Renovating Our Lessons To Engage Students

Sally Byrd

EDET668 Essential Question:

How do we keep our Lessons engaging? Does innovation play a part in this?

Lessons that reach the students must have interaction where the students’ are drawn in to participate in learning. Teachers need to change their focus of standards to students as their audience. Innovation must take place continually throughout a teachers’ career to keep students engaged in learning.

Lessons need to be engaging to students with active learning that requires high level thinking, so the focus should be on the students oppose to focusing on the standards that they will be tested on; this can be done in a variety of ways. In Washington.edu’s article “Center for Teaching and Learning” they say we can engage our students with their peers, with us or with props through problem solving. Teachers need to intentionally plan on interaction during their lesson. They need to ask themselves this question while creating each lesson “How are my students going to interact?” Ellen Ullman, in her article “How To Plan Effective Lessons”, says we need to know our students enough to use their interests to teach the concepts.   In order to engage our students we have to imagine we are in their shoes during the lesson and picture how they are feeling. Are they being drawn into the lesson? Or are they falling asleep to the routine that had been created? As teachers with audience that is forced to be there we need to raise our standards of teaching to creating an environment that the students want to be there; they want to be engage; as Dave Burgess said in his book, “Teach Like a PIRATE”, if we taught this lesson on Saturday would the students come to hear it?

This requires a good amount of creativity that requires teachers to step out of their comfort zone and be ready to fail as finding pathways to success. Another important step according to Ellen Ullman, is we need to share our experiences with our peers. Our peers can share, use or modify our lesson/technique to their subject/class.   By sharing we can grow and become better teachers together, with the focus on engaging students in learning.

As teachers we need to listen more to our students. We need to learn more about them so we can use their interests to draw them into lessons. With those lessons we can have “dynamic Discussions” and this can happen with proper planning suggests Washington.edu article. These two points of listening to students and dynamic discussions will cycle growth in teaching relevantly to the students by continually having the students discussion will reveal more about the students as well and be incorporated into future lessons.

In our lessons we need to always have the end in mind according to Ellen Ullman. We need to keep our focus on the concepts the students’ are suppose to walk away with. As we build the lesson we have to look at the lesson from the receiving end and make sure the students’ will see themselves in the lessons. They need to be able to relate to it. In theguardian article, “A teacher’s guide to immersive lessons”, suggests that teachers use music to draw in the emotions of the audience. They also suggest that we use visuals to “immerse the students into a topic quickly”. The students need help with props to bring reality to the lesson. The more immersion the students experience, the greater the memory of the lesson. As Burgess points out in his book, students should be talking about the lesson long after the lesson is over. The lesson should trigger thinking in the students, which brings the students back for more.

We must challenge our students so they will grow in knowledge and experiences.   This will happen with teachers listening and planning to engage students into their lessons through their interests, interaction with peers, instructor and props. With this we can have dynamic discussions and challenge the students to think on higher levels. So, the lessons need to innovate through music, planning to engage students through relevant lessons. Our greatest challenge I’d like to bring to an end with is in the Ellen Ullman’s she quotes Kelly Cedo, “Remember, we are preparing our students for jobs we don’t even know about yet.”

Reference List:

Ullman, E (2011). How To Plan Effective Lessons. Education UpDate. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/newsletters/edcation-update/oct11/vol53/num10/How-To-Plan-Effective-Lessons.aspx

Findlater, S (2013), A teacher’s guide to immersive lessons. theguardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/aug/07/teaching-immersive-engaging-lessons

Burgess, D (2012) Teach Like a PIRATE. Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. (San Diego, CA)

Findlater, S (2013), A teacher’s guide to immersive lessons. theguardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/aug/07/teaching-immersive-engaging-lessons

Burgess, D (2012) Teach Like a PIRATE. Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. (San Diego

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