How did Braithwaite's students respond when he tried to make the lessons more interesting by relating them to the students' daily lives?
In To Sir, With Love, Mr. Braithwaite’s students respond favorably to his attempts to make their lessons interesting and relevant to them. As a new, untrained teacher, he struggles to find a way to connect with his students. He is upset when they are not engaged in his lessons, noticing that his initial sharp remarks to them had gotten under their skin, and, in return, “their silent watchfulness was getting under mine.” He takes full responsibility for connecting with the students. “It was up to me to find some way to get through to them.”
He decides that his approach to his students must mirror the way he would like them to behave once they leave school. He insists on a certain standard of politeness, asking the students to refer to him as “Sir” or “Mr. Braithwaite.” The students, while skeptical at first, ultimately like this style. “They were very pleased to be treated like grown-ups, to be talked to like equals.” He also strives to find ways to connect to them by relating lessons to their daily lives, and his approach leads them to become more engaged in their learning. When measurements are related to dress lengths and weights to food and fuel, the students “could see the point of it all, and were more prepared to pursue the more abstract concepts.” By relating the lessons to the students’ daily lives, he increases their engagement in their learning, opens up their minds to more abstract concepts, and helps prepare them to make the transition to life after school.
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