If you are interested in making your next English (or whatever subject you may teach) more effective and engaging, please take a few minutes to enjoy this Ted talk by Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover.
Please also read Ten Design Principles For Engaging Math Tasks
What do you think this has to do with your teaching? In my case: English?
A few takeaways from the article that I’m pondering:
- Increase perplexity. (Video: I love the idea of encouraging a more patient approach to problem solving.) I have a feeling that ESL is guilty of making things too simple for learners too. I so identified with the sitcom connection to how we learn and process information. Course books seem to do that packaging nicely. And curiosity? Does that ever happen in English class?
- More effort on hooking and engaging students. I’ve been guilty of not enough hooking lately. I know what it’s like to be busy, and to feel like I don’t have enough time to plan effectively. But: I am in control of my busyness. More importantly: I can manage my priorities to get what matters most to me DONE. One of the things that matters most to me is effective and engaging classes. If I’m too busy to plan, my classes will not be sharp enough to hook and engage my students. Solution: Don’t just do the book exercise. How can you use visuals and other to stimulate curiosity, better conversation or discussion?
- Videos are Powerful Tools – one of my best classes: watching segments of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. Aside from the amazing amount of curse words you can help students figure out (Yes, I’m kidding. ) -Students were instantly engaged. The segments were no more than 10 minutes, so for my adult intermediate students, this was perfect. We watched. Stopped. Talked…and talked…and talked. The context: leadership skills. (Good and bad.) Guessing was a terrific part to this – what do you think Ramsay will suggest? Why? (Grammar context: ‘if’ clauses – If I were him, I would….)
What can and have you learn from other disciplines?