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September 23, 2014

Enthusiasm – Why You Need It (Or Need to Fake It)

Written By: Brandi Jordan
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X Enthusiasm - Why You Need It (Or Need to Fake It) In the Classroom

Enthusiasm - Why You Need It (Or Need to Fake It) In the Classroom

Imagine walking into your classroom after a night spent tossing and turning.  The weight of testing and papers to be graded is heavy on your shoulders as you push open the heavy door.  A notice about cancelled specials has been slid under your door and it slides across the room as you breathe out a sigh of frustration.  You’re tired, you’re overworked, and the last thing you feel is enthusiastic about the day.  Yet you know that in order to teach those amazing eight year olds that will be filing down the hallway in ten minutes you must fake enthusiasm until you actually begin to feel it.  So, you do, because at the end of the day your students are what keeps you going.

Enthusiasm in the Classroom – Why You Need It (Or Need to Fake It)

Enthusiasm. It is a word that is tossed around, but can be hard to describe. The definition, “a strong excitement of feeling,” is easier to understand when you see it in action. That is especially true when you have the opportunity to observe a teacher who tackles her job with enthusiasm. One enthusiastic teacher can transform a class and make a significant impact on the lives of her students. If you are feeling a little less than enthusiastic about this school year, take a look at what enthusiasm does and how it can make a difference in your classroom.

In a study that Cornell University did in the late 90s, they showed that there was a definitive link between the enthusiasm in a teacher’s voice and how students responded. A professor taught the exact same class, the first time using his normal tone of voice and the second semester using a more enthusiastic tone. The students in the second semester not only rated the teacher higher on class evaluations, but also indicated that they had learned more than the first semester students. Ironically, both classes scored the same on tests and assessments, but the perception by second semester students was that they had gotten a better education.

By modulating your voice to indicate that you are more passionate about the subject you are teaching, the odds of students responding positively to the lesson increase. When your class becomes engaged and your enthusiasm rubs off on them, they become invested in their learning. This is extremely important, because students who are invested in their education are much more likely to take it seriously. That shift in attitude then leads to fewer behavior problems and classroom management issues.

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  • Astute Hoot
    October 1, 2014

    This is so true!  Tone and affect make a huge difference. Thanks for sharing.

  • Roberta Druszkowski
    October 11, 2010

    I believe a positive attitude toward the students and the subject material benefits everyone. I practiced being a Kindergarten teacher before I was assigned to move from Second grade to Kindergarten. Now people who meet me guess that I am a Kindergarten teacher because I am enthusiastic about life everywhere I am.

  • Natalie
    October 10, 2010

    When teaching kids new sports, a lot of the girls groan as they are not particularly sporty – so I fake my enthusiasum with them and tell them how great it is to be a part of “whatever” sport and team. I’m not a big sporty person myself, but have noticed the difference when I “fake” it with the girls – they really seem more willing to try it out when I’m enthused about the game. I will keep this up

    If you’re on a good thing, stick to it, I say!

  • Kathy Ausburn
    October 10, 2010

    That is so true! some of my best times as a teacher are when I put a puppet on my hand and pretend to talk to the students in my kindergarten class. I always thought I should have been on stage as an actress and you know I am every day with my class. They love it! 🙂

  • Tangenia Jones
    October 10, 2010

    I think this is so true. I would stop listening to a boring professor, but I would be more attentive to an enthusiastic one. I try to show excitement in the class as much as possible, but I do notice the times when I am less than enthused. The kids relate better when I grab my plastic microphone and get “onstage” to teach. I have to work on leaving my problems in the car, but usually my students help me to forget them for a few hours.

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