also need to know that civil conversations about these topics are vital in order to aid in the progression of our country.

  3. I really related to how you started the beginning of this article. All I see is both political parties fighting and arguing against each other. Like you mentioned I am very confused on what is going on in the political realm. Social studies classes should be the space where the young get clarity, so I hope for the further the youth do receive clarity in these classes. We need the youth to change the way the political realm is today.

  4. Every word that was written in this article was truthful. Our country is so divided that I fear that our youth will not be able to focus on real life issues rather than political issues. I absolutely love the take on podcasts. More importantly I will use these resources (podcast) in my own social studies classroom. It can allow students to be engaged with a civil discussion that is open to a civil dialogue. This could be beneficial not only to my students but to me as well.

  5. Thank you for this! I am a huge podcast fan; I almost don’t listen to music in my car anymore because I am always listening to various podcasts. While I usually am listening to comedy, or true crime pods, I would love to dive into meaningful and educational pods. I stress so much about learning the content that I will teach in my future classrooms, but I haven’t thought about how essential it will be for me to well-informed on current events. I can’t wait to check some of these out, and maybe even implement them into my future classroom.

  6. I agree that the country seems to be divided, however, I wonder if our use of technology has enhanced this appearance of division. You mentioned the plethora of sources that are beneficial in keeping up to date with political issues, but I think this devision is multiplied by technology as well. We are able to know information almost instantly, and as everything develops, we are almost forced to react immediately to information in order to keep up. This rapid input of news and information can definitely be condensed by the teacher in ways that are educational and influential. Podcasts offer longer form discussions of ideas that are almost the opposite of how we engage with them through social media, and this approach should indeed be modeled to students.

  7. This article resonated with me, as I am studying to become a teacher, because it is important to think about ways to clarify topics for the students. I personally like podcasts, therefore I think using podcasts in a classroom would be a great tool to use to not only entertain, but to educate students too. I also read some of the other comments, regarding this article, and I agree that this is a way to help students understand what is going on, and will hopefully help the younger generation change the political realm.

  8. I agree that opening up conversation on politics to the youth of our nation is a good idea. I believe that it allows students to voice their opinions and learn perspective on both sides. It will not only grow the students individually, but it will also create good habits in generations to come. They will be able to learn to respect all points of view while not always agreeing with what is said. Although some teachers may be biased when opening up conversation, I think it will create a safe environment where students can learn many things about our nation and brainstorm ideas to improve our country and the politics that lie within. Discussing politics in a social studies classroom is perfect because it allows students to not only learn from the past and the present to shape the future.

  9. Political information can change very quickly and I think it‘s crucial for teachers to be up to date on issues. Podcasts are a great resource for both the students and the teachers, but I really liked how you stated that it is a great resource for teachers. As teachers we want to help and guide our students to understand the political realm, whether that be local, state or national government events; podcasts can allow teachers to access new and current information rather quickly and then this political content can better prepare educators for the classroom. I also like the idea of students listening to podcasts, rather than them looking at websites, the textbook or worksheets, they can be actively engaged in listening about current situations in the country. Our youth is very important to the culture of our country and I liked how you stated that is where our hope lies, therefore a teacher’s job is crucial in cultivating that future. As a future educator I want to help my students understand concepts such as history and civics and I think podcasts are a great tool to help them. I will certainly use podcasts in my future classroom for them but also as a tool to better prepare myself.

  10. In today’s society everyone has a different opinion as they have a right to, and there are two sides to every story. As an educator it is going to be important to address every different idea, concept, and side that could be portrayed on a subject. With that being said it is going to be crucial as an educator to have all the information and resources possible to clarify any and all concepts and questions. Podcasts are a very helpful and easy resource as an educator and a student to help keep up with current events and daily occurrences in government, world news, etc.

  11. I completely agree with you that this country is divided. I also strongly agree that students need to be educated and informed instead of sheltered and uneducated. I will say that I had an amazing government teacher my senior year who was great about educating us on what politics are and how they work. He got us involved in current events and exposed us to many different media outlets. I also agree that it’s important for teachers to be educated in order to educate their students. I will say that I think it’s important we talk about politics and have those tough discussions, because maybe this country wouldn’t be so divided!

  12. I agree that this country is “divided” when it comes to politics. However, I think it stems to other major issues as well. Race, gender, religion, etc. This country can’t seem to agree on much these days. But I wonder if the increased use of technology has affected the opinions of this country’s people? We are constantly being fed a plethora of information, most of the time never knowing if it’s completely true. The media seems to have a desire to leave out certain details or try to sway the population one way or another. In regards to the podcasts that you suggested, I appreciate that. As a teacher, I feel that we must be educated about what’s going on in the world around us. It seems like the podcasts that you suggested have a wide range of opinions and information in them. Thank you for that!

  13. Thank you so much for creating this resource! As a future elementary teacher, I know students will hear all sorts of ideas from home, other teachers, coaches and many other adults. I’ll receive questions that are difficult to answer and you never want to give a one-sided argument. (I’ve heard horror stories of parent emails and staff meetings over simple misunderstandings; I would love to stay out of that!)
    With our society feeling educated and opinionated about almost every topic, it’s refreshing to have a well-rounded group of places to hear both sides to every story. Thank you again!

  14. Before reading this article, I did not even think about including podcasts in the classroom to keep students informed about the political state of our country. It is true that politics are divided immensely right now between two parties. As a teacher it is hard to keep up with what is going on in the world around us and doing that in an unbiased way. I think introducing podcasts into the classroom provide students with a way to hear both sides in a constructive manner and aren’t hearing the biases of the teacher teaching them. I believe by opening up this discussion in youth they will be able to fully understand what is going on in the world and fully comprehend how they can make a change, all while being able to make a inference on their own how the believe politics are without being told how they are by someone they know that could have a bias.

  15. Politics can be a very touchy subject in our world today and become a big debate or argument between two or more people. It is extremely important to educate our students on both sides of politics such as Democrats and Republicans. With having social media now, you see a lot of debates going on that have to relate to politics. It’s important for our students to understand the difference between both Democrats and Republicans. By incorporating them into our classroom it allows students to also voice their opinions and thoughts about politics but its also important for all the students to know that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. There are many politics topics that were incorporated in the past but it can also help understand what may or may not happen in the future. Our future is so important to learn about and understand. I love the idea of listening to podcasts that have to do with politics because it also allows you to listen to someone else’s view or helps you better understand politics as a whole.

  16. Educating our youth on the world’s current political climate is important for many reasons. By educating our youth on such topics, we will help them prepare for the future. Learning about current political issues will give the youth a mental image of their future. It will teach them the importance of bringing our divided country back together. They will also learn the consequences of political disagreements and why it is important to stay civil.

  17. After reading this post, it reemphasized my belief that the use of podcasts can have numerous benefits. Like the post stated, there are many conflicts occurring in today’s world. I agree that it is important to learn from these conflicts and share this knowledge with the future generations. I, myself, do not have much of an understanding when it comes to what is going on in the present world. I tend to be behind on any news regarding politics. I believe that by incorporating these political podcasts into my everyday life it would better my overall understanding. Due to this, I highly recommend that educators should read this article to also help their students better their understanding.

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