Lets Get Real

I thought the readings this week were great.  This was really the kind of things I was hoping to read and discuss as part of Contemporary Pedagogy: the nuts and bolts and ways we can improve our teaching.  I think most of us have our idea of what a “good” teacher is from our experience as an undergrad and grad student.  I think there are great things we can learn from the teachers we’ve had, but the danger is that we end up thinking those techniques define what makes a good teacher instead of a symptom of being a good teacher.

I like the idea of being our authentic self when teaching.  A couple semesters ago i had a teacher who was filling in for the semester for the regular professor.  He was very knowledgeable on the subject, but he chose to use the exact class notes the normal professor had used for years.  It was quite evident that the class notes did not match up with how he would have taught the class.  You could see him fighting with himself at times and also getting lost.  I remember one day, though, where he kind of stopped and decided “I’m going to teach this the way I would like to teach it” and the difference was palpable.  He clearly was more enthusiastic about what he was saying and his enthusiasm rubbed off on us and was motivation to pay more attention.  I think it’s important to remember that there are lots of ways to be an effective teacher, but they will only be effective if they suit us as teachers.

I was going to end there, but I was thinking of things that were a little out there but helped me be more engaged in class. One I thought of was a professor who had “80s movie trivia” every Friday or so.  It was awesome, even though I knew almost none of them 🙂  Just a small, 1 minute-long something to break up an hour-long class session and get people re-engaged.  I might have to switch to “2010s movie trivia” for my students, but maybe it’s worth a try.

9 Replies to “Lets Get Real”

  1. Thanks for your post! I agree — when teachers try to mimic others, it often doesn’t work. It is important that whom we are as teachers aligns with whom we are as people. No “fake-ness” allowed! I also like when teachers do fun little breaks like that. They definitely help break-up the monotony of class and can help us refocus for the next part of class.

  2. Thank you for your post! I glad the teacher had a chance to change his teaching style to his own way. I truly believe that each teachers have their own teaching styles, but sometime institutions require us to use same class materials or syllabus from my experience. That’s no gap a teacher put their creativity/style in teaching, but the university did that because of quality control reason.

  3. What a great example of a small thing that can be incorporated into a class that can make a big difference! I love hearing about those kinds of things. And what a great example of why it is important to be true to who we are and how we do things. Thanks for the post!

  4. Thanks for your post! A good reminder to always be yourself, and find your own teaching voice that will translate into a better classroom environment.

  5. Thanks for your post. You brought important points about authentic teaching. I had similar experiences that some of the teachers tried to mimic others styles, but the students did not follow them willingly. Some of them decided to twist to their own style and it helped to get the students attention effectively. Thanks

  6. Thanks for your post. I totally agree that people have their own teaching style and mimicking another instructor’s notes does not lead to an efficient way of teaching.

  7. You raised a fascinating point that our perception of a good teacher stems from our experience, but there is no guarantee that these experiences are sufficient to be a good teacher. I think there are several ways to become a good teacher, we need to learn from experience and re-evaluate our performance in this continuous process.

  8. Thanks for the post! Yes, gamification of the course matter resulted in some of the most enjoyable days of K-12. First responders really like to use jeopardy matches for after meeting trainings to the same effect.

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