Using Skype and Music to Reach New Levels of Student Engagement– Jed Dearybury, USA
Jed Dearybury’s unique brand of music-infused teaching has won him a great deal of recognition – including top-five finalist for South Carolina Teacher of the Year in 2014 and a Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching for South Carolina in 2012. He’s even met President Obama.
But for Dearybury, the awards – while nice – aren’t nearly as important as fulfilling his mission to make a difference.
“If I pass through life without making a mark, for what did I live?” Dearybury cites this quote as his mantra, and he goes a long way toward fulfilling it in his classroom each day.
A life-long musician, Dearybury believes that music speaks to his students in a way that words alone cannot. He keeps a piano in his classroom, and makes good use of it.
“There’s music all around the world,” he says, “and sometimes our words don’t communicate or translate clearly, but a song will. I love to use music in my classroom for that very reason…I use familiar songs so it’s easy for kids to pick it up and learn, and then they don’t forget the curriculum. I also use it for a sense of community-building in my class. We gather around the piano, and sing songs that encourage us.”
Last year, Dearybury took his students’ love of music to the next level with a Skype in the Classroom global music exchange. He and his students played the piano and sang for students in Kenya, Venezuela and several U.S. cities – then listened to students from half-way around the world perform.
“The reaction of my students to Skype in the Classroom is the top level of engagement that you can fathom,” notes Dearybury. “They don’t want to look away from the screen, they’re so in tune with the speakers on the other end. [The exchange] was an amazing time for them, and a year later, they can recollect every bit of it
Dearybury doesn’t limit his contributions to his helping his own students. In 2013, he was honored by GQ Magazine for organizing a marathon that raised more than $13,000 for schools damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Daily Edventures is pleased to introduce you to Jed Dearybury, a passionate teacher who’s making his mark. Enjoy!