We live in a world that’s become used to being stimulated by the wonders of technology. So how are we as teachers supposed to draw the attention of our students to subjects that they don’t even seem interested in?
High school teacher, Ramsey Musallam, suggests that the only way we can get through to students is by perplexing them to the point that they will want to ask questions. We can be the ones to spark their interest.
It took Musallam 10 years of teaching and a life-threatening heart condition before he realised boring lessons and scripted teaching were not reaching his class. The doctor that performed heart surgery on Musallam inspired a new way of thinking about education – the surgeon dove deeper into his studies because of his curiosity. He wanted answers to his many questions relating to the human biology. Musallam would use this as a new approach to teaching that would spark the desire within his students to ask questions learn.
Today, Musallam uses 3 rules when putting together a lesson plan:
1. Curiosity comes first
“Questions can be windows to great instruction, but not the other way around.” Ramsey Musallam believes that a lesson needs to start with a question. Students switch off as soon as they feel they’re being lectured on something they didn’t want to know about in the first place. Rather use visual tools, like science experiments and creative presentations, to persuade questions from your students. Now you’ve got their attention.
2. Embrace the mess
Learning is not necessarily something that comes naturally to everyone. This means that there’s going to be trial and error, and that’s okay. Don’t be too frustrated when your learners don’t get it the first time. Failing until you get something right is often what makes a lesson memorable. At the end of the day, we are here to teach, not just inform.
3. Practise reflection
Revision is essential when you want to make sure your students not only understand, but are confident in what you’re teaching them. When you feel your lesson has gotten across to your learners, re-visit the summarised points just to make sure that it’s ingrained.
Ultimately, we want to bring life to our lessons, giving students a reason to want to learn. We need to see importance in what we are teaching before we expect a learner to. Teaching with passion is how we go about doing this. Passion sparks passion.
Be cultivators of curiosity, and let that drive your teaching.