Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Does Your Classroom Inform, Inspire, and Entertain?

Sketchnote by @woodard_julie

I recently had a conversation with someone who was preparing some remarks for an event where he was receiving an award. I was asking him about his speech, and he said he was aiming to inform, inspire, and entertain. I thought that was spot on. He laughed and said he heard that somewhere, and just thought it was really true about a good speech.

It made me think of school and learning. Teachers really must try to do those things also. In my first year in the classroom, I taught 7th grade social studies, but the next year I moved to the high school to teach English. When I was interviewing for the high school position, the principal asked me how my approach would be different working with older students. 

I said I didn't think I would have to entertain them as much. The principal objected. She said you need to be just as creative and engaging with the older students. It was really good advice.

Some teachers really hate the idea of entertaining. Not everyone feels like they are cut out for that. And some don't feel like they should have to do that. 

But I think all three are important, including an element of entertainment. It's probably more true today than ever. In fact, edutainment is actually a thing. Look at TED talks. They are extremely popular because they inform, inspire, and entertain. The most popular ones do this extraordinarily well.

Sometimes, I think we get in a pattern of only informing or delivering instruction but don't focus on how we are going to inspire or entertain. All three of these are needed to really make learning irresistible. 

We need to inform to increase understanding and make meaning.

We need to inspire to infuse learning with a sense of meaning and purpose.

We need to entertain to ignite the wonder, awe, and whimsy of learning.

I challenge you to think about your classroom. How are you seeking to not only inform, but to also inspire and entertain? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I want to hear your thoughts to take the conversation deeper.
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