Podcasts are one of the main ways that I keep up-to-date on news and research in psychology. They give me a chance to learn about topics outside my field, all while keeping me hands free. This allows me to learn about the world around me while commuting to school, working on monotonous data tasks, or doing chores around the house.
After Ciara’s post on using YouTube videos in the classroom, I thought about putting together a list of podcasts for the classroom. Podcasts could be used as a tool for students, to help them make the most of students’ increasingly busy schedules.
[Read on for more podcast resources!]
With that in mind, I started to compile a list of various podcast episodes that I thought could be applied to psychology classes. In the document, there is one master list, accompanied by various sub-topics, like I/O, cognitive, or social psychology. It’s worth noting that I am haven’t taught classes in many of these fields. Rather, as I found new podcasts, I categorized them the best I could to make it easier to look through. I also gave search terms to each, in an effort to make it easier to find material.
You can find my lists of 100+ podcast episodes here. There are a total of nine tabs within the document, organized by category, including a general category that lists all of the podcast episodes within the entire document. Please reach out to me if you have any additions, or think any changes should be made! Ideally, this should become a collaborative list for instructors to contribute to.
Below, I have summarized a list of podcasts that could be used in the classroom. Some of the podcasts are more general, and cover topics ranging from biology to history to economics. Others are more specific to psychology.
RadioLab- RadioLab is a longtime favorite of mine. They cover a wide variety of science topics, including but not limited to psychology topics. Not only do they put out great episodes, but they also make regular updates about previous episodes, in the event that research findings change or evolve.
Scientific American- The Scientific American puts out regular, brief podcasts through 60-Second Science, where they review new research in a variety of fields (including, but not limited to, psychology and neuroscience). They also have a section known as Science Talk, where they have longer episodes about various topics, including this recent one about a person’s struggle with abrupt memory loss. Both are a good way to help you as a teacher keep up on recent research, and help your students learn about current topics in your field.
BBC’s Science Hour- For science educators out there, this is a great way to have students keep up-to-date with the scientific community. They cover a wide range of science topics, including (but not limited to) engineering, the biomedical field, and geology.
Stuff You Should Know- Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant inform listeners on a wide range of topics. They cover topics in history, economics, psychology, medicine, and criminology, just to name a few.
This American Life- An NPR favorite, This American Life has been a staple in my life since adolescence. They talk about a variety of topics, typically related to current events. Their excellent producers always make interesting stories, regardless of the topic.
The Hidden Brain- NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast discusses the psychology behind common human behavior, particularly as it is relevant to current events and pop culture.
Invisibilia- NPR’s Invisibilia is a podcast about the “unseeable forces that control human behavior and shape our ideas”. Many of their episodes are focused on current events or hot topics, and the psychology behind them.
The Psych Files- This was recommended to me on twitter (thanks, Kat Narciso and Steven Jones!). I have only listened to a couple episodes, but they cover many different areas in psychology. They even have episodes dedicated to teachers of psychology! It’s also worth noting that The Psych Files has a ton of other non-podcast resources, like videos, phone apps, and book recommendations.
Speaking of Psychology- The APA’s Speaking of Psychology podcast gives an in-depth and professional point of view on a variety of psychology related fields. Each podcast episode delves into a specific topic with an expert from that field. Moreover, each episode is usually fairly short, which I am sure students would appreciate.
This may go without saying, but always make sure to listen to these podcasts before you share them with your classes. Some of them may be more applicable than others. Also, some of the episodes may not explain a topic in such a way that aligns with your views, lectures, or textbooks. Some, like Stuff You Should Know, may reinforce key terms taught in your class, or discuss topics that you didn’t have time to cover in lecture. Others are broader, like This American Life, and could serve as a critical thinking exercise for your students. I can see many of these podcasts as being supplemental listening material (in lieu of supplemental reading). The topics discussed in the podcast could be used to prompt response or critique papers, relating what they have learned in class to the podcast.
Have you ever used podcasts in your class? Do you have a podcast or specific episode you recommend? Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Written and compiled by Karly Schleicher