By Roser Salavert, Ed.D., Director Fordham PDRC
The Chat & Network Series was started at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic to afford leaders a chance to hear from each other, share ideas, problem-solve, and meet new peers online. Being part of these sessions enabled participants “to lead with empathy and presence while caring for our deepest self” from the safety of home during those unprecedented and uncertain times. After a few months, it was evident that these events were successful in fostering networking and communication among leaders from various religious and independent schools. Then, how could the Fordham PDRC advance this small but growing professional community of education leaders?
The answer was the Chat & Network Podcast. For those unable to join the Chat & Network sessions as they happen, these podcasts provide a helpful and engaging recap, and allow educators to listen while commuting, or running errands.
By listening mindfully and with intention, we can extend the feeling of being connected to a group of like-minded educators while taking some well-deserved time to do something for yourself. And according to a recent study, podcasts can even boost one’s mood!
Who is listening to podcasts? We have been listening to radio shows and news programs since the 1930’s, but the podcasts, a term that refers to content that is distributed as audio files to be played at a listener’s convenience, are still relatively new, only dating back to the early 2000’s. Since then, their popularity has grown drastically. According to a study from Pew Research Center, in 2021, 41% of Americans aged 12 and up listened to a podcast in a given month (1). That’s around 100 million people!
What are the benefits of listening to podcasts? The convenience of listening on the go is a major appeal of a podcast, but that alone does not explain the success of this medium. Podcasts are an easy way for people to feel connected to others, to hear new stories or learn new information. As materials scientist and engineer Titi Shodiya, who hosts the podcast Dope Labs, explains, “Consuming information can activate your mesolimbic pathway, also known as the ‘reward pathway,’ releasing dopamine, throughout the brain. This ‘feel-good’ chemical is responsible for pleasure and lighting up your mind's reward centers.” Podcasts can also sooth the brain, with less external stimuli than one would get from watching TV or being on their phone, releasing oxytocin, a chemical associated with empathy, trust and building relationships (2).
Characteristic of a Quality Podcast A quality podcast is defined by 5 essential characteristics (3), and the podcasts created by the Fordham PDRC strives to meet each of these criteria:
We encourage you to check out our Chat & Network Series and make podcasts part of your daily routine.