Listening to learn: Why ‘Ear Hustle’ stories about prison life is so engaging to students

“I used to be one among [those] youngsters that discovered to learn manner later,” stated Woods. “I used to be the category clown to keep away from being within the conditions of studying, being within the conditions of math, so I’d simply act out.”  

Equally, Poor writes about how she had dyslexia and undiagnosed studying disabilities that made college tough despite the fact that she was naturally curious. “I’ve carried that with me. That concept of being informed that I wasn’t good, that I could not do issues, that I used to be bothersome as a result of lecturers needed to clarify issues to me over and over,” she stated. 

With a podcast that’s already wealthy with actions for younger learners, “That is Ear Hustle” gives extra accounts from incarcerated and previously incarcerated people who college students can discover within the classroom.

How podcasts construct writing expertise

Benjamin Bush, a Kentucky-based highschool English trainer, began utilizing Ear Hustle in his class as a result of he was in search of a brand new strategy to have interaction his college students. “The largest drawback that I feel that it addresses is apathy. Getting somebody to only begin engaged on one thing is the toughest,” stated Bush. 

Ear Hustle drew in his learners as a result of it allowed them to take heed to voices aside from his. They may hear from a variety of individuals featured on the podcast and relate to their experiences. “We bought to know the backgrounds of their lives and the issues that they’d struggled with by poverty and trauma, which impacts plenty of our children,” he stated. 

After every episode, Bush’s college students did a associated writing task. “It allowed me to reimagine what a textual content is in a classroom and the way multimedia exists in a classroom in the identical manner {that a} novel or a play would.” For instance, “Cellies” examines the dimensions of a typical jail cell (Woods’ was 5 toes by ten toes at San Quentin) and how you can negotiate the house with a cellmate. “All of us have roommates in some unspecified time in the future in our lives,” writes Woods in his ebook. “We additionally wished the topic to be one thing that everyone might relate to—whether or not they had been in jail or in society.” In school, Bush and his college students used rulers to measure out the dimensions of a cell and did artistic writing about what it could really feel wish to inhabit the restricted house with one other individual.  

For one more task, Bush introduced in further articles about solitary confinement, sentencing tips and parole guidelines for college kids to gas their classroom conversations about jail programs. Later, college students might select to jot down a persuasive argument piece about one of many points they talked about. 

After listening to “Catch a Kite,” an episode about receiving letters, college students had the chance to jot down a letter to somebody within the podcast. In a single letter, a pupil talks about how he identifies with how his letter recipient wanted to commit crimes to assist his household. One other pupil wrote about how “Thick Glass,” Ear Hustle’s episode about parenting, helped her perceive dynamics inside her circle of relatives. “Her father had been out and in of jail,” Bush stated. “She wrote in her letter that Ear Hustle allowed her to check her father as a superb father. She was capable of see him as redeemable in a manner that perhaps she hadn’t earlier than.”

Connection and a way of not being alone in onerous conditions are key emotions that Woods hopes to go away with younger individuals who take heed to Ear Hustle’s tales. He additionally thinks these connections assist younger folks develop into higher learners. “You possibly can profit from somebody’s story,” he stated. “You possibly can have a unique perception on one thing that may enable you navigate by your life.” 

Kinetic studying and listening

Ear Hustle co-host Nigel Poor has introduced the podcast into her images lessons at California State College, Sacramento, saying its concentrate on storytelling primes college students to decelerate and construct essential expertise in observing. “I take advantage of it to speak about storytelling and compassionate listening and constructing empathy, which I feel are instruments anyone wants it doesn’t matter what they’re finding out.”





For her class, Ear Hustle is the premise of a kinetic studying expertise to assist college students take note of different invisible tales. She’ll inform college students to go for a stroll exterior and discover one thing discarded on the bottom that attracts their consideration. Selecting up deserted bits and items is a part of Poor’s artwork observe, and when she first began volunteering at San Quentin, she would acquire issues from the jail’s parking zone. Within the ebook, she describes the lot as her “searching floor.”

In school, she’ll invite college students to carry again their discovered object and share a narrative they’ve created about it. “It sounds bizarre at first, but it surely will get folks to attach with their creativity and the associations that they make with objects and experiences. And that is, to me, the place tales begin.” She’ll then transfer into taking part in clips from Ear Hustle and discussing what folks hear in them and the way she and Earlonne put episodes collectively.

“There’s a lot [emphasis] placed on the top end result,” stated Poor about schooling. “Listening and pondering is definitely a sound exercise. So I like to speak about that, and I like to speak about methods to drag tales out of individuals and provides folks the boldness to speak about themselves.”

Utilizing hands-on studying to grasp programs

Danielle Devencenzi, assistant principal at St. Ignatius School Prep highschool in San Francisco, begins her legal justice class by taking a look at main laws that formed the U.S. justice system resembling California’s Three Strikes Sentencing Regulation, the 1994 Crime Invoice and landmark US Supreme Court docket instances. “Twelve years in the past, I began to take my college students to San Quentin to essentially perceive the social justice points dealing with our jail system in California, particularly mass incarceration,” she stated.




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