Teachers find ways to make class more interesting

BY ETHAN GAER

Sophomore Jack Ross said he spends most periods glancing at the clock eagerly awaiting the bell to ring, signifying the end of the period. He said he attempts to pay attention to his teachers’ lessons, but if he finds the teacher boring, this is very difficult.

“I’ll have the urge to use my phone or daydream instead of actually learn the lesson,” Ross said.

In earlier years of teaching, Chemistry teacher Elefteria Halivelakis said she could utilize different styles and lesson plans in order to engage students and allow them to be creative. However, now she said many teachers, including herself, have to teach to ensure that their students pass the mandatory exams. She said this can lead to students losing interest.

“When I see my students lose interest, it is my cue to switch things up,” Ms. Halivelakis said. “I like to incorporate other types of learning other than just note taking. This is a great way to redirect their attention.”

According to Ms. Halivelakis, teachers play an essential role in the education of children and the future of the world.  She said she believes that if the students are bored, it results in a poor education. Ms. Halivelakis said it is a good day for a teacher when they see that their students are engrossed in the lesson.

“I typically ask questions in order to maintain satisfactory levels of classroom engagement,” Ms. Halivelakis said.  “Interactive teaching methods are a successful way to connect with students who are accustomed to continual stimulation. If I am having a good time, I know my students are too.”

Like Ms. Halivelakis, Earth Science teacher Katherine McDonald said she tries to incorporate new and fun ways of teaching into her lesson plans.

“Brain research suggests that fun is not just beneficial to learning but, by many reports, required for authentic learning and long-term memory,” Ms. McDonald said.

While Ross said some teaching methods bore him, he said when teachers use a variety of styles, he enjoys class more.

“When teachers switch up their teaching methods, it keeps me much more engaged,” Ross said. “Teachers are preparing us for the future and the less boring the lesson, the more I want to learn.”

Sophomore Esteban Lamar said many of his teachers tend to be boring, similar to the disinteresting way teachers are portrayed in movies and books.

“There are teachers that deliver lessons in a monotone voice and read loudly from the textbook. This truly makes school painful and not as enjoyable,” Lamar said.

Studies from Washington University have shown that most students learn better when the lesson is a discussion or a group activity rather than a power point or speech by the teacher. Sophomore Spencer Levine said he believes this type of active work is beneficial.

“Having a discussion creates involvement by many students, which in theory, means that the students are focused on the current topic or unit,” Levine said.

According to Levine, working in groups is an effective way of keeping students stimulated. Ross said he agrees that he remains more in-tune when engaged in a group project.

“Doing group work helps me stay focused and I feel that I retain the information better,” Ross said.

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