07 March 2007

Stimulate their minds with enjoyable learning

When one teacher suggested that we should make our English lessons enjoyable another teacher countered sharply saying, "I disagree.... Are mathematics lessons enjoyable?"

A) If Bill Gates dropped a hundred dollar bill on the floor would he be gaining money or losing money if he stopped what he was working on and took the time to reach down and pick it up?

B) If it were possible to fold a sheet of paper of average thickness 55 times how thick would the result be?

I think the mind works much better when it is enjoying something interesting, don't you? Do you remember the day you first learned the Pythagorean Theorem? Probably not. Do you remember the day when you were first kissed? Probably.

I have forgotten much of the math that was forced into my brain even though there were probably many instances later when it would have helped me. I don't even remember the name of the teacher. I don't remember the day. I do remember the first time I was kissed.

I remember many interesting things from The Teaching Company audiobook lecture on mathematics and geometry with the 'unboring' title "The Joy of Thinking". The first lecture was fascinating. It was all about "counting". Answer "A" = Bill Gates would be losing money. Answer "B" = It would reach out of our solar system.

Lesson from all of this: Things that are normally boring can be made interesting and memorable.

Anyone can teach a boring lesson and demand students endure the pain in order to gain. It takes a real artist to find the key inside the student to inspire learning.

Photo: Two of my corporate English students on an English Safari with me. We're "thinking outside the [teacher] box". Instead of a lesson in our classroom we went to the local mall to talk and practice our English about...well, everything! They loved it.

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