DJ Teachers

I came across a sketchplanation by Jono Hey about what a good teacher is:

A good teacher is a DJ for learning - Sketchplanations

Now this is spot on and worth exploring further.

Are teachers like DJs?

Yes we are, we have to remix the curriculum to make it more engaging and relevant.

It’s something David Wiley has written about and he draws our attention to the exchange of energy and why it is vital to tune into what is working and what isn’t. He says,

A skilled DJ can feel the energy coming off a crowd and respond very quickly when that group is starting to feel restless (and starting to abandon the dance floor). A skilled teacher can feel the energy coming off a class and respond very quickly when that group is starting to get restless (and starting to doodle, read books, play games on their cell phones, etc.). The DJ responds by playing different music, sticking with genres that the crowd likes. How does the teacher respond?

So, how do you respond? Do you stick to your playlist and bullet-pointed lesson plan or do you tune in, edit and navigate a new course?

There is no point in sticking to something that isn’t working and hoping that eventually they will ‘get it’ because you risk losing them and once their attention has gone, you will struggle to get it back.

Nothing is more selfish than the teacher who plays for himself and won’t deviate from the plan. Plans have to change.

A DJ Teacher can read the classroom dance floor and keeps the rhythm going and everyone engaged.

Content, pacing and participation are key and Carl Hooker makes the same point about how critical it is to ‘read’ the class is as a DJ Teacher and why we all “have to remix it, change the style and suit the interests of your audience.”

Essentially, what being a DJ Teacher is about is being an interactive formative assessment teacher who modifies and adapts to ensure learning opportunities are maximised. This isn’t pandering to every whim but making professional interventions and changing the music when needed.

And as Unseen Flirtations reminds us, a good teacher has to

make sense of a disparate collection of individuals working at different tempos and synthesise it into a classroom experience.

And finally….

Not only do DJ teachers have to have an encyclopedic knowledge of music, they also have to make sure they are up to date with all the latest music and mixing techniques. As Matt Miller says in Ditch That Textbook:

Like great DJs, great educators are always on the cusp of the latest trends in education.

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