Outschool educators come from many different backgrounds and walks of life, but they all have a few key things in common:
- They embody Outschool’s EPIC teaching framework
- They are entrepreneurial
- They are creative
- They are innovative
- They have knowledge that they are eager to share
Learning experiences of all kinds are a beautiful thing, and teaching on Outschool provides the opportunity to instill a passion for learning at a young age. We asked five successful, EPIC educators to share their top strategies for developing and delivering classes that learners love.
Make learning interactive
Sreenidhi Pundi Muralidharan is a STEM and programming educator who teaches “Learn to Code in Python Using Turtle Language” and “Java Espresso: Learning to Code with Java Part 1,” among other classes. What is Sreenidhi’s key to success?
“I make learning fun and do not believe in being strict and grim with the students. I also believe in ‘learning through examples’ — meaning, I think of and give real-world examples which the students can relate to so that they find it easy to understand the concepts being taught. I make the class more interactive by encouraging students to think from their perspectives. I also ask lots of questions and welcome students to use their ideas.”
Embrace technology as an educational tool
“Exploring Social Studies: A Flavour of all Topics for Teens” and “Comparative World Religions: Traditions, Philosophies, and Cultures for Teens” are just two of the courses offered by Dr. Kai Kafferly, Med., Ph.D. Dr. Kafferly has had great success with incorporating technology into his program planning.
“Making learning interesting, fun, exciting, challenging, and eye-opening so that students enjoy the process of learning their chosen subject matter is very important — and also fun for me too! It’s not just all about the textbook. I use a variety of technological sources such as YouTube, articles, movies, images, Adobe Spark, and Canva, just as a few examples. Students also have the opportunity to make their own videos, animated online posters, and slideshow projects to bring in some creativity and variety in their responses to what they’ve learned.”
Don’t let a fear of embarrassment hold you back
The self-described Queen of Science Experiments and the educator behind “How to Make Astronaut Pudding: Sweet Treats in Space” and “Dancing Raisins: Fun with Science and Chemical Reactions,” Heather Swann cautions against letting a fear of embarrassment rule how you teach.
“I love to put myself out there and make myself as engaging and fun as possible, even if that means making myself be super silly. I have found as an educator that you can’t be afraid of embarrassment! I don’t let that hold me back from being the most energetic and fun version of myself that I can be for my learners. I love to use high energy, silly voices, funny movements, and great hands-on, immersive lessons to make learning exciting.”
Empathy is important
Erica Williams teaches “Telling Time on an Analog Clock” and “Comedy Time: Jokes, Jokes, and More Jokes.” Ms. Erica, as she’s known to her learners, shares some advice around the importance of empathy:
“I embody empathy in my classroom. I believe having empathy is an important quality to have while teaching. It allows you to become what you need to be for each student. Each learner has their own personality and learning style. Within the course of one class, you will have various personalities. Knowing how to relate to each child will help bring their confidence levels out.”
Incorporate experiential learning
“Little Zoologist: Animal Explorers Club” and “Extinct: Animals We’ve Lost in the Last 100 Years” are two of the classes offered by Shelby van der Merwe. Shelby is a big believer in incorporating experiential learning into her courses.
“I always start my classes by telling my learners that I only have one ‘rule’ in my class — I want to learn something from them by the end of the lesson. I make sure to ask loads of questions and teach new vocabulary as much as possible. I follow the experiential learning cycle — children will learn about a topic, reflect on their experience, gain insight and explore ways to transfer their learning to other situations. All my classes can be adapted to different ages and abilities, and I’m constantly working with the learners and their guardians to make sure my learning environment suits their needs.”
For more inspiration from some of our incredible educators on Outschool, visit the Educator Spotlights section of the Educator Library. If you would like to nominate an outstanding educator on Outschool (including yourself) for a spotlight, fill out this form. We love hearing about how you create an EPIC experience for our global learning community!