Are We Entertainers?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by KinderCowgirl, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    So I'm reading Teach Like A Pirate right now, and I'm struck by the kind of gimmicky suggestions to engage kids-like dressing up as a character, etc. It reminded me of a question I was asked during my hiring process. HR had a set list of like 30 questions they ask and all the answers are either yes or no (they said don't elaborate because usually people talk themselves out of the right answer :whistle:). The only question that stumped me was something like "is it part of our job to entertain?" I don't even remember how I answered it, but I know I hesitated thinking about what the right answer would be.

    I do think it's our job to make learning exciting and try to ignite that passion in the kids. And I also think the things they remember are sometimes those gimmicky things (I still remember a 4th Grade teacher who dressed up like a wizard-I don't remember why, that was long before Harry Potter ;)).

    What do you think?
     
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  3. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    I remember that question in my screening interview 14 years ago. I answered yes back then. I still agree although I'm not sure entertain is the right word. We have to keep them engaged. For some, entertaining, gimmicky things spark interest. Plus, they are children. Even as an adult I appreciate being entertained as I learn.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is it isn't entertainment just for the sake of entertainment but for the purpose of engagement. Fun is good!
     
  4. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I think to a certain extent, though I don't feel we should be relegated to ONLY an entertainer. I would have a lot of difficulty not elaborating on my answer. I don't do well with solid yes/no questions like that.
     
  5. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I've always struggled with this idea. Yes, we need to make learning exciting and engaging. But the gimmicky things just feel so forced, sometimes.
     
  6. thirdgradebuzz

    thirdgradebuzz Comrade

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    My answer would have been yes. I think we are expected to be entertainers to a certain extent. Maybe not necessarily through dressing up and gimmicks, but by creating memorable learning experiences.

    A professor told us once that "Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths pure theatre." I often notice that the days the class' behavior starts to slip are days when I'm sick or preoccupied with something in my personal life (both rarely) and I don't engage the students as much with my personality.
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    No. Absolutely not!

    Our job is to engage. Entertainment is usually an activity in which the observer is passive in thought. They follow the entertainment and may even be amused or catch an obvious connection or two, but they are not actively engaged in thinking about the entertainment in front of them.

    Engagement is most often an enjoyable process because the participant is actively involved in the information. The participant may not be vocally or physically engaging, but the participant is thinking about the information and going beyond just the passive listening of words or visuals passing by.

    Engagement doesn't meant the presentation has to be dry or devoid of entertainment, but engagement is what we are supposed to do. One of the best teachers I ever had never did anything entertaining, but he was loved by all because his lessons were extremely engaging to all. He was able to break topics down so that everyone in the class had something they could grasp and think about. Amazing man. I know there are few out there that could ever rise to his level, but he showed that entertainment isn't necessary.
     
  8. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    I think we need to be able to laugh with the kiddos first and foremost. And--yes, I think entertaining is a big part of our jobs.

    My 11th grade English teacher used finger puppets and toys to teach us Beowulf. :D I still remember that to this day and it's been a while. (Consequently my mental image of Beowulf is Mario.)
     
  9. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    If I have to choose only yes or no, I'd say no. My job is to educate; the method by which I perform that job could include entertainment.
     
  10. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I like that quote! :thumb: I notice that too-or when we just reviewing something and they are bored with it already.
     
  11. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    That's so funny. I guess maybe we might like the classics more if that was the way we remembered them. ;)
     
  12. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    I hate it when they use questions like that. I agree that we should engage and not entertain, but what if the person who wrote the question thinks they're synonymous? RARGHBLARGHBLAH.
     
  13. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    As the guy with the sunscreen, whistle and hat I usually try and get their attention with some entertainment like a joke or juggling or some magic with a basketball but then we get serious. But my agenda always includes fun, skills and fitness.
     
  14. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Absolutely, 100%, without question, yes.
     
  15. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    It's certainly one of many tools we use.
     
  16. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Their future bosses or college professors aren't going to be entertaining them so.........no. It's not preparing them for the adult world.

    I'm not Jay Leno and this ain't the "Tonight Show." :cool:
     
  17. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    That is wrong on both accounts.

    Plenty of college professors seek to be entertaining and the number of times my boss has started a staff meeting with a funny Youtube video is more than I can count.

    There's a reason why things like Comedy Traffic School exist (surprise, it isn't for kids!). People pay attention when they are entertained.
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't so much seek to entertain as a teacher, but I no doubt do sometimes entertain as I teach.
     
