While parents traditionally love to regale their children with tales of how they walked five miles to school and back in the snow, the truth is that educational experiences and teaching methods do advance significantly with each generation. Gone are the days where students sat in silence at their school desks waiting to be called on! With the introduction of user-friendly technology, a deeper understanding of how different children learn, and a broader choice of subjects to study and skills to master, it's never been more important to make your lessons relevant and dynamic in order to keep a child's attention.
Relate your material back to popular topics - If your students think that history is boring, or that literature is redundant in the age of Netflix, consider linking your syllabus to material and issues that will resonate with your audience. For instance, your English class might be more interested in Shakespeare if they knew how it helped to inspire the magical world of Harry Potter.
Likewise, a biology teacher can point out how Charles Darwin's classification system and development of evolutionary theory is not dissimilar to the enthusiastic pursuits of Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts. The opportunities for developing meaningful links between subjects and your students' interests are truly unlimited and can be specifically tailored to the age and learning needs of your year group.
Introduce an 'element of fun - As Mary Poppins famously advised, all tasks should have a degree of enjoyment and learning is certainly no exception. Rather than having your pupils sit at a school desk filling out their workbooks monotonously each day, consider introducing tasks that have motivational and individualised aspects.
If you're a science teacher, offering an annual Science Fair with awards for different categories will allow your students to explore a wide variety of topics. This type of event can help your pupils develop the skills required for a long term project over the year, and encourage them to be inquisitive and pursue their specific interests.
One of the criticisms of modern schooling is that it focuses on attainment to the detriment of intellectual curiosity and independent thinking. Opting to combine learning with activities that encourage autonomy and personal development is the ideal way to achieve both goals.
When you look around at the sea of school desks at the start of the term, envision a classroom filled with questioning and eager children, and then use these teaching methods to actualise that ideal.