This Just In: Current Events Engage Students!
In my Anatomy & Physiology courses, the content can be heavy and detail-oriented. Additionally, many of the classes I taught took place in the late afternoon and evening, and most students had already worked a shift before class began. For these reasons, I finally figured out a way to help my students “switch on” or open up to learning before I began a day’s lesson: Discovery of the Week! Each week, I would find a new scientific breakthrough, technological advancement, or interesting discovery to discuss prior to beginning the “real work” of the class. I tried to make the DOW relevant to that week’s topics, but that was less important to me than finding something engaging and interesting. I also tended to look for stories that would invite some interesting discussion. The material was NOT “on the test” and therefore was non-threatening.
I truly felt that many weeks, the best learning that took place occurred during our DOW discussions, because students became so engaged that they don’t even realize that they’re learning. I mean, come on… who wouldn’t be engaged in a conversation about bioengineering bladders?!?!
I think this idea can be adapted easily to non-science classes, team meetings, department in-services, and even family dinners… try it out!