  19. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    This was a big discussion at my school this year. Everyone kept getting slammed on walkthroughs because the kids were "not engaged." People mentioned using the Kagan strategies, hands on activities, cooperative groups, higher level activities, etc. It took months for us to get a definition of what admin actually thought engagement looked like, and they literally said something along the lines of "the students should all be smiling and laughing and happy to be learning. They should be thrilled to do all the activities they're doing." To me, using that as a gauge for engagement definitely sets up the expectation that the teacher is entertaining the kids. I highly disagreed with this as did most teachers in the building. If the kids are really happy about doing a specific activity, of course that's awesome, but there is a lot more to learning than that.
     
  20. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    waterfall, I'll just say I'm glad you've found a new school. :)
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    That definition was produced by people who either never knew or have completely forgotten what engagement actually FEELS like from the inside. Dancers and ice skaters cultivate smiles for performance purposes because that's what their disciplines demand, to be sure. For the rest of us, however, "engaged" usually looks much less like an unobservant adult's version of childhood happiness than it does a hunter closing in on prey.
     
  22. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    My first instinct was "No!" But then I read the question again and saw that it asks if "part" of our job is to entertain, so I'd have to say yes. I also thought about my 2 year old grandson and the fact that you can teach him ANYTHING as long as you sing and dance while you're doing it ;)

    I also remembered that when I teach an important concept, I almost always instinctively think of some form of entertainment to get kids reeled in, so to speak. For example, before I begin the unit on arrays I carefully close the blinds as I whisper about how we can't let anyone know we're learning a THIRD GRADE concept! As I'm teaching I go to the door every so often and peek out to make sure no third grade teachers are coming, etc.

    FUN is never the final goal. It's just a means to an end :)
     
  23. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Sure. Entertainment can be a huge part of engagement.

    Think about reading aloud in class. When I model reading aloud to my 7th graders, I read with inflection, I change the pace, I use different voices for different characters. They become emtionally invested in the story. I bring in small props or show small clips to give them a visual. It's entertaining to them, and thus they become engaged in the story.

    I don't, however, foresee myself dressing up in character anytime soon.
     
  24. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

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    I think that part of my job is to be entertaining.
     
  25. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    The way I look at entertaining in the classroom is that it is "the icing on the cake". Making a lesson entertaining can help students to be more engaged and it can help them remember the activity. I also know it can make teaching and learning more fun.

    At a PD class I had this past year, the instructor so correctly reminded us that all the entertainment in the world won't hide a lack of content in a lesson. When planning I think it is always wise to first focus on the content and then lastly on making it entertaining.

    Yes, it is part of our job to make some lessons entertaining, but it is not our primary job as educators.

    By the way, thank you for letting us know about the book title Teach Like a Pirate. I finished Teacher Man (laughed myself silly at certain parts) and I'm ready for another good read.
     
  26. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Here is a thought. With what we have to compete with now days in the forms of all the types of media, games, video, social cyber- space activity we better be a little entertaining.
     
  27. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I assert that if Gardner was doing his Multiple Intelligences Theory today that he would have one for digital learners. This group I had last year was the most digital-minded I've ever seen. I could read a story-with the cool voices and everything-maybe 90% of the kids would be engaged. If I put that same story on the Smartboard through Tumblebooks or something--100% engagement. And I think we'll just see more and more of that.


    I'm only about halfway through-I think it's a pretty quick read. Some things I couldn't see myself using, but I do think it's a good reminder to plan a "hook" for every lesson and try to make it all memorable. There are days when I know I'm much less enthusiastic than others, I'm inspired to work on that a little more. ;)
     
  28. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I tend to think that NO, we are not entertainers. Are teachers sometimes entertaining? Sure. But I don't think that should be either the focus or the goal of teaching.

    We face this issue at my school a lot. Like some others have mentioned, the message seems to be that students are only learning if they're having a good time, like playing games and moving around. In my opinion and experience, there are many other ways to learn. Learning looks like a lot of different things, and sometimes it is quiet and focused, not loud and dramatic. When I was a student, I definitely preferred to read, think, write rather than perform, move around, play. I know that there are other students like me.

    Some good information here:
    http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/columnists/johnson/johnson026.shtml
     
  29. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I was (and continue to be...hate cutesy PDs where I have to play games and socialize!) similar to you, Caesar, in that I much preferred learning independently, quietly.
     
  30. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    I think entertaining is part of teaching - it comes easier to some folks than to others. Some folks are naturally outgoing and great at "pulling them in." I am not. However, I can laugh at myself, and I've learned to give in and laugh with the kids, it is cathartic. Reading in all different voices is great entertainment. I still remember waking up early on Sunday mornings just so I could listen to the "Story Lady" on the radio. She enthralled me with her various fairy tales and other stories told in all different voices. It made the reading come alive. Entertaining students? Yes, it is part of teaching.
     

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