Passion play: Enthusiasm in the classroom is contagious
The best math classes always have the same five elements in play, writes math coach Margie Pearse for Edutopia, and not one is centered on a student’s math skills or their fluency in arithmetic tools.
Classrooms where students are “thriving,” notes Pearse, foster connections and friendships between students that build self-assuredness, giving them the confidence to take risks and the conviction that they can learn the material.
Educators who lead successful lessons also know how to weave play into their classes while exhibiting a zeal for their subject, and for teaching in general.
A passion for teaching is contagious. Students almost instinctively know when educators have a love for not only the subject matter — whether that’s math or history — but also their own jobs. This joy spread throughout a classroom, producing happier, even more playful students who are willing to take risks as they learn, seeing the experience as fun, rather than fraught with stress.
Administrators can’t write passion into curriculum. But they can encourage educators to pursue the things that bring them happiness — both out of the classroom and inside those four walls as well. Teacher enthusiasm may do more than lift student excitement — it may also have potentially reduce student cheating. So says a study published by “Frontiers in Psychology” in 2015, where researchers noted that enthusiasm could end up being a “relevant instructional behavior,” shown by an educator in a classroom.
Trusting teachers is the first step administrators should take, giving them permission to bring the subjects and pursuits they love into classrooms, second. Whether that material dovetails perfectly with curriculum is not as important as their energy, which they’re likely to pass on to their own students, as well.