Ok, it all started as a reflection on student engagement and connecting with the known but somehow in the course of thinking about things, as you would… it became a marketing tip with elements of supply and demand relationship dynamics.. To think that I have two degrees in Education and none in Economics or given Marketing, to quote Cicero “O tempora, o mores!” ( wow, I'm impressed with myself here;)
I used to spend a lot of my time thinking about the most exciting learning engagements possible, with no costs being spared for colour paper, stickers, neon markers and borders. My classroom vividly documented the story of my teaching, learning and assessment, with displays made up of children writing products, calculations and final projects and posters. I took pride in my work and teachers-pay-teachers made sure I had the right polka-dot/owl/chevron theme to showcase it!
Parents loved the displays, colleagues were jealous (it’s all about that healthy competition, right?) and the classroom was a cheerful sight for my (tired from browsing teacher-pay-teachers) sore eyes.
Has anyone noticed, that at over 120 words into this post I still did not make a connection between the target audience and the students, perhaps now you have…
To come back to my initial observation - I do believe that classrooms in many ways resemble marketing conference rooms, where every day we get a chance to pitch our product or service and make a deal of a lifetime. Disagree..? You have two options here:
1)Bear with me, as I unpack.
2)Continue browsing teacherspayteachers.com
3)Go to sleep. We both know, no normal human being can operate on 4 hours of sleep corresponding with 4 cups of coffee you drink to brace the next day;)
UPS... I might have said TWO options, ignore one then and continue reading.
With any unit planning or project planning comes the success criteria, a selection of intentions, bigger understandings or simply the SCOOP of what we would like the learners to come away with.
I used the word SCOOP here for a reason, to quote Wikipedia here, (yes, I don’t have to be all that and quote only ancient philosophers, I call that a healthy balance)
Scoops are important and likely to interest or concern many people. A scoop is typically a new story or a new aspect to an existing or breaking news story. Generally, the story is unexpected, or surprising, or formerly secret, so the scoop typically comes from an exclusive source. Events witnessed by many people generally cannot become scoops, (e.g., a natural disaster, or the announcement at a press conference). However, exclusive news content is not always a scoop, as it may not provide the requisite importance or excitement.”
Believe me, I looked at many definitions and with this one, I really like the “exceptional originality, importance, surprise, excitement, or secrecy” bit.
Isn't that what good marketing, ekhm, teaching is all about - fostering that connection to what excites the children, what is exceptional and original in their eyes, what surprises and engages them and what can sometimes remain and inside joke, a story, a special moment of learning tension that feels like a secret no one else is privy too.
To be able to harness the power of all of these emotions you DO need to know your target audience, your learner and their interests, passions, likes, dislikes and behaviour and learning patterns.
You need to know your learners' supply and demand dynamics and be able to promptly and adequately respond to those needs not once, not twice, but every day, to make sure you're building a commitment - a relationship.
These amazing student-teacher/learner-learner relationships are powered by shared interest, excitement to discover and test the unknown and well, yes in my case COFFEE…:)
So, how well do you know your target audience…?