Becoming a passionate edutainer

Fourth from left: Dr Wei, Zachary, Prashanth with the organising committee

In the effort to understand the expanding roles of educators, a talk titled “Creating a Passionate Edutainer” was organised by Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) on 15 January 2020 at UTAR Kampar Campus.

Present at the talk were invited speaker and Faculty of Creative Industries academic Zachary Roland Anthony, CLT Chairperson Dr Wei Chooi Yi, Organising Chairperson Prashanth Beleya, staff and students.

While navigating through rapid technological developments and evolving needs of students, the pressure for educators to keep abreast with the learners are increasing. In view of that, Zachary emphasised that the need to find a niche between being an educator and entertainer is now becoming a necessary qualification. Therefore, the talk also focused on helping participants, especially academics to learn ways to balance the scale between being an educator and entertainer. He also shared his experience on how edutainer should focus on the needs of the students without losing the emphasis of the teaching content.

He firstly defined an edutainer as someone who teaches while entertaining the students. “As an edutainer, we have to share highly relevant and appealing information and knowledge to make learning interesting for our students. At other times, as an edutainer, we also empower and encourage our students to reflect and to seek their own answers. That way our students are able to learn the skills to be responsible for their lives, which benefits their learning and personal development as well,” explained Zachary. Another role of an edutainer, explained by the speaker, was to do things interestingly to match the thought process of the young generation, where the edutainer is able to share, convince and inspire the students.

“Teaching is no longer the same as it was in the past. Today, we need to also understand what students want, which is no longer the top-down or talk-down approach. They want a performer in the classroom who is able to share knowledge in the most interesting ways possible. Therefore, it becomes more important for educators to improve their passion. In other words, it also involves ways to help impact the lives of others, while you enjoy the adventure and risks incorporated. It is also about being in the company of passionate and positive people. As an edutainer, we consider ourselves as learners as well, whereby we share our knowledge interestingly,” said the speaker. He also advised participants to be honest, professional and accountable for one’s passion, be ready to change the pattern or routine, while being mindful that the aim is not to be a perfectionist but to be passionate with one’s responsibility.

Further emphasising the need to be an edutainer, Zachary highlighted the benefits of edutaining, which included engaging audiences while learning; connecting with role models; increasing attention; and stimulating intellectual thinking. On ways to edutain, the speakers listed stories, drama, jokes, movies, music, games and news as the many creative tools to make classes more interesting for students.

“The formula is easy; be simple, be relative, be impressive, be humble and be happy. A takeaway tip is to respect, understand and accept our students. You want to be able to relate to them at a level where they too can respect, understand and accept you. A tried and tested way is to change our attitude and reshape our behaviour, then we will form a desirable character,” advised Zachary.

An insightful day at the talk

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