Teaching as a “performing art” has validity. In the book with that title Seymour Sarason compares teacher preparation to performer preparation, describing that a teacher must practice, be articulate, know the curriculum (script) and engage the audience. We all remember that captivating teacher who engaged us a class (audience) as we listened to the intrigue of what really happened as a revolution began or how fascinating it is that energy is transferred, and we all remember that boring instructor that spoke in monotone and put us into a semi-catatonic state without ever realizing it. “Edu-tainment” programming on television motivated some teachers to engage and entertain more – for the ultimate purpose of educating. Today it is the digital world that is engaging youth, perhaps including coursework in ‘game design’ would enhance teacher preparation programs. Motivation is frequently listed as a challenge, hmmmm might students be more motivated if instruction included game qualities?
Much is written about the benefits of play, the learning inherent in play. Schools often purchase “learning games” and use them as a reward – for the kids who complete their tasks. Typically the struggling students rarely get a chance to use those games because they are struggling through the boring stuff.
Non-educators frequently tell us how to teach, and it is usually the way they were taught – in “another time”. Other non-educators develop and sell us products that don’t quite reach the mark, selling a glitzy product but missing instructional value. Teacher training includes pedagogy and content/curriculum studies, both vital to good teaching but most teacher training programs have not been updated in years and produce teachers for – “another time”. I am suggesting that we update teacher training to include advances in technology, some coursework in ‘game design’ for learning – to teach for “this time” and the future.