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Immerse Yourself in the Teaching

by Neil Finney

Sometimes it takes a new perspective to shed light on issues that we are faced with every day. Our students are bombarded by the media and advertising in most facets of their lives, so it is vital for them to learn how to deconstruct media messages and recognize just how prevalent they are on a daily basis.

In my intermediate class, we had been focusing on advertising during our literacy lessons and the techniques used by companies to “sell” their product. One day I wore a t-shirt that had a company logo on the front and a sign that I taped to the back that read “This Space for Rent.” When the students arrived in the morning and saw this, they were puzzled and wondered what I was doing.

I became the text that drove discussion and inspired learning. We discussed whether it was appropriate for me, a teacher, to advertise in a school. My students were passionate in their arguments because this ‘unconventional’ teaching prompt had generated some good debate. They were interested in the content of the teaching as it stood in front of them – not on the pages of a textbook.

When we immerse ourselves in the teaching, we become the catalyst for learning. By thinking in unconventional ways, we are often able to reach students using a fresh lens and with increased success.

How did you teach a lesson using yourself as the text? What other media issues could be taught by creating a new – and surrounding – environment for learning?


During Neilʼs 9 years of teaching experience, he has taught in London, England; Ontario; public and private schools; elementary and secondary; junior; intermediate; core french; developmental skills; and now junior gifted (grades 4,5,6). He is a Reading Specialist that has been incorporating technology in his practice consistently throughout his career. Neil has recently published his first book entitled “Ignite. Incite. Inspire.” – Examining 21st Century Issues in Education, which is a collection of teaching articles and posts written from January to December 2011.

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