Hot Tips & Topics

We are dedicated to providing you with a comprehensive collection of relevant and up-to-date K-12 education news and editorials. For teachers, by teachers.

How Great Teachers Are Masters of Inception

Tom DeRosa

 

How Great Teachers Are Masters of InceptionIf you haven’t seen Inception, I won’t spoil it for you, but it revolves around a simple question: Is it possible to place an idea in someone’s head, so that they believe they came up with it themselves? This process is called inception.

 

In the film’s opening moments, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character explains that an idea is more powerful and virulent than the nastiest virus—once it’s in your head, it’s almost impossible to get out. True enough. Yet all the characters also work off the premise that inception is difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish. I disagree: great teachers master this skill and use it from the first day of school.


Related Articles
Our tips for using classroom jobs to get students involved in the classroom,...
Teacher and students playing a board game at a table.
When reviewing for a unit or state exam, try to incorporate activities and...
The words higher order thinking spelled out in blocks.
10 teaching strategies to enhance higher-order thinking skills in your students...
Red toolbox with the words word toolbox on it.
Here are 5 teaching strategies for instructing vocabulary words to elementary...
Person drawing a brain on a wall. The brain has the words leadership written on it.
Students need to be taught critical thinking skills, which they will need to...

It's no secret that good teachers work to make the transition from providing information to providing the opportunity for students to learn on their own. When teachers become facilitators, that's when students start learning amazing things. That's inception.

 

Inception also happens when teachers set out clear expectations on the first day of school and model them consistently throughout the year. Now you might say, "but that's not the same thing. You're planting the idea and eventually they just following along." With certain things, you're right. If you tell them they should do something because you as the teacher think it's important, some students will follow suit. But make no mistake: no student will ever buy in completely if you straight up tell them something. At the risk of sounding too existential, a lot of it is just about being there.

 

I'm a believer that who you are as a person can make all the difference in what will happen in your classroom in a given year. Students observe you and other and ultimately make their own decision. If you lead them down a path to success without really trying, just by being there, that's also inception.

 

So teachers, I challenge you: can you get deep enough inside your students' minds to plant a good idea? I think you can.


Republished with permission from the author, Tom DeRosa. Find more greatinspiration and ideas for teachers on his blog.