windows mirrors and doorsRudine Sims Bishop describes the power of literature to provide students with “windows, mirrors, and doors.” Like other instructional texts, our podcast collections can offer windows, mirrors, and doors that illuminate people’s experiences and enrich learning.

Podcasts that serve as mirrors can validate students’ identities and experiences. Research indicates that instructional materials that do this are critical to engagement and deep, meaningful learning.

Podcasts that serve as windows may build background knowledge (necessary for reading comprehension) and understanding of diverse perspectives.

Finally, podcasts that serve as doors can foster empathy and other skills that build competency in social awareness as defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Learn more about how you can use Listenwise to apply the CASEL framework to teach SEL skills at this blog post.


Listenwise has published seven collections that explore aspects of people’s identities:  

Our content philosophy guides our story curation and the instructional materials we create. Our new collections can be used to develop literacy skills while fostering social and emotional learning and encouraging consideration of diverse perspectives on a range of topics and issues.

In order to best enhance academic learning with our new collections, which provide students mirrors, windows, and doors to explore identities, we suggest teachers consider the following tips and resources:


#1 Define and Discuss Identity

Teaching students the term “identity” and doing developmentally appropriate activities to consider their own and others’ identities may help students prepare for learning with audio stories that offer them windows, mirrors, and doors. The synopsis of our original Shaping Identity collection provides helpful talking points for teachers, and the collection includes stories about individuals facing conflict related to their personal and social identities.

Check out the additional resources below for activities and lessons that are appropriate for different age groups. 

Check out this clip from one of our past webinars that shares strategies for using Listenwise podcasts and videos to help English learners see themselves in books, as well as teach them about the lives of others.


#2 Reflect and Select Accordingly

Choosing appropriate instructional resources can be influenced by different student and community populations, times of the year, current events and issues, and/or curriculum topics. We encourage teachers to reflect on the two questions below, scan our new identity collections, and check out our related blog posts before selecting audio stories.


#3 Plan and Prepare for Success

Thoughtful planning and preparation can help to ensure that academic, social, and emotional learning (SEL), and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals are achieved while using podcasts to provide windows, mirrors, and doors. Teachers can use Listenwise’s DEI/SEL Lesson Plan Worksheet, which includes helpful DEI/SEL integration reflection questions and resources) and our related blogs for assistance as they plan and prepare for success. 


Learn how to add instructions on empathy into your lesson plans with our blog post, “Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Classroom With Podcasts.”