I had the great pleasure to work at the Exploratorium with a wide variety of master teachers, each with their own unique style. I learned something new from each one of them. What I learned most from Modesto Tamez — who taught K-12 science with aplomb for 18 years — was about how to work with kids to get the very best out of them. One thing he always talked about how to use kids’ particular quirks to help you manage your classroom — for example, the loudmouth who always caused trouble would become his personal assistant and get the attention he was craving in a productive way. Modesto is a master at reading people and getting them genuinely engaged in the lesson. One way he did this was with what he called “Provocacion”. This spanish word doesn’t have a perfect equivalent in
english — it means to “provoke”, but not in a negative way. Rather, it means to spark the interest, get the kid engaged, curious, interested, afraid, or whatever is needed to hook them into your lesson. I just posted a new episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast — Hey neat! The importance of “provocacion.” Give it a listen and hear Modesto talk about how he uses this technique in classes.