In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to inspire young adults. Educational methods are expanding in response to a society rapidly changing from high-speed Internet, new technologies and great interconnectivity. This means that teaching styles and classroom settings must evolve too in order to meet the demands of hungry minds. Here are 5 ways to inspire young adults in the classroom:
Bring in successful professionals and speakers from the outside world. Exposing students to people who have been successful in their field, or simply hiring a motivational speaker to address the benefits of their industry, can unite the class under a shared purpose. It will also reassure them that their degrees won’t be inapplicable in the real world, a growing fear among undergraduates.
Incorporate technology in the classroom. If the school budget allows, equip your classroom with new computers, or at least new software such as virtual chalkboards that aids in class-related discussions. Encourage social media, provided it’s being used to network with other students for educational purposes and share pertinent information. Encourage smartphone apps like Wikipedia and Quorum for outside-the-class research. Incorporating technology into the classroom is important, as it can not only be used to enhance teaching methods, it lets the students know they are in a cutting edge learning environment where they will learn new skills and be prepared for the rapidly changing outside world.
Introduce them to new ideas. New ideas are the lifeblood of progress, innovation and development of young minds. Look into the TED conference, an annual gathering of some of the greatest minds of the world. The presentations there cover everything from mathematics, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology to linguistics, astronomy, and social science and many are available for free online streaming.
Allow them to take breaks, listen to music and talk to each other. This may sound irresponsible, even heretical, but if you treat your students like humans and not automated sheep they will respond with greater effort. Designate times for students to discuss class-related issues with each other and, if needed, to recharge their batteries with music. Maybe even encourage a 15 minute nap. Europeans do it, why can’t we?
Go on field trips. It may strike some educators as juvenile, but visiting locations relevant to a class discussion as a group will get your students’ engines revving. For example, if you’re doing a lab on soil samples in a nearby river, actually going to this river and experiencing it as part of a living ecosystem could illustrate the importance of the underlying science.
A few of these five ideas for inspiring young adults in the classroom, such as incorporating technology, are dependent on the school budget. But many of the ideas simply involve being more open to new developments. Utilizing the Internet correctly and encouraging new ideas don’t require money, but rather an educator who has his/her finger on the pulse of society.