There’s no better way to ignite students about learning than real-world inspiration.
That’s why last year I started an annual graduate career panel for the first-year Advertising students in my Writing for Marketing course.
I bring in four or five successful, very recent graduates and get them to talk about the keys to their success and the mistakes that almost sank them. After a talk show-style panel discussion, the grads lead small breakout discussions to talk to first-years about the first-years’ goals.
Second-year students are still raving about last year’s grad panel (check out a YouTube video below that recorded the event).
Nonetheless, I’m sure there are naysayers.
“That’s nice, Frank,” they might say. “But what does this kind of event have to do with learning writing?”
The best learning happens when students are engaged. Students are engaged when they realize that what they are studying can have real-life exciting outcomes. Engagement is also enhanced when students see that they have an authentic teacher who is a genuine cheerleader for them.
And then there’s one other big thing: Students are going to learn from these graduates the importance of being able to write when they start their jobs in marketing or advertising or public relations.
It doesn’t matter that I’m their teacher; it’s more likely they’ll believe the grads than me.
So on Thursday and Friday of next week, we’ll hold our 2012 graduate career panels.
And I can’t wait to see sparks of inspiration fly.