How do you connect your lessons to the real world?

At the end of the day, school shouldn’t be just a theory. Even when we speak about subjects like Physics and Math. Unless the students see the connection with the real world, unless they understand how they can benefit from the lessons down the road, many of them will struggle with motivation. On the other hand, once they clearly see the connection, their engagement in the lessons will improve, and their results will follow. Which is a dream of every teacher and principal.

Some teachers have it easier than others. When you teach English as a foreign language, for example, you can simply pick for reading and listening subjects that interest the student (their hobby, something related to their work, etc).  When you teach Math or Chemistry things get more difficult, but you should at least try to connect the theory to the real world outside.

Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to this intriguing teacher interview question. I tried to include on the list answers for teachers of different subjects, as well as some unconventional answers. Do not forget to read also the text below the list of answers, for additional hints on how to get it right, and impress the school principal in your teaching job interview.


7 sample answers to “How do you connect your lessons to the real world?” interview question

  1. I must admit that I do not find it easy as a Math teacher. But I always try to explain to the students that Math is one of the principal subjects, and they will find it hard to progress with their education at high school or university, unless they master Math, or at least pass with decent grades. Whenever possible, I try to include simple riddles from real life, so instead of numbers you have persons or animals in the riddles, and the exercise feels more realistic to the students. This definitely helps with engagement, at least in my experience.
  2. English is such a vital language for everyone nowadays. And I try to make it obvious to the students. Many people dream of traveling for example–I try to explain them how much easier it will be for them to make the connection with people abroad once they speak English on a decent level. Or that they will be able to get better paid jobs knowing the language. What’s more, for reading and listening exercises I purposely pick topics that interest the particular age group of students. I must admit that I still struggle with motivation in some classes, or with some students. But I do what I can to help them see the connection.
  3. Biology is the real world. Hence I do not find it hard to make the connection. We are learning about plants, animals, human beings–it is real. Of course, you can make it easier for the students to imagine things with the right choice of words, practical examples, pictures, interactive content, and so on. I try to include all of it in my lessons.
  4. Teaching Physical Education, this isn’t my primary goal really. We were born to move and run, and there’s no need making too much of a science of it really. But I often talk about the impact lack of movement has on our health, trying to motivate the students to actually exercise, and participate in the lessons, which is really hard with some of them. At the end of the day though, I cannot force anyone. I try to explain them the connection of PE and good health, and do my best to go by an example. It is probably the most I can do from my position.
  5. This is my first job application, and I haven’t had a chance to lead the lessons yet. But I definitely understand that connecting the lessons with the real world can help tremendously with motivation, and will try my best to always find some connection. I believe that technology can help us a lot. For example, when explaining a certain chemical formula, we can show them the chemical reaction on the screen, or even showcase the application of it in some industry. This helps them to see the connection, and hopefully also realize the importance of the subject for their adult life.
  6. I do so with guests from real life. Psychology and sociology are tricky subject to teach. Some concepts are rather abstract, and students may struggle to understand them. When I bring in a real guest, however, someone who suffers from a particular issue, or someone belonging to certain group of society, and they tell their story to the students, and explain their feelings, it is much easier for the students to see the connection. Of course, you cannot invite some guest to each lesson. You have lesson plans to follow. But once in a month, for example, you can definitely do it and it can help a lot with motivation.
  7. As an IT teacher I do not find it hard at all. People realize that technology plays a major role in our everyday life. It isn’t difficult convincing them that unless they master it, at least to a certain level, they will find it hard to navigate their everyday life. Of course, the employment market helps here as well. Money motivates a lot of people. Showing them the six figure salaries many IT professional earn annually always gives them a motivation boost. Having said that, I’ve also understood that some students simply don’t care and don’t pay attention, regardless of what we do in the classroom. This is something I have to accept as a teacher. The key is to try my best, and always be there for students who actually care and want to progress.


Your effort matters more than the final result

If you’ve taught for a while, you know for sure that for some students nothing matters. Realistic or abstract, they just won’t try their best in the classes. They may do nothing at all (except of acting disruptively and spoiling the morale in the classroom).

Of course, you can try to address this problem, or leave it for one of the counselors working at school. But it should not discourage you from trying to find the connection with the real world, and do other things to motivate the rest of the students, people who actually do care.

Ensure the interviewing panel that you are ready to put in the effort. You know that students will achieve much better results when motivated, and seeing the connection with real world always helps with their motivation. That’s why you will strive to always find some connection, regardless of how hard it may be with the subject you teach.

Do not be afraid to suggest some innovative ideas

Using interactive games in the lessons. Letting children to watch quality documentaries and then discuss the content in the lesson. Inviting guests from real life to the classroom, on a monthly basis.

These aren’t conventional teaching methods. But they can make all the difference when it comes to seeing the connecting of the lessons with life outside of school, and eventually to motivation of your students. Be bold. Come up with new interesting ideas. You may not get a chance to apply them in your lessons once teaching, but nine out of ten interviewers will love your attitude. And that’s exactly what you try to achieve in your job interview…

Ready to answer this one? I hope so! do not forget to check sample answers to other tricky teacher interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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