Friday, September 18, 2015

Student Engagement: "Your Students Should Need Bibs!"

Okay, so now I'm on post overload, but I couldn't help but write about what has recently ignited my passion for education. Last night I tuned into the Teacher Blab Show with Bow Tie Guy & Wife.  If you haven't heard him talk, you are in for a little Southern twang, but a lot of real talk. He doesn't sugar coat anything, but rather slaps you in the face with what needs to be done in education. The most inspiring was his take on student engagement. I thought I'd pass a little of his wisdom on to you: 
  • Student engagement is not all about the tools you can give students. It's about the attitude YOU bring in.
This is something that we often forget with the push to try new strategies and implement new technology.  You can buy every piece of technology, every app, every type of curriculum and you may not see all students engaged.  That's because student engagement is fostered by what YOU bring into that classroom. Your life may be a mess (I know mine is half the time), but that cannot show when you step foot into the school environment.  Put a smile on your face, take a deep breath, and know that this is your chance to make a difference.  Your students look to you to bring out the best in them.  Bring high energy, exude passion, and make kids WANT to come to your class. 
  • Teachers need to defeat ignorance by developing curiosity in their students.
What is the role of education?  Everyone may have a different answer to this question, but I think we can all agree that we, as educators, need to make sure that we are developing intelligent productive citizens in society. Ignorance plays a role in so many of the issues we have today.  Part of this may be because we haven't taught students to question what is being told to them.  We just expect students to listen to what we tell them and to accept it as fact.  Our role as teachers is not to be the all knowing power, but rather to teach students how to learn, how to question, and how to make judgments based upon information they are given. Breed curiosity in your students. Excite them with how you present your lessons. Make them want to know more. Encourage them to ask questions.  Then, give them the tools they need to develop their own understanding of the content we present to them.  
  • You should be the most interesting and powerful thing in that classrooms. 
If you were a fly on the wall in your classroom, what would you see?  Would students be looking around the room?  Would they be watching the clock and wondering when they get out of class?  If the answer to this is "yes" then we really need to think about our approach to how we teach our students. In order to truly engage students we need to demand their attention. Talking louder and getting mad at them for not paying attention does not work.  Instead, we should be the most interesting thing in the room.  As Bow Tie Guy put it, "Your students should need bibs to wipe the drool off their chins".  That may be a slight exaggeration, but truthfully, how can we expect students to be engaged if we don't make what we are teaching the most interesting thing in the room?  Show your students you care and make the information you are teaching intriguing and relevant to them. Dress up, do cartwheels, sing, dance, conduct trials, the list goes on an on, but the point is, without student engagement, we can't expect students to learn what we need them to know! 

No comments:

Post a Comment