Unbeknownst to students, teachers change up their regular teaching habits yearly in order to make learning easier. All of them, however, take different approaches. High school science teacher Julie Landwehr incorporated exercises from her reading list.
“This past summer I read a book called Factfullness by Hans Rosling,” said Landwehr. “It’s about our pitfalls as humans in actually understanding the actuality of what’s going on around us and the instinctual obstacles we have to seeing facts.”
Every Friday this school year Mrs. Landwehr is creating scenarios that represent one of the ten things that we struggle with as humans. After completing the scenarios, she and the class have a discussion about what they learned.
“My goal is to have people be mindful of how they are thinking about data and facts for science,” said Landwehr.
She believes that the importance of switching things up lies in engaging the ones learning.
“It is really important for what I present to be interesting because it really is hard to be motivated if you’re not interested in what you are learning,” Landwehr said. “I plan on changing things every year.”
High school English teacher Rebecca Bowlen had her own literal take on exercise when she stumbled across a pop up on her Facebook page. Her plan was to incorporate physical exercise into regular activities to improve performance.
“My idea to make things more interesting and change things up is based on something I saw this past spring on an education website called Fitlit,” said Bowlen. “I want to incorporate that into English 1 by adding some type of physical activity into it.”
Over the last three weeks, she has yet to receive negative feedback.
“We’ve done a few practices like a hike outside when we had some reflective writing,” said Bowlen. “We stopped in various spots to talk about where we are and do some writing before going to on our next little spot.”
History teacher Michael Cron had his own slower approach to spicing things up in the classroom. He only changes things up as necessary to adapt to his classes.
“I like to wait and see before I make adjustments,” said Cron. “Each class is a little bit different, I have to get to know the class first before I decide what adjustments I’m going to make. Some classes need more energy and others not so much- they get hyperactive and stop paying attention. As a teacher, you always have to ask yourself, are the students actually learning. If they aren’t learning you have to do something until they do.”
As for the reasoning behind this Cron believes that it is the only way to be an effective teacher.
“It’s important because learning and education at its core is a social act, it’s something that happens between people,” said Cron. “It’s why a physical teacher in the room is still way more effective than a computer. You need to make these adjustments based on how people are responding, sometimes that means you need to spice things up but other times that means that people need more structure even if they don’t want it.”