TED Talk: Sparking Learning

Ramsey Musallam, a chemistry teacher, explores how to spark learning and tells us that the greatest tool a teacher has is the questions their students have. As teachers we must not focus on content dissemination. Instead we must cultivate curiosity in our students by challenging them and getting their imagination going so that they ask questions and want to explore and interact with what we are trying to teach them.

This principle reminded me of Law of Need in the book 7 Laws of the Learner by Bruce Wilkinson. It is important to build a need in the student and motivate them to want to learn what you are about to teach them. As a teacher your goal is to make them want to know the answer to the questions you just got them to think about, before moving on to teaching them the content.

Here are three good ways to do that:

  1. Understand what students are facing in their life and what their pressing needs are. Make sure topics are focused on these areas.
  2. Get them to identify with a need (maybe even one they didn’t know they had) using challenging questions or presenting them with illustrations of people who have or don’t have what you are about to teach.
  3. Don’t just “talk at” students, get them involved in the learning process.

What do you think?

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