Posted by: Nesha Milicevic
“The words that describe student engagement to me are passion and excitement” (Barkley, 2009).
It is well known that the enthusiasm a teacher shows is one of the crucial elements in Student engagement, and is essential in being an effective teacher. The engagement that a Student shows is a good antidote to declining motivation and performance. If my presentation of the subject matter is done with passion and excitement, most of the Students will get excited about it, which will further motivate them to learn. In order to better relate Students to learning, I really like using real life examples. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, there are many ways I can think of a “hook” – something that will capture the interest of the Students and get them involved. It is important that the examples are relevant to what we are learning. I also like to bring in Guest Speakers, people that have been in the industry for a while, and have the knowledge and expertise to deliver a clear message. I find that this really creates excitement in the classroom, and increases enthusiasm to learn. “When students are motivated to learn, they naturally acquire the skills they need to get the work done.” (Sir Ken Robinson, 2009). As an educator, if you are passionate about a specific topic, you should take the time to share this with your Students. Passion and excitement can be very contagious, and you will be able to pass this on to your classroom. Teachers should have a good feel of the classroom, following a schedule is important but, it is equally important to set aside time for what is valuable to Students, and for what the best way for them to learn is. Incorporate passion-based learning, and allow Students to be in control, find the time to allow them to design their own schedule, this will allow you to view their interests and moving forward you can incorporate some of that into the lessons that you will be teaching.
Our ultimate goal as an educator is to increase the Students interest in learning, and do it in a way that is useful and stress free. The idea is to increase the passion and excitement for learning, so that Students can retain the information and apply it to a real life situation. Good communication and being approachable, as well as listening to them and their ideas, is the foundation for enabling Students to learn new things, and increases their enthusiasm. Building a classroom environment where Students are respected and feel comfortable expressing their ideas and perspectives provides a setting for optimal learning. It is also very important to keep the atmosphere in the classroom light and humorous. A fun environment adds passion and excitement, and helps increase the Student-teacher communication and bond, which is a very important factor in learning. “Laughter reduces stress and anxiety, increases self-esteem and self-motivation” (Berk, 1998).
The bottom line is that a good teacher is one that can inspire Students to feel passionate about learning. I encourage my Students to challenge me, this pushes the Students to think for themselves and solve problems. Instructors need to demonstrate the passion for the subject that they are teaching, and pass this passion on to their Students. When the Instructor demonstrates this passion, it is natural that the Students get excited and will show that they actually want to learn. It is not about lecturing, it is about learning. Just following the textbook will not do it; Instructors need to make their classrooms feel like a two-way street, encouraging discussions and conversations. This will push Students to find answers and will further enhance their curiosity. An Instructor also needs to be supportive of the Students; the best way of doing this is to connect with them in class and after class. If a Student feels that you truly care about their success it will definitely enhance the passion and excitement for further education and learning.