The meaningfulness of learning is directly proportional to the effectiveness of the teacher. Students will take an active interest in learning if they feel a sense of ownership in the process. Teachers who are tasked to teach required subjects are particularly challenged, as students are essentially a "captive audience". Teachers can build and create interest in learning if they can convince students that the topic is worth studying. As an undergraduate, I was required to take a course in Macroeconomics, a subject in which I had no interest at all; however, the instructor piqued my interest in the subject by pointing out the value of knowing the subject, as well as its practical applications to other fields. He also employed a teaching style based upon discussion, as opposed to straight lectures. As a result, I learned a great deal, and was successful in the course.
When I began teaching, I made an effort to engage students in the learning process. If a multiple-choice exam were being reviewed, in addition to asking students which answer they chose, I asked them the reason for their choice, and followed up by asking if anyone had chosen a different answer, and asked for the reason. This turned a dull class exercise into a lively forum for discussion. Teachers must be mindful that teaching is not the same as drilling soldiers or herding sheep. Teachers who respect the intelligence and abilities of students will create a desire for learning and excellence.
I hope this is helpful.
May 20th, 2015
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