Engaging Students through Podcasts


My name is Ted Izydor and I am a licensed alcohol and drug counselor converted to teacher of Introduction to Alcohol and other Drug Studies at UW-Whitewater for two years. I have really enjoyed teaching, but I have been frustrated and discouraged at times with designing classroom activities which really engage and educate students of the new generation.  It seems cell phones, computers and distractions are often the classroom norm.

So I made a commitment to myself at the start of last semester to try to do something about it.  I decided to give up some of my frustrations in favor of embracing technology and innovation.  Put simply, I asked myself the question, “why couldn’t students be highly engaged in the college classroom and have assignments which meant something to them.”  Of course this quest was met with both failures and successes, but I did find some real winners and wanted to share one with you.  I think this assignment would be great for anybody that teaches in the psychology, education and social work fields and wants to help college students understand the dynamics of addiction and recovery more.


I. Find an addiction/recovery podcast episode

Being an addiction podcast host myself, I developed a list of addiction podcasts students could listen to for their assignment. Here are some recommendations from my Full Potential NOW podcast:

Other addiction/recovery podcasts to consider:

II.  Write a reflection based on questions

Each student would reflect and answer questions related to this podcast.  The questions relate to themes/critical issues around addiction and recovery from alcohol and drugs.  I was surprised at the participation rate of this as well as the insight/effort shared in the responses. Feel free to use or pass on to others.


1. What podcast did you listen to?

2.  How did this person change their life from addiction to recovery?

3  What were the major themes related to their recovery story?

4.  What were the key positive impacts on their life and why they choose recovery?


III.  Share reflections in class as part of a discussion

Let us know if you used the activity, if you adapted in some way and what your students think!





About Ted Izydor - LPC, CSAC, ICS, MINT 62 Articles
Ted Izydor holds both a Master of Counseling Psychology and Master of Business Administration. With a distinguished 20-year clinical therapy background as a mental health and addiction counselor, Ted offers techniques, strategies and approaches that produce changes. As the founder of Full Potential Coaching and Consulting of Wisconsin, he devotes himself to sharing this knowledge and insight to people seeking more fulfilling, happier and healthier lives.

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