C. Ruggieri

St. John's University, NY (UNITED STATES)
Many of us went to school at all levels in fear of our teachers. Teachers did not have to worry about engaging or entertaining us. We were too intimidated not to listen and learn. Television had not yet replaced reading so completely as a form of entertainment. We went to school, paid rapt attention or faced the consequences. I can remember listening to truly outstanding professors in college, people I felt privileged to call my teachers. I also remember some who read out loud from the textbook putting many in the class to sleep! Did we complain? Not often. We might have been bored but mostly we respected the professor's learning and credentials and even the book reading passed for the lecture, the predominant method of instruction in colleges in the 60's, 70's and even the 80's. Professors who read the book would often test on what they read or didn't read, believing we should have read it anyway. How education has changed today. Testing was what I call a "gotcha game" as professors would ask questions that may not have been the most important material discussed or even discussed at all.

Today that game has changed. Students are learning from all different sources of information. We are just one of these sources. and we may not even be the most important one. The Internet, social media, increasingly where our students spend the bulk of their time are teaching our students. What's more - these tools are teaching them in a more engaging way than many of us are! If we want to stay or become again the most important source of learning for our students today - we must be relevant to them and we must engage them. How can we do this? By using stories, by joining with them instead of approaching them as adversaries, in short, by not playing the "gotcha game."