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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Entertain Them!: Letting Loose a Little Can Help a Lot

A little showmanship goes a long way.
By Stan Lee

The biggest problem with education is that so many youngsters find classes dull and boring, and they can't understand the relevance of most of what they're learning.

What does it have to do with real life?

There is little in the world more interesting and exciting than history, geography, the social sciences, and the study of people and humankind. Even biology and astronomy can be exciting. All these subjects are made to come alive and to thrill those who study them.

But the problem is that teachers are taught only the curriculum. They are not taught how to be entertainers. A lot of teachers know their subject backward and forward, and they are very caring, wonderful people, but they are often dull in their delivery. It is like politicians -- some can really move an audience, and some have no charisma at all.

Teachers have to be taught how to hold a class's attention, how to be entertaining, how to make the kids say, "Aw, darn it!" when the bell rings and class is over.

Keep their interest by entertaining them, by making them enjoy what they're learning. Tell them the exciting things, and sneak the dull stuff in while you're holding their attention.

Those in showbiz -- screenwriters, directors, even actors -- know how to hold people's interest. Every board of education should have an advisory body consisting of really talented people who work in entertainment.

In the late '80s, I started an educational foundation called Entertainers for Education, which never got off the ground. I wanted the entertainment community to get together and come up with ways to make teaching more interesting. I'm getting so excited that I might start Entertainers for Education all over again.

Stan Lee is a comic book legend. During more than forty years at Marvel Comics, he created some of the most enduring superheroes, including Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four.

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