Why you should encourage your students to host podcasts

A secondary school student shares her experience of hosting a podcast – and explains why others should give it a go
11th December 2020, 11:36am
Amber Cavallaro

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Why you should encourage your students to host podcasts

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/why-you-should-encourage-your-students-host-podcasts
How School Students Can Benefit From Hosting Podcasts

I moved to the Netherlands from California this July and being in a new country with a new language and not knowing anyone - all in the midst of a pandemic - has been hard. 

But the opportunity to be a student host on the podcast A Little Bit of Genius has reminded me to keep pushing through because you can accomplish great things, no matter the circumstances.

For those who are unfamiliar, A Little Bit of Genius is a podcast where students put big questions to all sorts of amazing world experts from different backgrounds, including a best-selling author, an Oscar-winning filmmaker, Olympic gold medalists and many more.

The podcast hosts, myself included, are all students from Nord Anglia Education schools based all around the world. 

High-profile podcast chats

For the current series of the podcast, we've chosen a theme of resilience, which is a topic everyone can relate to these days due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

My co-host Alex and I were fortunate to be able to interview two incredible guests for the podcast: Bertrand Piccard, a hot-air balloonist and pioneer in renewable energy, and Marlon Devonish, a gold medal-winning Olympic athlete who is now an elite performance coach. 

These guests were booked to appear on the show thanks to Nord Anglia's global network of schools. Bertrand is an alumnus of Collège Champittet in Switzerland, which is a Nord Anglia school.

Marlon now coaches students at the British International School Shanghai, Puxi, also a Nord Anglia school. With help from our teachers and Nord Anglia leaders, we were able to easily connect with our guests on Zoom.

Taking a chance

Alex, who is in my class at school, approached me about doing the podcast with him. Normally I consider myself to be somewhat reserved, but, because of that, I am a really good listener.

I love learning about other people and seeing where their lives have taken them, so I was fully on board with the idea of being a podcast host.

And with these guests, I was not disappointed.

They each had such amazing stories to share. I've always been an advocate for combatting the damaging effects of climate change and I've been an athlete my entire life, so I was particularly excited to be able to talk to experts that I could relate to and who I was interested in.

Students hosting podcast

                                       Alex and Amber hosting their podcast

Bertrand Piccard's interview was particularly motivating because he has accomplished so many exceptional goals in his life, despite some people telling him he was crazy for even considering them.

Inspiration to achieve exceptional goals

And hearing how Marlon Devonish did physical exercises where he pushed himself so hard that he wanted to pass out was inspiring. It made me remember that part of being human is the ability to push yourself to do anything, so long as you give it your all. 

Because they have such different lives and accomplishments, it certainly kept me on my toes and showed me that there's no single way you can prepare for an interview, even though we had lots of questions prepared beforehand.

Fortunately, I did have some prior experience in public speaking and theatre, which aided me in being a host. However, doing scripted plays on stage is very different from an interview, since you can't always know what's going to come next as you don't quite know what your guest is going to say. 

Use your connections

As someone who grew up as an athlete and is part of a generation that is pushing to take climate change more seriously, talking to such inspirational people was an experience I will never forget. I would love to do it again before my time at my Nord Anglia school is done.

Any school thinking of doing something similar should definitely go for it - you'll probably find you have lots of interesting potential guests if you use alumni networks perhaps, or ask if anyone knows someone famous.

Being a podcast host isn't something I expected to do while still in high school, but learning how to be comfortable speaking to others and to ask questions is a great life skill to learn.

It has also helped me become a bit more confident, as taking the risk to do something new like this has really paid off.

Because the virus has meant that I can't do sports or most of the normal activities I'm used to, hosting A Little Bit of Genius has also been a welcome change of pace. 

I hope it also provides a bit of happiness and encouragement to anyone who is having a hard time right now, because it sure did for me. 

Amber Cavallaro is a senior student studying at Nord Anglia International School Rotterdam. To learn more about A Little Bit of Genius, visit the podcast page here or listen on any of the popular streaming sites, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTube.

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