If one wishes a subject to be taught with maximal effectiveness, he should:
#1. Present it in its most interesting form.
Find something about the subject matter that engages and holds the attention of the students at the appropriate age level. Correlate the subject to something they already know, admire or have strong interest in. Showcase the wow-factor!
- Demonstrate its general use in life.
How do people use this in everyday life? Not “other” people or “some” people, but real people they know and identify with.
- Demonstrate its specific use to the student in life.
What does this have to do with them? How could they use this in their life to accomplish their goals and why would they want to?
As an example, when teaching beginning handwriting to 4-year-olds, I would appeal to their desire to be more grown-up. I would show them my driver’s license, tell them what it was and then ask them if they would like to drive a car and have their own driver’s license one day. The answer was always a unanimous “yes!” I briefly explained how I used handwriting to get my license and that I was going to teach them how to write so they would be ready when the day came. You would be hard-pressed to find another classroom of children who were more eager and proud of letter formation and handwriting than my students were. It was interesting to them; they saw the general use of it in life and they all had a specific purpose in mind that they could use the information and skill – and it was fully aligned to their desire to be grown-up.
Teaching is so much more than just imparting information dictated by a curriculum — it sparks a desire to learn in each individual student and makes it personal to them.