Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture” was extremely inspirational. Pausch was very courageous to give a lecture after being diagnosed with cancer and told that he only had 3-6 months left of good health. Pausch made a point that he was not going to talk about cancer or spirituality and that he did not want pity from the audience.

What I learned about teaching and learning from Pausch was that learning should be fun for students, good results eventually come from hard work, always set the bar high to achieve students’ full potential, and to use project based learning. I am a firm believer that learning should be fun for students. Pausch made the point that it should be so fun that students could be having a great time but not realizing that they are actually learning. Once students are deeply engaged in a project, they will easily retain the information compared to lesson that is dull. In addition, he talked about setting the bar high. The worst thing a teacher can do is to not believe in his or her students. Students have to be work to their full potential and if they fail, they can learn from their mistakes. Pausch frequently talked about how learned from his regrets and he kept trying in things he was trying to achieve. Most importantly, he talked about project using project based learning. In other words, project based learning is the best type of learning to get the most out of the students.

What stuck out to me in his lecture was the concept of the “head fake”, where one learns indirectly. For example, one of his dreams was to play in the NFL. Although he did not get a chance to play in the NFL, he learned a lot of things from playing football as a child. He learned how to be disciplined, how to work with other people, and many other concepts. In essence, parents who have their children join little league football or not trying to have them learn football, but are trying to help them learn other things that being on a team teaches.

All in all, Pausch presented a very dynamic personality on stage that really captured my attention. For example, I found him completely hilarious when he stated that he was probably in greater shape than most people in the audience and dropped down to do push-ups. His funny personality had the audience completely mesmerized.