It has been said that a speaker must know their audience before they are able to truly connect with them. How much more so for a teacher knowing his or her audience, their students? As educators, what are we doing to not only engage our students with our teaching but also engage our students with us?
It is ever too easy to view my students through the lens of my own learning experiences when I was their age. The problem with that line of thinking is that I am viewing current culture through the paradigms of the past. Dan Pink, who writes about the changing world of work, said it well: “We need to prepare kids for their future, not our past.” A great thought worth reflecting upon.
In learning about this generation of students known as Generation iY, I have found some great resources by leadership guru Tim Elmore, author of the Growing Leaders website. In a recent post, Tim shared some very worthwhile thoughts in Do Engaged Teachers Produce Better Results? I would challenge you to take a few minutes and read his post. One reason I really enjoyed this post is because I resonate with its message. As teachers, it is easy to get immersed in being an engaging teacher in a dynamic teaching environment yet miss the most powerful of all teaching tools: relationships.
Relationships are key in helping to shape and guide the heart of a student and not just the head. An engaging classroom is extremely valuable and important to me as a teacher, but my “special sauce” is being able to relate to them in and outside of class to take the learning and doing to an entirely new level.
I love technology as much as the next person, but it can only do so much for me in the teaching and learning process. And no, this comment is not coming from a 21st century Luddite mindset. It is simply acknowledging what all of us as teachers know: connections are made primarily through relationships and what better relationship to have than in a classroom between a teacher and a student. Take a few minutes and read this post. I believe it will be impacting for you as well.
Community Input: What are your thoughts about Tim’s post? Is an engaging classroom enough?