ATH 8: Pirate Pedagogy with Dave Burgess

Straight off a stint in the Caribbean the pirate himself, Dave Burgess, The New York Times bestselling author of Teach Like a Pirate and president of Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc., joins Cade and Michelle in a laugh-laden, energy-enriched episode all about taking teachers’ traditional classrooms off life support and re-envisioning them through their non-patched piratey eyes.  Dave discusses the pirate’s pedagogical life and describes how every teacher can embrace it to increase student engagement and never lose it.


Here are some of the topics Dave discusses in this interview:

  • The basics of the Teach Like a Pirate philosophy and the three layers of the pirate metaphor
  • Hooks teachers can use to get students engaged through creating an experience, not just a lesson
  • Making every subject’s content every teacher’s job the same way literacy is commonly made every teacher’s job
  • Saving time teaching and reviewing by using methods that enrich retention
  • The PIRATE acronym: Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask and Analyze, Transformation, Enthusiasm
  • Balancing fun and productivity
  • Getting teachers to be passionate about subject matter, professionalism, and personal interests
  • Using what you can’t do — like singing and dancing — to engage students
  • Growth mindset
  • Building rapport and relationships with students
  • Turning failure into feedback — both teacher failure and student failure (listen for Dave’s metaphor of a pirate’s sails)
  • When teachers teach like pirates and receive unfair criticism (listen for Dave’s comparison to a lesson on the Berlin Airlift)
  • Changing school culture one positive pirate teacher at a time (listen for Dave’s snowball metaphor)

In their follow-up segment, Cade and Michelle discuss ideas for applying Dave’s hooks in the ELA classroom. The full list is found below. You can also download the document if you’d prefer. 


This week’s #TheStruggle is all about time. How do you get everything done that you need to do for work and still make time for yourself and your family? We’d love to hear your tips at #thestruggleXtheHall on Twitter.

Keep the Conversation Going with Dave and the Across the Hall Crew

Follow Across the Hall on Twitter at the handle @Acr0sstheHall. You can also comment on any of our episodes or share information with us and our audience using the hashtag #XtheHall. Dave Burgess can be found on Twitter @burgessdave and at You can join the Teacher Like a Pirate conversation on Twitter by following #tlap.

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Listen to “ATH E8: Pirate Pedagogy” on Spreaker.


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2 Comments on “ATH 8: Pirate Pedagogy with Dave Burgess
    • And we’re impressed that they’re so willing to accept the invitations! All we can figure is that they really do care about what they do and for the thousands of kids they’re reaching by lending us and the educators who listen to us their rich expertise. Thanks for the support!

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