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Are you engaging to your students?

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I have traveled up and down the east coast to interview thousands of students completing their teaching credentials. My job was to determine teaching potential and readiness to assume the responsibility of educating students. Over the years the questions that I have posed to these soon-to-be teachers have evolved. Most recently my interview of candidates included probing questions on creating interest. In my opinion, the success of today's teacher is linked to his/her ability to create interest. Where there is interest there is learning.

My evolution of questioning was influenced by observing my own kids glued to the TV, watching a Disney show. What was so interesting about this show that it made my kids clean their rooms without prompting? Advertisers are experts at creating interest. There is a growing body of "neuromarking" research that has probed into underlying motivators behind why people buy. Can educators learn from this work?

The average attention span in today's youth is said to be 8 seconds according to a Microsoft Study. Teachers have the challenge of facilitating learning for students who are growing up with technology and social media at their fingertips. This leads to the question: Are teachers prepared for this type of classroom?

Students remember teachers most who are creative in their approach to teaching. Teachers may grab the attention of their students when they wear lesson-related costumes, rap the vocabulary terms, or dress like a book character. Students will talk about what happened in class with their friends and parents. This type of interest in school will results in high levels of student engagement.

Overall colleges and universities do a good job with teaching the construction of an effective lesson plan. However, can more be done to prepare future teachers on how to deliver truly engaging instruction?


David Legrand
Talent Acquisition Manager
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

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