in Education

Teacher as Game Show Host?

A couple of years I wrote a post exploring a metaphor of the Teacher as DJ. It was well-received and stemmed from the amount of music I use in an average lesson! Today, I came across another metaphor that ‘got at’ something central to my life in the classroom: the teacher as a gameshow host!

Joel at So You Want To Teach? (an excellent blog in many respects), wrote a post entitled Pacing: What Every Great Band Director Knows about the importance of transitions, engagement and procedures in the classroom. It struck a chord with me as I’ve been stressing these things to the student teacher currently in our department. You need to be smooth – and it pains me to see it when colleagues are otherwise.

Some of this comes through experience, but much has to be planned. I’m far from perfect, but if you’re starting off on the journey, here’s some tips:

Make everything look professional

Don’t give out badly-photocopied worksheets, use Powerpoints with awful, clashing colour-schemes, nor recycle folders to keep work in. Show some respect, get some respect back. The students in front of you are used to highly-polished media environment. Put some effort into your ‘stock lesson’ to make it better by seeking relevant help. My tip? Subscribe to blogs like Presentation Zen!

Focus on engagement

You can know your subject inside-out, use the best metaphors and diagrams you can muster, but if students aren’t engaged in your lesson, very little learning is going to take place. Play games with them that test their understanding of topics. I love, for example – and this is very relevant to this post – Game Show Presenter. Cheesy, but fun! Another favourite is Andrew Field’s marvellous ContentGenerator.net products, some of which are free. :-)

Develop a winning formula

Never let it be said that teachers shouldn’t mix up lessons a bit, but there needs to be a basis on which this can be done successfully. As I’ve mentioned above and many times previously, I use a lot of music in my lessons. For example, students enter the classroom to a theme tune (think: Rocky, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, etc.) and know to write down the date, title and lesson objective. I then take the register whilst slower writers catch-up and those finished consider what the lesson’s keywords might mean. It works for me!

During the lesson, I play a variety of music – for example the Countdown 30-seconds-left tune, to fun stuff like the Oompa Loompa songs, to a bit of Speed Garage (if they’re working too slowly) or the occasional Mashup. You can close your eyes, but you can’t close your ears… ;-)

Work on your transitions

After a while, links between classroom activities come naturally. As a teacher you’re prepared to go off at somewhat of a tangent to explore an arising issue, then bring things back-on-track smoothly. But to begin with, this takes work! Anecdotes and interesting facts are really useful in this regard – as a History teacher I tend to glean these from Horrible Histories books and suchlike. The lesson should have an obvious progression toward meeting the objective that is clear to the student. Framing the title of lesson as a question works well in this regard.

If you’re a teacher, do you consider yourself to be like a gameshow host? a DJ? or something entirely different?

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  1. Interesting thoughts there. Regarding:

    “nor recycle folders to keep work in. Show some respect, get some respect back”

    Would not demonstrating that you recycle illustrate respect on a much bigger scale?

  2. Interesting thoughts there. Regarding:"nor recycle folders to keep work in. Show some respect, get some respect back"Would not demonstrating that you recycle illustrate respect on a much bigger scale?

  3. I sometimes put teaching in the same context as acting/performing. I like to think that good teaching is 90% drama – it requires rehearsal, good expression, funny bits etc. Keeping the kids enthusiatic about what’s going on through playing music and being a bit silly every now and then is a great way of helping them to learn/

  4. I sometimes put teaching in the same context as acting/performing. I like to think that good teaching is 90% drama – it requires rehearsal, good expression, funny bits etc. Keeping the kids enthusiatic about what's going on through playing music and being a bit silly every now and then is a great way of helping them to learn/

  5. Great post Doug, i agree absolutely! Teachers sometimes are far far behind the technical and graphical etc. posibilities! They should check out Amuso. Everyone can create his own game shows, participate, vote and win real prizes. If you like photo and video contests, you should defenetly have a look and maybe you’re interested in creating a game sjhow for your students and start something hip and new in your class room.
    Let the kids interact with their own content!!

  6. Great post Doug, i agree absolutely! Teachers sometimes are far far behind the technical and graphical etc. posibilities! They should check out Amuso. Everyone can create his own game shows, participate, vote and win real prizes. If you like photo and video contests, you should defenetly have a look and maybe you're interested in creating a game sjhow for your students and start something hip and new in your class room.Let the kids interact with their own content!!