“When Will I Ever Use This?” Answering Students’ Favorite Question

You’ve all heard that question before. “When will I ever use this?” It’s a common question, and honestly, it deserves to be asked. As teachers, you want your lessons to be applicable and useful. Fortunately, teaching technology means that your class will have a direct impact on student success in the real world.

But how can you show your students that impact? How can you show them that the skills they’re learning will help them after your class is finished? We have three ideas, helping you answer one of your students’ favorite questions.

  1. Bring in professionals who practice what you teach: Do you teach Adobe Photoshop? Bring in a graphic designer or photographer. Do you teach Microsoft Excel? Bring in a financial analyst. Do you teach Microsoft coding basics? Bring in a web designer or user interface designer. Third party validation shows your students that the skills you’re teaching aren’t just for a test, or even just to pass a certification exam. These skills are for life! Invite your guest to speak about how they use their technology in their day-to-day tasks. Industry professionals will show them that the skills they are learning will make them successful employees in the future. Every student wants to know that they’re being taught valuable skills. Don’t be afraid to use outside sources to validate the lessons you teach in the classroom.
  2. Take a field trip: Can’t find anyone to come speak in your class? Why not take your class to them? Industry professionals don’t always have big gaps in their schedule, so make it easy for them to show their skills! Take your students on a half, or full day trip to work with your business connections. Your speaker can walk them around the office, show them what it’s like to apply their skills in a business atmosphere. For example, if you teach coding, you can connect with a local design agency. Have your class shadow a web designer for a half day. Get into a real world coding situation, and help students make design changes for a real-world client. Get creative! Your students will love a break from the standard class schedule, and it will show them just how exciting what they’re learning can be.
  3. Ask for testimonials from past students: Some of your best testimonials will be your past students. Many students who have competed in the MOS Championship and ACA Championship programs have gone on to ivy-league schools and industry leading internships. Find similar success stories from your past students. If they’re local, have them come in and speak to your class. Students respond well to those of a similar age demographic, and having someone close to their age come and speak about the certification success can give the weight you need to your own testimony.

If you don’t have these success stories from your own students, you can find some awesome Certiport success stories here on the blog. Simply browse the Student Stories category.  

Now you’re prepared with three tangible takeaways to help show your students the value of what you teach, but are you interested in finding out how other teachers answer this question? You can learn best practices for getting students excited at the Certiport CERTIFIED Educator Conference. Find out more at www.certiport.com/certified.