Podcast 94: Teaching Knowledge, Skills and Cultural Literacy


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E. D. Hirsch At Policy Exchange Education Lecture

Joshua McGovern

Joshua McGovern has been working with Teacher Toolkit since March 2018. He is responsible for our Soundcloud and iTunes channels and is the production manager for podcasts. He has a degree in Music Production and is a graduate of Leeds Beckett University. Aside from working...
Read more about Joshua McGovern

Can our schools explicitly teach pupils skills, and how do they become speech communities?

Our 94th interview is with Eric Donald Hirsch, an American educator and academic literary critic. Founder of the Core Knowledge Foundation, Hirsch is most known in the U.K. for his work on cultural literacy.

In this podcast, listen to E. D. Hirsch and  Teacher Toolkit founder, Ross McGill discuss:

  • How Hirsch became interested in children’s contextual understanding of language in the classroom
  • Why he ‘stays away from gurus and turns towards scientists’
  • Black colleges in America and their role in evidencing cultural literacy
  • What is meant by the term ‘knowledge-rich’
  • The knowledge bases of language and why ‘skills’ itself, is knowledge.
  • Child-centred education and student accommodation
  • Hirsch also busts a few myths about influencing Michael Gove and Nick Gibb
  • Why we can’t leave children’s learning to chance and how to mitigate this outcome
  • The construct of the ethnicity and the need for a group ethnicity in schools,
  • Theoretical and pragmatic tips for teachers, and
  • Learn more about Hirsch’s new book “How To Educate A Citizen.”

Listen to the podcast (32 minutes)

Remember, you can listen to our podcast on iTunes!

E. D. Hirsch highlights that in order to understand, we must create classrooms which are speech communities. In order to have a knowledge base, you must have the language base, and one cannot exist without the other.


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