Learning Alongside Students
During some classroom observations this week, I stopped by a few classes while they were watching a movie, and I was reminded of this from Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess:
I missed a couple days of school recently and had my substitute teacher show a video. Upon return, several students complained that it just wasn’t the same watching with the sub. I said , “What do you mean? The whole period was going to be spent watching the video whether I was here or not.” To which one of my students replied, “Yeah, but you always pause the video to tell us cool things and build up anticipation for what’s coming. You make little comments the whole time. We like that you watch and react to the video with us. It’s just different when you’re here.”
That eye-opening conversation offered dramatic proof of the significant difference personal power, attitude, and full presence of the instructor has on the learning environment. An instructor who is fully immersed in the moment has a special type of intensity that resonates with great power in the classroom, regardless of the activity.
I want us all to be fully present every day. This is true whether it’s while watching part of a movie, during a class activity or discussion, or even while students are working independently. Rather than grading papers, checking email, or working on lesson plans, we need to be fully immersed in the moment and learn alongside our students. If we show we’re interested, then students will be interested, too.