“Education is not the filling of a vessel, but the kindling of a flame” – Socrates.
Although today’s quote is a slightly different take on motivation, I decided that motivation in education is an important topic we should all consider, not only as teachers, but as students as well! Whether you decide to take up a new skill, or are working hard towards a goal, everything you learn counts as education, in my opinion.
I remember once when I was a little kid, I came across a saying that You learn something new every day. When I told my younger brother about this (I think he was 9 at the time), he made it his mission to prove me wrong! Somehow, though, I’d find something he didn’t know and tell him about it every day. He gave up after a few days 😉
Education to Fill Our Minds vs. Kindling A Flame
So, I agree that we should teach (and learn) not only to “fill out minds” with facts and knowedge, but to ignite a spark within ourselves. Now, how do you do that, you ask? Here are my thoughts:
- Think outside the box when learning about a topic you are interested in. As a teacher, use creative, novel ideas and lesson plans to have students really learn the material, and spark discussion about larger topics in the world around us. Does this take more time? Absolutely! Need help? I have a whole free printables library full of worksheets and lesson ideas you can use!
- Teach others – Anybody can be a teacher. Yes, you read that right. In fact, I have to say how much I love the slogan on my free t-shirt from my email software company, Convertkit – Teach Everything You Know. Why not? Find what you’re good at and excited about, and teach it to those around you.
- Step out of your comfort zone – In my opinion, the key to “kindling a flame” is to let it breathe in a new space. While staying in your comfort zone is exactly that – comforting – stepping out is a much better experience. Here are a handful of ideas you can try:
- Travel somewhere new (Careful, you may get the travel bug like I did when I was 19!)
- Go somewhere alone
- Introduce yourself to someone at an event who is sitting alone (the last time I did this, at the Meet The Blogger conference in Amsterdam, I met a really great blogger friend!
- Learn a new skill – even if it’s one you find frustrating and difficult, but useful. (That was taking basic programming courses and wrestling with Python, in my case!)
Group Work & Finding Your Strength
Finally, I want to say that even though I believe in stepping out of your comfort zone, group work where you showcase your strengths is incredible, not only for team-building, but to discover and encourage your strengths. Actually, my favourite part of business school (my first degree) was group projects. Perhaps I wasn’t the best at financial accounting or operations management, but I could definitely write the report and make the presentation. Others would prefer to do the budget or research the supply chain process. This way, everyone was happy doing their work, and our team grew stronger.
You’ve all seen Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk on creativity in education, right? If not, be sure you watch it! It’s 20 minutes of proof that academia is not the only form of education, and that the world needs to value other types of learning and student strengths, too. Rather than focus on academia and preparing students for a life of academic study, Robinson argues that we need to value art, creativity, and music equally to math, science and literature.
You can watch the TED Talk below:
Oh, and by the way, if you’d like to teach TED Talks to help your students explore a variety of topics, I have a whole e-book of 25 TED Talk Lesson Plans for Your English Class for only $25! It has complete pre-lesson, comprehension, discussion and post-lesson activities. You can check out a sample in my free printables library, or grab a copy of the whole e-book here.
Have a lovely and productive Monday!
P.S. Photo fans, I took the main photo for today’s post (and poster!) in Leiden, Holland, in November 2016.
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