Burgess ignites a creative flame for educators at #METC17 keynote

Ross Reynolds

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Speaker Dave Burgess speaks to an audience of 600 educators at METC 2017.

Keynote speaker Dave Burgess presented today in front of roughly 600 educators at the METC Convention in St. Charles, Missouri. Burgess is known for his book “Teach Like a Pirate,” and his experienced-based system of learning.

“The word Pirate in this sense has nothing to do with the dictionary definition,” Burgess said. “Instead it has everything to do with the spirit. Pirates are unconventional, willing to reject the status quo and sail into uncharted waters with no guarantee for success. It’s about embracing that spirit of being a pirate.”

Burgess believes that, as a teacher, it is important to be passionate about what you’re teaching.

“Make sure your curriculum is based on a subject you enjoy teaching,” Burgess said. “If not, you might be doing the wrong thing. Your professional passion is the reason you got into the business.”

As opposed to many teachers, Burgess likes to use experience over information in his classroom. This includes bringing the lessons to life.

“It doesn’t matter what you say if nobody is listening,” Burgess said. “All of this comes back to engagement. So you can teach as much as you want but it doesn’t matter if they don’t receive any of it. So it always comes back to creating that experience for kids. Too many people are concerned with content and not wrap in a presentation around it that makes people care about the content and makes it relevant for them.”

In order to get students involved and excited, Burgess says to know your audience and their community values in order to bring the room to life. Bringing props, images, and storytelling are some good ways to bring learning to life.

IMG_7681At one point in the presentation, Burgess used an example of how he had once raised interest at the beginning of a class period. While on a unit about women in the 1960s, he would bring out a large Victoria’s Secret bag and then pull out two more smaller bags while trying to build the suspense. Eventually he would pull out a bra from the bag and begin explaining the topic of the unit. Something that is taboo like that helped to increase interest and attentiveness.

Things like this are what Burgess believes can bring out creativity in the classroom and create a more involved and exciting experience for students.

“The fact is that people don’t understand how much work goes behind creativity,” Burgess said. “So when you see someone that’s really good at something, whether it’s teaching or whether it’s sports or whatever it might be, what you don’t see is all of the hours and the blood and sweat and the tears that went into getting that good.”

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Burgess ignites a creative flame for educators at #METC17 keynote