When experts with similar perspectives share their thinking on social media, their conversations can sometimes go far beyond "likes" on a particular platform. This is how the idea for the podcast 'Les ingénieux pédagogiques'got its start. The initiative is now an ongoing collaborative endeavour bridging educational theory and practice in order to improve teaching and learning in the classroom. In this conversation with Professor Eric Dionne and teachers, Alexandre Audet and Martin Parent, we learn how the adventure began, where the project is now, and what lies in store for future episodes.
Tell us how you came up with the idea for your podcast?
DIONNE: We met by chance on social media (Twitter). I first exchanged with Alexandre Audet (a graduate of our Faculty) who then introduced me to another alumni, Martin Parent. We quickly realised that we had a lot in common and the idea came to us to bridge the gap between theory and practice by producing videos. This is essentially the objective we are pursuing. We do this by discussing articles that have captured our interest and trying to explain them in order to bring researchers into the reality of the classroom and to bring practitioners into more research-based teaching. Our philosophy is to focus on what we think is important for students in the classroom. So our little group is anti-hierarchical, passionate and non-conformist! What is interesting, too, is that my two companions are graduates of the Faculty who continue to make contributions to the field of education. They even go so far as to offer guest lectures in my undergraduate courses on the evaluation of learning. We share our podcast on different platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Spotify and Twitter and YouTube.
During the pandemic, you joined forces with other podcasters from across the province. Can you explain the value of this kind of collaboration for education, especially in francophone contexts across Canada?
AUDET: I think it's important to show that there are a lot of voices and resources for talking about French-language education in Canada. It's no secret that the media (podcasts or written publications) are more developed on the English side. So to get together and talk about a subject we are all passionate about – pedagogy – shows that no matter where we practice in the country, our experiences are similar. Especially when it comes to teaching in a minority language setting.
Which three episodes are the most downloaded and why do you think they have been so popular?
PARENT: The results vary according to the platforms, but there seems to be a particular interest in episodes related to school motivation, such as the episodes ‘Ten conditions to motivate our students,’ ‘Assessing without discouraging,’ and ‘Assessment and motivation.’ Whether you are a researcher, a teacher, a principal, a parent, a politician, a student, or any other actor in education, it is obvious that understanding the conditions that motivate a student to want to improve and learn in the school context is important. This interest may even have been heightened during the pandemic; when it was more difficult to notice levels of school engagement and motivation from a distance. It is also possible that it is a matter of devotion that makes these episodes stand out in particular! Certainly, the subject of motivation, and the evaluation that often accompanies it, is one we are particularly passionate about!
Your conversations are about building bridges between theory, practice and learning in the classroom. Given the current issues in education, what do you each envision for future episodes?
PARENT: We will always invite authors and teachers to joing the conversations on our podcast in order to create a dialogue between theory and practice. Our goal is to have practitioners and researchers positively influence each other. Some of the topics we are passionate about are the professionalisation of education and the impact of cognitive science in education.
AUDET: I'd like to see some thought given to the growing role that artificial intelligence will play in our schools and classrooms. Since the release of ChatGPT, many teachers are panicking: "What are we going to teach them if the machine can write a science-fiction story in less than a minute? We are at the beginning of a new era in education and it will be interesting to see how we can use (instead of fighting) artificial intelligence to improve teaching and learning for all.
In the ecosphere of conversations about francophone education in Ontario and other parts of Canada, ‘Les ingénieux pédagogiques’ is a must-listen podcast for both new and seasoned teachers, as well as for researchers and education policy makers.
Alexandre Audet is a graduate of the Faculty of Education and a middle school teacher of French, English, and History in a francophone school board in Ottawa. He holds a Bachelor's degree in History and Education and a Master's degree in Sociology of Education. His educational philosophy focuses on empowering students to take responsibility for their own learning. His goal is to help his students become lifelong learners.
Eric Dionne is a full professor in the Faculties of Education and Medicine at the University of Ottawa. He also holds the uOttawa-ISM Research Chair in Medical Education (L'Institut du savoir de l’hôpital Montfort). His research interests include the development and validation of data collection tools to measure or observe simple and complex learning. He is also interested in modelling test scores and knowledge transfer in the field of edumetrics.
Martin Parent is a Faculty of Education alumni and a school board consultant in Eastern Ontario. He has worked as a science and mathematics teacher in the intermediate and senior divisions for several years and has held a position as a Number Skills Lead in an Ottawa high school. In his coaching with faculty members, he hopes to highlight the "why" of effective teaching as well as promote intentional, research-based pedagogy. His Master's degree in Neuroeducation has shown him the many bridges that can be built between cognitive psychology research and the classroom.