Podcast & Blog

TheCoffeeProf Podcast: Essential Elements of Teaching

How my first podcast began as a student assignment

“Professor Larimer. Do we really have to record a podcast episode?!”

I was surprised by the question from my university student on our first night class together, yet, as I paused before responding. I understood the concerns behind it.

While I was excited to explore an alternative assignment to the conventional research paper for my university course Teaching H.S. English Language arts, I had failed to consider how such a departure into loom daunting to an English major accustomed to literary analysis. After all, it was a completely novel skill in addition to learning new content relating to pedagogy in high school classrooms.

Nevertheless, I immediately made my case for podcasting as representing a validly authentic form of expression along with the value of interviewing as a necessary skill for teachers embarking into their classroom observation hours. Never would I have expected the tables to turn as they did a couple months later.

DEFINITION: “Dogfooding” : a designer sampling their product or experience from the perspective of user/consumer

While I’d been very familiar with the idea of modeling the reading/writing skills and inner learning processes with my students, the idea of dogfooding was a bit different. “Dogfooding borrows from the world of technology design by allowing the designer of a product or experience to test it as a user. It revolves around completing the experience and process from beginning brainstorm to final draft of an assignment required of my students. I’d partially done this in years prior, but this has been the first year I fully committed to this practice. Mind you not every assignment, but some of the important ones! Remember:

  1. it’s about showing how you also struggle with the writing and learning process, but how to struggle productively.

  2. Also! It’s about testing the troubleshooting and testing process and experience through the vantage point of the student.

  3. Finally, it helps with noticing the clarity or confusion of your directions and instruction from the perspective of the audience.(Gonzalez)

Once the closure of schools had stripped my university students and teachers of the future of their opportunity to observe high school teaching. I knew my fate was sealed with my earlier commitment to the value of podcasting, I myself set out to begin the process of preparing and recording my first podcast episode. Fortunately, in hoping to interview many different educational experts ranging from Dr.s to authors to instructional coaches, I had a rare opportunity -we all were thrust into the world of zoom meetings.

That’s where my journey began, but now having filmed a series of six interviews, I’d like to share a few important discoveries that might offer encouragement and advice to any amateur podcasters out there:

5 Tips for the Amateur Podcaster (like myself)

1. Read & Research deeply as you craft a topic outline

(this enables you to even the playing field of your discussion with your guest-you can guide interview from a position of preparation not ignorance)

2. Revise Topic Outline by adding guiding questions WHICH YOU THEN SHARE WITH ANY GUESTS

(topics are entry point the questions give you a direction)

3. “Et Tu Technology:” Emotionally prepare for WHEN technology will betray at you’re most vulnerable; NEVERTHELESS, STILL REHEARSE a PLAN B - it could be difference between a productive struggle and a complete failure

(learned the hard way as my family hears me shouting guttural sounds of frustration from study)

4. Allow for and Embrace the moments of discovery and exciting tangents in the natural course of your podcast conversations and monologues

(the best trips always feature some exploration and bushwacking off the planned path)

5. You only need the the complexity of technology to match the complexity of your task

(after looking at all kinds of different software my Luddite self returned to recording zoom meetings -and only branched to editing software when needed)

While I’d never imagined my first earnest foray into the world of blogging & podcasting would be due to this crisis reminiscent of some a dystopian novel. I plan to continue contributing to my podcast and blog; both as a means to publish my writing and research AND as a means to “dogfood” and model the writing and media skills that I encourage my students to practice.

Gonzalez, Jennifer. “Dogfooding: Do You Do Your Own Assignments? | Cult of Pedagogy.” Cult of Pedagogy, 10 June 2015, www.cultofpedagogy.com/dogfooding/. Accessed 20 May 2020.

EdTech as Vehicle for Teaching/Learning: The Importance of Simplicity, Functionality, & Connectivity

In this CoffeeProf. Podcast episode, I discuss pedagogy & Edu. technology with Lupita Duhart (Educational M.A. in Digital Learning, former Instructional EdTech Coach, and currently Middle School Teacher during "the online year" in American Public k-12 Education).

Together we explore how to provide access to all learners in designing learning with educational technology with simplicity, pedagogical functionality, and connectivity as top priorities.

The Art of Engaging & Supporting Adolescent Learners

A Conversation with Dr. Jill Hamilton-Bunch Associate Dean of Ed: Point Loma Univ. and literacy reform consultant

Coaching Young Writers

Part 2 of Conversation with Dr. Jill Hamilton-Bunch

Focusing on the Essentials in Teaching

A Conversation with Dave Stuart Jr. (Author of These 6 Things: How to Focus Your Teaching on What Matters Most)

Equitable Grading Explained & Explored

A Conversation with Dr. Josh Kunnath. An Educator leading grading reform in the Kern High School District

Classroom Management 2.0 Building Relationships & Learning Community (proactively)

A Conversation with veteran educator & instructional coach: Eric Olinger on a radically new approach to classroom management

Restorative Communication Tools for Addressing Student Misbehavior

Part two of my conversation with Eric Olinger where we explore how to strategically address student misbehavior in a way that seeks address issues constructively rather than punitively

Instructional Design: Theory & Practice

A conversation with instructional coach and educator Mindy Montanio where we explore defining the difference between Universal Design for Learning & Differentiation, and explore the anatomy of a lesson plan

Pedagogy & Technology

A conversation with Instructional Coach & Google Certified Educator, Troy Witham. We dive into the challenges of leveraging tech as a tool while addressing the many challenges (ironically since I'm forced to abandon my video feed and go to only audio with a weak connection :)

#1 teaching & writing mantra

Educational Story in Brief

  • Began as after school middle school sports coach

  • High school English Teacher @ Independence HS

  • Speech & Debate Coach @ Independence HS

  • Adjunct University Professor of Composition & Pedagogy @ CSUB

  • Leader in Reading Institute for Academic Preparation at CSUB

Educational Degrees & Credentials

  • B.A. in English (specialization in Linguistics)

  • M.A. in English Composition & Rhetoric

    • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Writing

    • Member of Alpha Chai - National College Honor Scholarship Society

  • CA Secondary English Teaching Credential

Extra Highlights

  • Resolutions Writer for California Association of Teachers of English (2019 & 2020)

  • Presenter at California Association of Teacher's of English 2016 Conference on Teaching Academic Discussion

  • In 9 years as Speech & Debate Coach at Independence HS. I've been fortunate to coach

                • 3 students to KRFL (Kern Debate League) Champions

                • 19 Students to the CA State Championship Tournament

                • 4 Student to the National Speech & Debate Tournament

(that is not to say I'm a great coach, but simply I've had the honor of coaching some exceptional students!)

Beau Larimer

Personal Story

Interestingly enough, I was actually born overseas as a missionary kid (I've grown up to be a devout Christian), came back to CA as young child, and grew up as oldest of six children out on our family farm.

As son of P.E. teacher, I'm an avid amateur athlete & sports fan (basketball especially). Love doing anything outdoors (biking, backpacking, exploring nature whenever/wherever!

Avid Reader: Love to read. Always looking to broaden my horizons with fascinating new characters and ideas, but especially big fan of mystery / thriller (fan of Jack Reacher series!)

Aspiring Writer & Always Inquiring Researcher both in fiction and educational resources.

Life Long Learner: My Grandfather used to occasionally pay my brothers and I the teasingly sarcastic YET also encouraging complement: "you're a gentleman and scholar of the highest order." While I certainly don't embody that epithet perfectly, I do strive to live with integrity in life and scholarship.