Using real-life experiences to increase student engagement
The Bachelor, Survivor, American Idol, Real World, Deadliest Catch, Shark Tank, Duck Dynasty…the list goes on and on. While these shows often seem like just a teacher’s guilty pleasure, they go beyond encouraging procrastination and providing a reason to eat an entire bag of popcorn in one sitting. These shows are based on reality, and they typically suck us right in!
What does reality have to do with these shows? Very little when you actually pay attention to the “stars” and the plots clearly sketched out by writers and producers. That being said, reality does have an impact when we are working to engage learners in the classroom. We could take a cue from how these engaging shows are structured. Real-world learning increases engagement, creates opportunities for students to make connections and develops student skills that will be used in adulthood. This authentic learning provides a reason to the student who is always asking, “Why do I even need to know this?” Real world learning activities often allow students to make an impact on a larger scale. And, if this type of learning is done well, it will suck your students in too!
Here are six methods for bringing the real world into your teaching: