The Teach Like a Pirate Corollary

2QNe6fyr.jpg-largeI’m sure you’ve all heard the following phrase many times in the educational world…and it must be said in an earnest tone with a completely serious face:

“Literacy isn’t the English teacher’s job; it’s everybody’s job.”

I actually agree wholeheartedly with this. However, I would like to add a Teach like a PIRATE Corollary to it:

That’s true for EVERY subject!

We need to take a far more holistic and cross-curricular approach to education and forever do away with the “that’s not my subject” mentality. It’s just as counter-productive and frustrating as the employee who says, “That’s not my job.”

Break down the silos! Think wide instead of narrow! Read wide, too!

It may be strange to hear me say it since I publish educational books, but we spend far too much time in the education aisle at the bookstore. Incorporating outside perspectives and ideas is a cornerstone of the TLAP philosophy. My background in rap, magic, coaching, entrepreneurship, marketing, and success literature played a foundational role in the development of Teach Like a Pirate. It was in large part about looking outside of education and drawing ideas in.

I just read a blog post from Teresa Gross about how much she gained from reading The Classroom Chef, which I have described as Teach Like a Pirate with all math examples. Here’s the thing…she doesn’t teach math. It didn’t matter. It was about creating powerful lessons and on a new way to think about our profession.

We have to take off the blinders and be willing to develop the peripheral vision of a great point guard. See the whole court! Make powerful connections!

Writing in a math class? Absolutely!

Math to help understand history? Yes, please!

Science across the whole curriculum? Yep!

Art and music (and technology for that matter!) are perfect examples of what I’m talking about. Art and music aren’t just the art and music teacher’s job. They aren’t just something we have kids do when they are over in “that” part of the building. Art and music when embedded throughout the curriculum are a part of what brings school alive for kids. Creativity crosses all curricular content. It’s the rub, seasoning, and marinade that brings flavor to your lessons. It helps students process material in multiple ways which improves understanding and retention. The incorporation of art and music specifically, and a cross-curricular approach generally, is a big part of the Teach Like a Pirate system.

So while it is absolutely true that literacy isn’t just the English teacher’s job…let’s not stop there!!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

3 thoughts on “The Teach Like a Pirate Corollary

  1. Great article and agree with it whole-heartily but would even add this. Can we please stop pretending that we need to only teach science for 90 minutes weekly, math for 330 minutes, and reading…..I don’t know. We need to utilize the day to teach and sometimes it cant be broken down into minutes on reading, writing, or math. I also believe that if I want to go deep into a subject it might take just a bit longer to get through, so forgive me if my Charlotte’s Web Unit goes two weeks longer cause I am adding in science, geography, (Queensboro Bridge….setting for Spiderman move….accident I don’t think so) and math by way of having the students build barns in Minecraft. The idea of creating a calendar as a guide i agree with, but like all guides it will change according to the weather, obstacles, and participants.

  2. Awesome article and it hits the nail on the head. We are always talking about time. We need to maximize our time by doing more cross curricular. I think teachers want to but are afraid. We need to help each other be brave and step out of our box.

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