Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Stomp your Classes Up! 4 Simple Lessons from Stomp

This weekend I finally had some very pleasant hours with my kids, mom, sister and aunts watching Stomp. I was totally in awe with their vibrant beats made of very trivial materials, from brooms to match boxes. My oldest kid was totally glued to the amazing show, and my little one was focused at first, but then restless as always, as he doesn’t stop for a second. However, Stomp guys had such an ability that when I thought Caio wouldn’t be into the show anymore, the artists came up with something that would grab the 7-year-old’s attention.

Of course, the whole situation couldn’t let me stop thinking of the lessons of a presentation like that can teach us teachers:

  • There was no such a thing as predictability. When you thought you knew what was coming next, they would surprise us. So, surprise is certainly an element you want to use in your classroom to keep your students there with you, on task, interested, in awe. It is that feeling that keep us attentive for more than we could imagine it was possible to be focused. So many times we, teachers, forget this very simple rule…We become predictable in every class routine. The same old questions in the beginning of the class, the same steps…Boredom, then, is inevitable. Surprise, surprise, surprise is the antidote to boredom.
  • Even though we were the audience, the show was interactive. The guys involved us in their choreography by adding the beats we produced to what they were doing. In the classroom: don’t keep your students as mere spectators, they can do more than that and can even surprise you! Make it interactive, make it a conversational moment.Give space for connections in the classroom, not simply information pouring.
  • Rhythm and powerful beats are contagious. Add them to your classroom, find your teaching tone, and let your students create their own, as well. Fun and play is part of the learning process. Don’t forget that!
  • One very simple rule Stomp reminded me of. Learn when to leave the center stage, give room to your audience. Learn to add that element of “I want something more of that”. Find ways to make your students count the days, hours to be in class again. Not an easy task, but not impossible at all!
So, this is a simple call for all of us to surprise, play, share, and learn. Stomp your classes up! My question to you is: What are the small changes you could make right now to stomp it up?