Sometimes I imagine doing a class where the theme is “College is kind of stupid like all the things that you have done previously and it has dumb rules, and that’s okay.”
As a teacher I am very aware that lots of things that I do are very, very stupid. Life is silly. A little bit more learning is silly. How dumb it is that you don’t know things? How can you not know things? If it was important than you should have known about it already. You are a grown adult. You know plenty of things.
Which brings to gimmicks. Gimmicks are dumb. You might have good reasons for using them, but they are suppose a little stupid. Because learning is important, but it doesn’t have to feel like every moment is live or die. Most of it
Some gimmicks I have in my teaching
- Prizes- Okay no one needs another prize. Despite what you have been told about Gen Z, they don’t need a trophy all the time. But it can be fun.
- Competition– People like to win. Students in management are often very competitive with one another so.
- Audience participation– Sometimes legitimate active learning isn’t possible, such as in a large lecture hall. For those moments, there’s audience participation! I use the Delphi method wherein you plant questions in the audience. It’s a great way to get ther to be some back and forth without having to change very much about the classroom dynamic. I think that there should be a formula, for however much you choose to change the classroom dynamic, the more you change the way that people experience the class.