My Approach to Innovation in the Classroom

Dr. Tom Way


My teaching philosophy focuses on the idea that good teaching is good theater. Good teaching, whether it is a PowerPoint slide, a lecture, a class meeting or an entire semester, should each follow good story structure. Each needs a beginning, middle and end. The beginning should raise a question, with the search for the answer driving the rest of the teaching through turning points, new revelations, explanations and ultimately arrive at a climax where it is all tied together and the original question is answered.

The best movies, plays and movies draw us in early and hold us transfixed until the ending. There are no wasted scenes, no useless characters, no throw-away moments. Every single word and action and moment in a good story should add to it and move it along.

The same goes for good teaching. No wasted moments. Everything builds. Students should be transfixed, looking forward to what is coming next. And, ideally, they should be a little sad when it is over. That's not easy to do, but when you can get it just right, it's incredible. No nicer words can be uttered by a student to his or her teacher than, "I am so sorry that the semester is over."

Ideas for Innovation

Toward the idea of good teaching as good theater, I have developed, discovered, dreamed up, used and stolen as many (hopefully) innovative ideas as I could find. Among the ones that I have found most relevant and impactful in my classroom experience are the following. Some are goals, some are approaches, some are feature and some are something else entirely

That's it!

That's all there is to it. So simple!

I need a nap.

last updated: 11/22/13

last updated.