Teacher proves innovation helps with retention

HANCOCK — While learning the countries of the world Hancock High School students are subject to some innovative teaching methods.

This is teacher Matt Griffith’s 10th grade World History class and his students can name any country in the world, and map its geological location and they do this while performing a specific act of goofiness, as instructed by their teacher. Griffith uses a unique teaching method implementing modern music and required silliness, and says these methods of teaching are far more effective than traditional text book style methods.

“What I try to do is make sure that we have a lot of fun because I’ve found the more fun we have in class, the more the students retain the information,” said Griffith.

“He likes to find new ways to help us remember countries and stuff,” said Colton Salani, one of Griffith’s students.

“Usually Mr. Griffith has us do like funny things like ballerina or something like that,” said Ellie Sturos, another one of Griffith’s students.

Griffith added “When I first started nine years ago I just had students get up nice and slow, went up to the board, and its kind of morphed into what you see today. Goofing around, having some fun, but all of it is pointed towards making sure that students get those countries down. At the end of each year that they’ve had me they’ll known every country in the world. We hit all the grade level content from the state… but then we go above and beyond when it comes to mapping and higher level thinking.”

Griffith applies his unconventional teaching style to other subjects and activities as well… he once allowed his students to duct tape his body to a wall as part of a fundraiser. The teacher says that in addition to naming all of the countries in the world, by the end of the school year, his students will also be able to name all U.S. presidents.