Do you want to keep up with the latest culturally responsive pedagogical strategies and thinking, but cannot squeeze yet another book into your shelf? Look no further than Tan Huynh’s “Teaching MLs” podcast, which focuses on sharing the perspectives of the most innovative educators in the field of multilingual learning. Best of all, it’s free, and perfect content for your commute, lunchtime walk, or whenever you find its best to listen to a podcast. Tan’s podcast has over 150 episodes, with new content added weekly.
I have personally found podcasts to be very “hit and miss” in terms of content and quality. Some podcasts seem to barely scratch the surface of their topics, focusing a little too long on conversation and not nearly enough time on the topic that drew me to listen in the first place. Tan does a great job of balancing the banter with substance, making every episode feel like something between a friendly conversation and a keynote address.
This podcast is excellent not only for the topics featured – translanguaging, multilingual assessment, dual language schools, science of reading, and Chat GPT, just to name a handful – but the incredible speakers that most educators will recognize from their professional libraries. John Hattie, Jim Cummins, Ayanna Cooper, Margot Gottlieb, John Seidlitz, and Gholdy Muhammad are just some of the “educelebrities” you will encounter on the podcast.
Tan manages to bring out useful insights and conversations from renowned speakers and experts that will make a lasting imprint on your thinking and pedagogy. Personally, I have found it an excellent resource for summarizing big topics like phonics based instruction, balanced literacy, aritificial intelligence, and and teacher collaboration. Tan connects the research and ideas of his interviewees to his own experiences as a multilingual educator, English learner, and language learner, layering his ideas and perspectives onto the work of renowned researchers and educators in the field. Even when speakers are not completely focused on the topic of multilingual learning, Tan does an excellent job of connecting the topic back to English language pedagogy.
Listening to an author or expert speak about their work also helps me to better understand things I have read, and sometimes even compels me to re-read, deepen and consolidate my learning.
I was fortunate to meet Tan in the fall of 2021 when he accepted an invitation to be a virtual guest speaker at our board’s annual conference for ESL/ELD teachers. He joined our planning meetings and conference from Thailand, where he was likely tuning in at what should have been his bedtime. He turned out not only to be a confident, knowledgeable, and talented presenter, but unbelievably kind, humble and easy to talk to. His presentation on Translanguaging continues to impact my work and the work of my fellow PETL colleagues: we still get comments on how informative and practical his presentation was.
Tan’s dedication to the work of multilingual educators is inspirational and exciting. In a moment where it can seem more challenging than ever to be an Ontario educator, we need professional learning that will affirm and enhance our practices. Check out the Teaching MLs podcast on your favourite streaming platforms. His website also contains great resources and a blog!