Teach Like a Pirate

One of the first Twitter educational chats I stumbled across was ‘Teach Like a Pirate’ or #tlapfor short. As I introduced myself as a Science teacher, I was pointed in the direction of the Science specific TLAP chat, #scitlap. Coming through from Australia, there was a bit of a buzz about who I was and what we did ‘Down Under’. It was also quite difficult to get involved in regular chats as they were held at approximately 10am Sydney time. I was lucky enough to have one ‘free’ period at this time a fortnight so tried to make sure I dropped in as often as possible.

The reason why I decided to join this chat was that the main focuses of the book – building student engagement, boosting creativity and transforming teaching – were things that I was always working towards in my career.

I couldn’t wait for a hard copy of the book to be shipped to Australia, so I purchased the Kindle version from Amazon and read it in less than a week. The words that Dave Burgesshad written were motivating me to be a better teacher with each ‘turn’ of the digital page. I have just ordered myself a hard copy from the Book Depository (with free shipping) so I can read it again and make notes and add post-its to places that I want to share with you all 🙂

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a number of blog posts about different parts of this book starting with the PIRATE philosophy as well as discussing the various ‘hooks’ that Dave mentions and how I have incorporated them into my teaching.

The PIRATE philosophy works on the following ideas:
P – Passion
I – Immersion
R – Rapport
A – Ask & Analyze
T – Transformation
E – Enthusiasm

Passion is broken into three different areas – content, professional and personal.

  • Content passion is all about the areas that you are most passionate about within your subject. For me, as a Science teacher I am most passionate about the areas of genetics and disease. I feel that when I teach these I am the most animated and engaging and that I am able to share my love of topic with my students. There areas where my content passion is lacking would be the topics that fall into the physics bracket – astronomy, motion, etc. I am trying hard each year to change my approach to teaching these subjects so that my enthusiasm can be passed on to my students.
  • Dave states that Professional Passion is that passion that comes in when you are teaching the ‘physics topics’ of the world. Those areas that don’t quite interest you as much as the others, but are still on the syllabus and must be covered! This is when you think about what it is you want your students to achieve, why did you become a teacher in the first place? For me, my professional passion is to create a class of independent women who are digital citizens, able to collaborate and be creative.
  • Lastly Personal Passion is about putting a little bit of yourself into each lesson to help build the overall engagement in the content. My personal passions include photography, technology, music, sport and comedy. Quite often my Science lessons will involve the students taking photos of various things and technology is used in almost every lesson to some extent. My love of music and comedy I inflict on my students in the form of awesome YouTube ‘science music videos’. Most of these make them cringe but they are a great way to help them to remember some key concepts!

Stay tuned as I continue to discuss the other 5 areas built into the PIRATE philosophy as well as a few lesson ideas that incorporate many of Dave’s ‘hooks’ that he discusses to capture your student’s interest within the first few minutes of each lesson.

About The Author

Secondary Science Teacher

Recently married HS Sci/Bio teacher, active member of #aussieED, passionate Wests Tigers fan, aspiring photographer... http://www.aussieed.com

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