Last Lecture (a transcript can be found here) is easily one of the most informative and inspiring speech I have ever heard. He seemed like such an all-around great person and someone that everyone should strive to be a little like. Pausch speaks for a little over an hour and a half about fulfilling your own dreams, helping others fulfill their dreams, success, setbacks, and other pieces of advice. Though the points he makes can and should be applied to anyone in any situation, it is especially eye-opening for me, as someone who is majoring in education.
Being a college professor for many years, Pausch mentions his teaching methods several times throughout his speech. The class he taught at Carnegie Mellon were based on virtual reality, and this was the class he seemed most proud of. His classes were very hands-on and project-based. From what I understood, his students were divided into groups and told to create a virtual reality game every two weeks for the entire semester. He gave them no guidelines or topics - they were able to do whatever they wanted to do. Project Based Learning is something that we are still new to today around eight years later. Although he was working with college students, and my method would have to be altered slightly to accommodate children, project based learning does work and it very educational for everyone involved. He said that he was always surprised by what his students came up with. At one point he even goes on to say that he asked his colleague what to ask for next because the students had already exceeded his expectations. The answer to this was to tell them, "that was pretty good, but I know you can do better." This tells me to always push your students. No matter what kind of work they produce, if they think hard enough they could almost always do better. Another point about Randy Pausch is that he absolutely loved his job. He was giving this speech while battling terminal cancer. He has only a few months left to live, and was spending his day lecturing at Carnegie Mellon. To me, that really says something about his dedication to that school and his students. Besides that, throughout his career he seemed very ecstatic about everything he was involved in. I'm sure his students noticed this enthusiasm, and that had to make them want to do well too. As a teacher, if we show our students that we are excited about something, the energy will transfer over to them.
Pausch's quality of enthusiasm can also be applied to what I learned from him about learning in general. He was a man that loved to teach, but at the same time he was constantly learning about things. Whether he was learning from his students or working with outside projects (such as being a Disney Imagineer) he was always learning. This inspires me to never stop wanting to learn. Even after graduating, your ability to know new things shouldn't end. He even makes it seem fun to learn. Once we as teachers understand this, we can pass it along to our students. The best part of the lecture, was at the end when he reveals everything he said was really for his children. He had very young children that he knew he would be leaving behind soon, and wanted to leave them with something important. As soon as he said this, it made me think that this speech could be used for all ages. Knowing I'll be working with elementary school aged children, the lecture itself would probably go over their heads, but the things that he said can be transcribed to be appropriate for them. I think I'll watch this lecture several more times and make a list of the things that can be taken from it to better myself as a teacher and a learner.