Watch This Funky Teacher Prove That Lectures Are Totally out of Style

When Bruno Mars sings, ‘Don’t believe me? Just watch,’ in ‘Uptown Funk,’ maybe he’s talking about this creative Texas educator.
Jan 28, 2015·
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

Need more proof that the best way to get a bunch of teenagers excited about learning is to stop lecturing and get them working on a project? This video of a bunch of students at A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School in Dallas dancing to Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” with their teacher will definitely do the trick.

To create the video, the school’s theater teacher, Scot Pankey, took advantage of the eagerness most teens have to get out of their seats and dance—especially to such a catchy tune. But keep in mind that this is a tech-focused high school. The majority of the students who participated in the video aren’t members of a cheerleading squad or a drill team. They might even be, ahem, a bit nerdy. While Pankey may have come up with the concept, he smartly let the students take the creative lead on the project. The kids taught each other the choreography, plotted out the camera shots, and filmed the video.

“This is a great example of how a bunch of technology students let go of their fears, trusted their teacher, and got down to Uptown Funk!!!” reads the video’s description on YouTube.

What’s also catching the eye of plenty of commenters on YouTube is how inclusive the group of students who collaborated on the video is. Boys and girls from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds are dancing. There’s even a student in a wheelchair busting a move.

“Thank you so much for uploading. I had tears in my eyes when I saw the one student who is perhaps specially challenged in front the wheel chair having fun with his classmates. I love the inclusiveness here!” wrote YouTube commenter l’Nubiya Rhoden.

No, not every teacher in America is as coordinated as Pankey, and dancing to this song might not work in math class, but his creative approach shows that learning doesn’t have to be boring.