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Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Fountain of Youth - Vial #1 is Variety!



The Fountain of Youth!

I feel younger than I've ever felt. There's no reason to. I have three kids, three cats, one husband, and almost 100 students. I should be tired, bone tired! I do get weary but I feel young.

Douglas MacArthur said it well:

"People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul. Worry, self-doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair; these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust."


Are you interested in your students? Are you looking for the precious child who needs you? Is there something about your subject that gets you excited?

I'm going to spend the next several days talking about how to find the fountain of youth in your teaching!

Fountain of Youth Vial #1:
Add variety

Vary your pace of teaching, tools, and methods.
Boredom is the enemy of education! Add things from current events and the Net! Get excited!

Learn from the groans of your students!
If it is a reproducible -- do it in a new way. Here are some tricks I've learned:
  • Move the desks around.
  • Use teams.
  • Swap teams.
  • Make it a game! (I like the DEC Software games)
  • Can you wiki or blog it?
  • Can THEY make a game out of it?
  • Can THEY teach it?
  • Is it good for a podcast?
  • Can they perform? infomercial? skit? rap? poem?
  • If you're in a lab, use Google as you teach. Have them race to answer questions!
  • Teach socratically!

Use exploration to introduce a topic (with a wiki!)
In Computer Science we are discussing hacking. To start, students wiki'd current examples of hacking incidents and began a discussion we'll conclude on Monday.

Learn something new!
I learned how to SuprGlu and Skype. Bloglines reading is invigorating. Try something new! Bo Bennett , a businessman, says

"Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity."


Vary your routine!
Eat lunch at a different time. Talk to someone new! Ask new questions! Routine is another word for rut!

Be excited!
Remember that 93% of your teaching is your face, voice, and body language!

Kathy Sierra over at Creating Passionate Users just wrote this the other day!!

"too many of us (me included) tend to let that early enthusiasm slide... we forget why this thing we do used to matter to us, and we might start wondering why we ever got into it the first place. We start phoning it in."
We're not getting any younger! We can feel younger if we stop phoning it in and put all of the passion we feel into our topic. Don't give up! Don't quit! Don't just wait until retirement! There is more to life than putting one foot in front of the other! I'm going to skip, walk, hop, run, and dance my way through life! Add variety!

What we do is vitally important. It is the highest calling! Teaching fuels the hope of tomorrow on the distillation of the lessons of the past. Keep the faith!

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